Three members of a Mennonite Mission Network family in France and three other MMN workers in France, Germany and Spain are recovering from COVID-19.
The family members in France are Martine Audéoud, her husband, Gary Wittig, and their 12-year-old son, Samuel, who live in Illzach, near the German border. They trace their exposure to a conference of evangelical churches that assembled thousands of people in the Alsace region of eastern France.
Daniel and Marianne Goldschmidt-Nussbaumer wrote about the conference in a March 28 email: “In post-Christian France, it seems unthinkable that a week of prayer and fasting would contribute to the spread of COVID-19. However, that seems to have been one of the ways that several members of Mennonite churches contracted the virus.”
Some of the Mennonites recovered, among them Audéoud, Wittig and Samuel, and three Goldschmidt-Nussbaumer family members. A sister-in-law is still ill. However, other Mennonites were among those older than 70 years old who died.
“The obituary pages in the local newspaper have multiplied with the promise of Masses and memorials in the future,” the Goldschmidt-Nussbaumers wrote.
The other worker in France is Anne-Cathy Graber, who believes she was infected with COVID-19 during recent travels. She is an associate staff member of Paris Mennonite Center. As of April 1, MMN had not received an update on her condition.
The infected worker in Spain is Noelia Fox, who is recovering, according to Steve Wiebe-Johnson, MMN co-director for Africa and Europe. The rest of her family has not developed symptoms. She, her husband, Brian, and their three daughters serve alongside Communidades Unidas Anabautistas, the Mennonite church in Burgos, where they have lived since 2006.
The infected worker in Germany is David Lapp Jost of Bammental, Germany, who works with the German Mennonite Peace Committee. His wife, Sophie, is a pastoral intern in the Bammental Mennonite congregation. The Lapp Josts formerly served with MMN in the Middle East and began working in Germany last year.
David tested positive for COVID-19 on March 29 after being exposed two weeks before in a language class. He has not needed emergency care. Because of his pre-existing auto-immune conditions, the German health system sent someone from a mobile check-in unit to the Lapp Josts’ home. They have high praise for the health system and the quality of care they have received.
As of March 31, Sophie continued to feel well, and David reported he was feeling better.
“We ask for your continued prayers for us and the older people in our intentional community who may have been exposed through us,” they wrote. “We pray that you are taking measures to stay healthy. We feel fortunate to be in the hands of the German healthcare system and the wonderful community in which we live in Bammental.”