Progress in a Pandemic?
Hi, friends. By now the negative comments, memes, and jokes about 2020 are more than anyone could count. And much of it for good reason. The Lord has seen fit to put our world through many trials this year. And many of you have felt acute pain. The same is true of missionaries and of those whom missionaries seek to reach. And yet, God has also chosen to reveal his power in the midst of our weakness. How? A few examples:
The shift from in-person training to virtual training: though not too many of us would assert that virtual training offers a better learning experience, God has used it to open doors that we didn't even realize were there. Previously, travel costs and home responsibilities prevented many from participating in some of our training events. With so much moving virtually, it means that: 1) training is more accessible, and 2) training can happen more frequently. In the spring, Amy was involved in training a group of Parakaleo participants to be able to apply the gospel to the challenges in their ministry contexts. This fall, the trainees have become the trainers - organizing and directing virtual training to equip other women. It's the first time this training has been fully Latin-led!
Multiplying the impact of mercy ministry: our team in La Ceiba, Honduras ministers to at-risk young men through job-skill training and discipleship. Due to COVID, the ministry has moved from group sessions in the ministry site to personal sessions in the young men's homes. God is using this to allow our missionaries to share the gospel not just with young men but also with their entire families!
Darkening the virtual door of the church: during our years of ministry in Guadalajara, we invited many, many people to visit the church. Most of them said no. Or said yes but didn't come. Entering a Christian church in a Catholic country is a big taboo, and many refused invitations either because they couldn't get over the stigma themselves or because they couldn't risk being seen going to church. But now we see some of them attending church online!
Joining an 'unknown' church: in Cusco, Perú the members of our church plant sought ways to bless their community in the midst of economic crisis. The Peruvian members identified people in particularly dire straits and then shared groceries with them. One of the recipients began to attend the church virtually and now says she wants to join the church when they get back to in-person worship services.