Quarantined for Valentine’s Day

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: It’s Friday the 14th of February, 2020. Valentine’s Day!

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: a funny thing happened on the way to the honeymoon.

BASHAM: What a story! A romantic cruise turned into a medical quarantine—not exactly the way you plan your first Valentine’s Day!

EICHER: No! I imagine not. Texas newlyweds Tyler and Rachel Torres are among the 3,700 people quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess. This is the cruise ship that was scheduled to sail from Yokohama, Japan, January 20th and return February 4th. 

Scheduled is the key word here.

But no one was allowed to get off the ship because one of the passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. Since that time, more than 200 people on board the ship have come down with the virus.

BASHAM: Now, as we said, Tyler and Rachel were on their honeymoon. 

The good news is they’re getting a longer honeymoon. The bad news is it’s in much tighter quarters than they expected! 

I talked to them via Skype about what it’s been like. Here are excerpts of our conversation.

It’s hard to imagine a more pressure-filled situation. I mean, how are you guys doing physically?

TYLER: We’re doing alright. The first couple days were rough just because they didn’t have that many movies. The internet wasn’t all that good. And the water was a big issue. We didn’t have enough water. We were told to boil our own water with the kettle.

RACHEL: I’ve become a professional at boiling water. Apparently electric kettles are popular in Asia. We had never seen one. But it’s become something that we’re using pretty much daily now.

TYLER: Yeah. But now they’ve uploaded more movies than we know what to do with. Obviously I’ve been busy with Reddit. We’ve gotten lots of shoutouts from people. Chick-fil-A in Irving has been really nice and supplied one of the Bible studies— Rachel describes it better.

RACHEL: Yeah, it’s a Bible study for adults with special needs that we go to and… they do meal nights every other week, so Chick-fil-A is going to take care of that for them for a couple weeks. So that was awesome. It’s good to see some tangible results come out from all the interviews we’ve been doing and our situation. 

BASHAM: Right. I saw an article and this was talking about for missionaries and other people who are in areas that are really hard hit with the coronavirus, just talking about how they’re witnessing and you brought up the Bible study. So are people really nervous? Is that a conversation that’s going on much— where people are with their faith? What they’re thinking about eternity in this really scary situation?

RACHEL: Yeah, I would say that we’ve been trying to witness to the people kind of immediately next to us and across from us stateroom-wise. We don’t have a lot of contact with the rest of the boat just because of the quarantine being isolated to our rooms. But we’ve been trying to open the balcony door and let some fresh air in and then we open our door so that the fresh air can blow all the way through to everybody on the inside staterooms. And we’ve made a lot of friends just kind of immediately around us. We haven’t really gotten a lot of questions about our faith yet. But we’re hoping that just being positive lights in the interviews that we’ve been doing on television will hopefully help.

BASHAM: And how about for the two of you? Because I feel like I’m kind of a worrywart anyway, so when I’m put into a situation like that, I feel like suddenly that faith would be tested, going “OK, Lord, how am I going to not worry and fret my way through this?”

RACHEL: Yeah. Tyler is a lot calmer than I am. I struggled a lot the first couple days and made a lot of phone calls downstairs just trying to get information from anybody who would talk to me. And, obviously, nobody knew anything at that point yet. So, I think I worried a lot the first couple days. 

But since then, we have so many people back home praying for us and I think most of Dallas-Fort Worth is praying for us at this point. So, we’ve had a lot of people reach out just with love and prayers and our pastors back home have been really helpful, too. So, I don’t know. It’s a peace beyond understanding that I have right now, and I know Tyler has been really calm throughout this whole thing.

BASHAM: That was Tyler and Rachel Torres talking to me from their cabin on board the Diamond Princess. Their quarantine is scheduled to last until Wednesday.

(Photo/Tyler and Rachel Torres)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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