by Donald Marsden, Associate Director
I normally travel quite a bit in my work. The inability to travel, to be physically close to people, has caused my colleagues and me to search for new ways to be close to our global partners. Zoom and other video conferencing tools have, in certain ways, allowed us to draw closer spiritually to those from whom we are physically distant. We’ve held conversations more frequently and more thoughtfully because we’ve known we can’t see one another for quite some time.
Simon recently told a group of us on a Zoom call about the response of the churches in his Central Asian nation to COVID-19. When the government ordered people to stay at home, everyone was in shock for a couple of weeks. Churches began to pray. They mobilized round-the-clock prayer vigils so that someone from each church would be praying throughout the day. Within a few weeks, 200 churches had joined the prayer movement.
One day Simon was washing his hands. As he rinsed the soap from his hands, he sensed God’s voice speaking to him, “If this soap and water can protect you from this invisible virus, how much more can the blood of Christ protect you!” With this thought in mind, Simon began to urge the leaders of the church to leave their homes in order to buy food and medicine to give to those people most in need. The people of the churches went into action.
Many people in Simon’s nation, already living on the edge of poverty, have been in tremendous need, not knowing where their next meal would come from. Poor people in unstable living situations found themselves in even greater difficulties because they could not go to work. Many received the food and medicine as a gift sent by God. A 100-year-old Muslim woman received the Gospel. A prostitute turned to Jesus. Single moms and families with unemployed dads received Christians and the gifts they brought with joy. One man, seeing the Christians bringing food to his family said, “They have not paid us any salary since February. We’ve been living on whatever we can find. God Himself sent you to us!”
Sharing food and medicine, and showing compassion, has given Christians in Central Asia the opportunity to share their faith in Jesus. During the coronavirus pandemic, new online groups and new churches have been organized as a result of the changing conditions and God’s action among the people.
To learn more about how you can partner with Simon’s community as they embody the Good News of Jesus during the global pandemic, contact Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the COVID-19 Response page on our website to learn more about how you can come alongside other global partners as they respond with God’s love to communities in crisis.