This year has been a series of unexpected events, most of which have been quite difficult and extremely challenging. I would not rank it as one of our best years. Twenty-twenty brought global pandemic resulting in sickness, death, job loss and financial crisis. This year also brought civil and political unrest and increasing numbers of natural disasters. Many peoples of all nations are experiencing pain and suffering on so many fronts. Yet, the Lord continues to give blessings . . .
During this global pandemic, I am attending many video conferences and webinars. A clear message of “be creative” and “try something new” keeps surfacing. SIU was founded on the principle of being creative and trying new things. This time of global pandemic and all the associated restrictions has caused our SIU team and our partners in the field to “try something new” as well.
Many are suffering much during this widespread global pandemic, especially those who live in poverty stricken, economically depressed communities. Questions of “Where will our next meal come from?”, “Where will our provision come from, now and for the future?” and “Will we survive?” are at the forefront of many people’s thoughts. In 1 Kings 17:7-16, God’s Word speaks to this through a story from long ago. It is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Let me share this true story from the Living Word of God.
God’s Word, shared through stories and the Oral Arts (storytelling and dialogue, drama, poetry, song and dance), continues to touch hearts and minds of oral preference learners around the world, even during this global pandemic. See how local leaders are proclaiming the Good News through story in this 90 second SIU 2020 Vision Video.
In the midst of this global pandemic we see the body of Christ living out the commands to love God and love our neighbor. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis, God continues to work through our SIU partners around the world. Many have been and still are struggling with loss of jobs and lack of food for their families and communities. Even so, they have not given up on serving God or their communities. They continue to share God’s love and Good News with their neighbors through stories and care, sharing what little resources they have to care for one another. We strongly believe that what the enemy intends for evil, our God is using for good.
Are you willing to try something new? I think I heard that question more than one hundred times over the last couple months during this global pandemic. With all the recent lockdowns and quarantines in place across the globe, I am truly inspired and encouraged to see how many of our partners have adjusted their activities and are finding new ways of helping others during this time of crisis. Some turned their facilities into mask-making manufacturing outlets, some produced standardized mass-distribution food care packages, and some developed unique accelerated delivery methods. Talk about Creative Delivery! They are adjusting to meet needs and continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus, even in these changing and challenging times.
“As you know, the whole world is suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been locked down the past 20 days. In my area most of the people are daily wage workers. If they can’t work they can’t eat. Many people are now starving for food. They don’t have anything to eat and many people come to our Church for help. We are doing our best to help them but there are so many families without food. Many poor people are living with just water. It’s very difficult for me to explain how much pain they are bearing.” – Pastor in Western Nepal
We are starving . . .
Interesting fact about the Word of God: it is approximately 15% poetry (the remainder is 10% letters and 75% narrative story…but that is another story for another time). Poetry of the Bible provides much comfort, peace and solace in all types of crisis whether illness, natural disasters, abandonment, abuse, neglect, divorce, dominance, injustice, oppression…or even a global outbreak of a pandemic virus.
I am privileged to meet many humble indigenous men and women of peace from communities all over the world. They follow our Lord Jesus Christ, seeking to reflect His image in everything they do. They are “not easily offended” although many of them have gone through terrible persecution, abuse, shame and other unspeakable things that humans unfortunately do to each other. The Lord has given them many gifts and talents; one of those gifts being the gift of language (many speaking multiple languages). These humble men and women of peace forgive those who harm them, and even humbly share their faith with those who hated and persecuted them. It’s a story that is repeated again and again for true “followers of Jesus”.
Change is not easy. There are times in our lives when the Lord brings new seasons and changes to each of us and our families that ultimately releases His will on earth (just as it is in Heaven). For those of us who believe, it is expected that WE are changing and conforming to the image of Jesus Christ and the only unchanging thing in his universe is the Lord almighty. One of those changes that came to me and my family this past month was the passing and promotion of my earthly father into Glory. There has been much grief, tears and sadness …BUT we, as believers, don’t grieve like those who have no hope.