Movements are Responding to COVID-19 – Part 2
– Compiled by Dave Coles –
God’s children in Church Planting Movements are responding to the pandemic by finding ways to manifest God’s kingdom in this difficult situation. These are recent testimonies of some ways the Lord is working.
One leader reports: “Recently our team found 11 Muslim families living without food. They were very surprised when our team brought them bags of food. After receiving the food, one man said, ‘Are you guys men or angels sent to us? For the past three days we have had no food. We were going hungry and nobody came to help us.’ Later, as the relationship developed, we began to share the gospel and the love of the Lord Jesus. Now six of the families are in a discipleship process, and we hope they will accept the Lord soon.”
From Southeast Asia: “Before we distribute the food we have packaged, we pray first, so the Lord will show us the right people to receive the food packages. We have received several testimonies of spiritual fruit [God has brought from this]. For example, Mr. D had been a devout Muslim, but since we have been ministering to them, he has begun to open his heart to receive the gospel message. When my wife read a WhatsApp message describing their situation, she immediately contacted Mr. D and asked him to come to our house. The next day he came to the house and began to tell me his situation. For three weeks, he had received no calls for his job. He was already experiencing economic hardship, even unable to buy milk for his child. When we handed him the package of staple foods (plus milk and vitamins for his child), he was very touched, and cried while thanking us. During that interaction, my wife and I shared the gospel message and told him that the blessing he had received came from Isa al Masih (Jesus Christ). After a while, Mr D became more open and willing to put his trust in Jesus. We led him in prayer, and he is now one of the people we are following up.”
From Africa: “We want to distribute food to 2,000 [focus group] families (2,000 families = 12,000 persons) in the next month. We have already trained 500 families of Muslim Background Believers from that group, who can visit 1,500 families around them to bring them food and share the gospel with them.”
From West Asia: “Families who have received the food and supplies have shown deep gratitude. One family even asked if they could share what they’d received with others. They’ve referred others who are truly needy to the believers who delivered the food so that they can also receive help. Their eyes are being lifted off their troubles to consider the needs of others. The believers who have distributed the food have been able to explain to the families that the living God, who hears their cries, is the source of the provision. They have been intentional about beginning relationships with those who have received the food and plan to follow up with those who have expressed interest in getting to know God. Their faith and the faith of those who hear about this work has been greatly strengthened. They’ve grown in compassion for the needy and have learned to work with others on the team to take action to meet physical needs.”
From other places in Central Asia, South Asia, and East Africa (where we cannot give specific locations and details, for security reasons), we are seeing tremendous response to various services. In some places, the believers are giving water where people did not have access to drinking water or water for washing. In some areas they are providing sanitation supplies (masks, soap, antiseptic, etc.) to help impoverished people who have to choose between buying food and buying masks. In one village, God specifically led a small team to bury the bodies of some people who had died from COVID-19, whose families and fellow villagers refused to bury them due to fear of infection. The team knew it was a health hazard, but God told them very specifically to do this, despite the rejection and fear. As a result, many of the families of these people wanted to know why they had done this, which resulted in a large number of people coming to faith.
While we praise God for his work in these places, we note that tremendous difficulties remain in many areas. Challenges include lack of resources, fear (in some areas making it almost impossible to talk to people), government barriers, and difficulties in receiving outside aid.
However, as the above stories show, the Lord is working in and through his children in movements, to provide for and bless those in great need. Often, out of their own material poverty and spiritual riches, they are sharing with others, for the glory of Jesus and the advancement of his kingdom. In this way they imitate the active faith of the Macedonian believers described in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Their poverty wells up in generosity, to touch others for the glory of God.