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The Day Our World Changed
“. . . these are the times that try men’s souls . . .”

T he moment I heard the words, ‘quarantine and lockdown’, a coldness came to the pit of
my stomach.
However, it was not for the reasons you might think.
I feared that sooner or later those with the least knowledge of this pandemic would be
heralded as the ‘experts’.
While the real experts were quietly pushed into the shadows until their voices are eventually
The philosophy behind this is simple; the less of the truth you know, the more convincing will
be the error.
Sadly, today millions are under the illusion that if you have money and a million followers on
social media you are an answer ‘guru’.
However, this rationale is flawed.
The Enron Scandal of 2001 tears their logic to threads
In today’s technological world, it is so easy to gain a ‘fan club’ [following] on social media.
All you need is a iPhone, a Tablet, or a laptop to promote yourself to at least ten people.
These ten should in theory reach out to ten more.
If this pattern continues for seven days, approximately 1,200,790 people [hits] will hear your
And just like that you have an active audience; an audience you can manipulate for good or
for bad.
My friends fondly refer to me as optimistically pessimistic.
They say if the evidence is irrefutable, I will more than likely accept it.
I however still rely on some good old-fashioned common sense to stay afloat.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week our airways are filled with the ‘latest’ of the
latest on the Coronavirus.
In fact, I did a Google search a few minutes ago and got 5,700,000,000 hits on COVID-19!

n times like this, no truer words could be said than, “Time waits for no man”.
It was six months ago that I published Connecting The Dots, my unabridged

Around that time my wife and I had planned us a mini vacation in April.
We had been on the go since returning to the US, so this would give us a few moments to
catch our breaths.
Also keeping up with our 2-year old grandson, along with being a husband, father,
grandfather and pastor is busy, but draining work.
When the Coronavirus hit, it radically changed our perception of what a ‘normal’ life looks
I however at first gave it little thought.
I took it as simply an upgraded version of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS),
the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Influenza viruses—so really, nothing
I’ve since learned that it is a bit more complex than that. In my defense though, this was not
my first rodeo.
I had lived through the assassination of one president and the attempted assassination of
Not to mention the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
In elementary school I remember sitting under my desk practicing for an atomic bomb attack.
I served almost 30 years in the navy. My grandfather, uncle, cousins, brothers, nephews and
many friends had also been a part of the armed forces as far back as World War II.
I’ve seen our country torn apart by riots and students being killed on college campuses.
I’ve experienced national tragedies like the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger and the
9/11 attacks.
Through these and countless other difficult situations, our country has survived.
And by the grace of God, we will survive this one too!

P eople of the world, you have inspired the words of this book!
You have taught me that you don’t always have to be strong.
You are allowed to break down as long as you pick yourself back up and keep moving
Even in your darkest hour you showed so much strength. I know that you don’t believe in
yourself as much as you should, but you are unbelievably strong and capable of anything you set
your mind to.
Despite the adversity, the challenges and the overwhelming odds, your acts of ‘heroism’ are
in a word, refreshing.
In country after country, people have unselfishly come together to offer help, solace or just
encourage their ‘neighbors’.
I can’t help but reflect on the familiar question that a lawyer once asked Jesus, “Who is my
Neighbor”? A story we now know as the ‘Good Samaritan’.
Even today people continue doing their best to make sure those in quarantine don’t feel
alone, and turning canceled events into opportunities to give back.
Take for example Anastasija and Josh Davis of British Columbia, Canada. They were
supposed to get married on April 3 in front of 135 guests.
However, as the Coronavirus pandemic escalated and gatherings of over 50 people were
prohibited, they had to rethink their wedding plans.
The couple got married in Josh’s parents’ living room in front of immediate family and the
groom’s best man.
When they rode in a limousine to another location to take photos, the best man told them to
roll down the window.
Their friends lined the streets with signs, balloons, streamers, and music blasting from their
cars. “They were honking, cheering, yelling congratulations”, said Anastasija.
“Josh and I were shocked. We were crying, we couldn’t believe this was happening.

I s this the end of life as we know it?

Is the US spiraling out of control?
Do governors have the capacity and skill set to lead their state?
Is a cure or vaccine on the horizon?
What does the future hold?
A few years ago, I worked on a project that I had no earthly hope of finishing on time.
Then ‘poof’ just like that things started to change.
Unexpected doors of favor begin to open for me and within a matter of hours, what once
seemed impossible and hopeless was completed.
I would dare say that the world is standing in this same place of uncertainty, “What will
happen next”?
Our minds have been so enamored with conflicting reports, and over exaggerated quotes that
we’re almost ready to throw in the towel—after all, what’s the use—we’re all dead men!
I think it was late February or early March, that I first felt the “weightiness” of this crisis.
Once I did, it made me look long and hard at what I hold near and dear; Jesus Christ, my wife,
kids and my grandkids.
For their sake I knew I needed to find answers!
I needed to know if things were as bad as our leaders were saying.
The Internet was filled with endless death and destruction on this subject, so before I could
find out what I was up against, I had to dig a little deeper.
I then did what I knew worked—I prayed!
Two days passed before I had my answers.
First, this will pass.
Second, the world has forgotten how precious life is. This unfortunately was a reminder of
And lastly, nothing should ever take precedence over your time with God or your family
Guest Forum

M uch has been written and discussed about thoughtful public health approaches to the
current Coronavirus crisis.
Simple precautionary steps, such as frequent hand washing and staying home from school or
work if sick, have been highlighted.
The best available data from the CDC, WHO, and other medical groups suggest that while
this new virus is more deadly than the typical flu, it is much less deadly than recent outbreaks
regarding the swine flu, bird flu, SARS, Ebola, and so forth.
Certainly, these illnesses cause havoc for many, with ripple effects regarding just about every
institution, organization, and industry in impacted areas.
And vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those with significant health
problems to begin with, are apparently most vulnerable to the illness.
Yet, this time around, the level of panic seems much worse than in the past, and much of it
seems centered around psychological, rather than rational, reactions.
There is a confluence of factors that make this particular health scare especially challenging
for the public.
First, stress and fear, in general, are at very high levels. The American Psychological
Association conducts a comprehensive Stress in America survey each year, and stress levels have
never been higher.
People are also very concerned and fearful about a variety of societal issues, such as rapid
climate change, frequent deadly gun violence, increasingly harsh and polarizing political
discourse, increased economic disparity, and so forth.
Additionally, major media outlets, as well as social media, in their various efforts for
attention, clicks, and revenue, tend to shout loudly and report news in a hysterical manner.
As the old journalism saying goes, “if it bleeds, it leads”, meaning that highly visual, graphic,
and provocative news is highlighted, and it sells.

“Ground Zero”

Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China


I n a small dimly lit room, a mother is seen holding a child to her breasts.
For the past fourteen days she had labored to keep life flowing through his frail body.
However, as his fever and convulsions intensified, she knew that without a miracle, death was
certain in a few days.
Feng Mian, a 28-year old mother of two boys, six and two, was among the first families to
contract the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Doctors initially diagnosed her youngest son, Wang Fang with a ‘cold’, possible flu.
Yet, after two weeks of antibiotics, his condition only worsened.
With all her money and hope nearly exhausted, she now feared the worse.
In a city of more than eleven million people, she kept hoping for answers; yet doctor after
doctor was mystified at her sons’ non-response to the antibiotics.
A mother however never quits or gives up!
They do whatever they have to do, and go wherever they have to go for their kids—no
As she ran out the doors of the Somerset Wusheng Wuhan apartments, she found her mind
racing over the events of the past 2 months—events that had changed her life.
It was either late November or early December that a swarm of ambulances first invaded her
apartment complex.
There must have been 50 or more that day.
“A Global Pandemic”

New York, USA


While the ‘experts’ claim they saw this coming, no one, I repeat no one saw this

Sadly, tragedies are an integral part of this life.

Yet, few thought this could happen to the United States of America.
Though former Presidents GW Bush and Barack Obama warned that we were ill prepared for
a pandemic, they failed to allocate resources for such an event.
I know hindsight is often 20/20, but I wonder how it would have structured our nation ‘if’
resources and funding were already in place.
However, we need to move on.
The time for finger pointing is long past.
Our nation needs healing.
However, before that is possible, we first need to ‘man up’ and accept our failures and
The fault of this current predicament lies at the doorstep of every generation.
Anytime we fail as a nation, so often this equates to people suffering and people dying.
I know this sounds morbid, but before the Coronavirus became a household word, were there
any serious discussions—from anyone—on this topic?
Yet, here we are.
Almost like a shadow in the night, a global, novel virus has kept us home, reoriented our
relationship to government, the outside world and even to each other.
“COVID-19 Task Force”

Washington D.C, USA


“The President’s top priority is the health and welfare of the American people. That is why, in
2018, President Trump signed the National Biodefense Strategy, which improves speed of action in
situations such as this. The Administration, led by the President’s Task Force, will continue to work to
prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus”.

F or the past several months, we’ve watched as the ‘White House (WH) Coronavirus Task
Force’ briefed the nation on this global pandemic.
However, before they were assembled, little was known about this group, their roles or their
Some would say the less you know, the better, but in today’s mixed up world, we need to
know more than what we are told—your very life could depend on it!
The White House Coronavirus Task Force is a United States Department of State task force
that “coordinates and oversees the Administration’s efforts to monitor, prevent, contain, and
mitigate the spread” of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The task force was established on January 29, 2020.
On February 26, 2020, US Vice President Mike Pence was named to chair the task force, and
Deborah Birx was named the response coordinator.
Michael Richard Pence
Michael Richard Pence is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 48th vice
president of the United States, since 2017.
He previously was the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and a member of the
United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013.
“For the Love of Money”

Washington D.C., USA


“Fear and confusion are excellent breeding grounds for profit”

W hile the world fights for its life against an unseen enemy, scammers fight for the right
to profit off tired, hurting and scared citizenry.
The irony of those words is incomprehensible!
I was appalled that anyone could stoop so low all for the ‘love of money’, but that’s our crazy
and mixed up world.
While government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation issue warnings for Americans to be vigilant during these times, con artists
are maneuvering to steal from consumers spooked by an onslaught of bad news related to COVID-
Without stricter regulations of what can and cannot be sold in the US to combat the
Coronavirus—as well as higher consumer awareness—these scams will proliferate until a vaccine
is developed.
If someone’s seeking information about symptoms and they’re in distress already, you can
imagine how quickly that could go downhill.
Scammers have launched “phishing” attacks, via text message and e-mail, to take advantage
of potential check recipients.
Their messages can appear legitimate—perhaps with a prompt such as “Click here to get your
money now”.
However, the hyperlinks are malicious.

Washington D.C., USA


“Pandemics have always shaped cities—Life after the COVID-19 outbreak will never be the
same as before”

A few minutes ago, I found myself reliving many of the changes that have occurred in our
world since January 1.
In a word it’s amazing!
The year 2020 has seen its fair share of major historic events in a little over five months—
including the acquittal of President Donald Trump in an impeachment trial, the death of NBA
legend Kobe Bryant, and the rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
May 30 marks 151 days into this new decade.
Life as we know it has come to a grinding halt since the Coronavirus pandemic has left
countries struggling to respond to the rapidly spreading virus.
The Coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, has prompted
schools to shut down, employees to work remotely, and people to remain inside their homes in an
attempt to contain the spread of the disease,
For some, days begin to blend together as people begin to adjust to a new way of life under
Now, allow me to shift gears.
My wife and I were discussing this very issue just last week.
I told her that every country has in some way been ravaged by this virus.
Sadly, though, the world, and a large percentage of the church, is convinced that science has
all the answers.
in 2003.
ames Langston is a retired naval officer
He faithfully served his country for 27 years before writing the final chapter of his career

Langston is founder and senior pastor of the Pilgrim Outreach Ministries.

He is ordained and licensed through World Evangelism Fellowship of Baton Rouge,
Louisiana as a preacher of the gospel.
James is a 1976 graduate of El Campo high school in El Campo, Texas.
Langston is the founder of two popular social media sites on Twitter, @joybells49 and
He is an author, ordained minister, husband, father, grandfather, avid jogger, bowling
enthusiast, senior pastor of the Pilgrim Outreach Ministries International, a web developer, a
communications officer (public relations specialist), a playwright, and a SyFy writer.
His work across these multiple disciplines broadly addresses and defines narratives of our
human experiences.
As a playwright, Langston has captured the attention of executive producers at Sony, Pixar,
Discovery Channel, Lifetime TV, A&E, SyFy, Velocity and UKTV with his work.
You can visit the Pilgrim Outreach Ministries online bookstore at,
Or you can preview and order his books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu Enterprises and
NOOK in paperback or hardcover, or as a Kindle e-Book.
James and his wife Cecilia have been married for more than 40 years.
They have six children and fifteen grandchildren.

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