The COVID-19 global health crisis has us all adapting and organizing our lives in new ways. Ways, in fact, that remind me of what our brothers and sisters on the mission field must navigate on a regular basis. You might say that with COVID-19 we’re getting a taste of what life is like for Trinity’s missionary partners.
Consider these parallels:
Missionaries are distant from their primary source of emotional support
Church, family and friends who were easily accessed now can’t be reached in any immediate way. The joys of table fellowship with one another aren’t possible. Do you feel that distancing due to COVID-19?
Missionaries can feel forgotten
One family wrote, “It helps our loneliness…to hear…and know we are not forgotten…” Another wrote, “If I could ask one thing of a church or small group it would be for them to show some interest in my family and me.” Has the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order aroused feelings of loneliness and being forgotten in you?
Missionaries need to be flexible
The ability to adapt, to be patient in unexpected circumstances, to find alternatives to one’s usual way of doing things, and to allow one’s plans to be changed are a regular part of life in an unfamiliar country and culture. Has COVID-19 stretched you to be more flexible?
Missionaries regularly deal with shortages of material goods or not being able to get products and foods they’re used to using
Sometimes missionaries are in a culture or country where common and familiar comforts—such as a certain type of food or clothing style—just aren’t available in the place they end up ministering. They might yearn for a take-out burger and fries or softer toilet paper. Has COVID-19 caused you to go without certain things or deal with shortages?
Missionaries find that life takes more time
Maybe fuel shortages mean waiting hours to get gasoline. Maybe stores or businesses close during certain hours of the day which make completion of tasks less convenient. Has COVID-19 made life take longer for you?
Missionaries often do not know where financial support will come from beforehand
One missionary wrote, “In 23 years of running mission hospitals…I NEVER had more than 2-6 weeks of funding available ahead of time, let alone a year’s worth…” Does COVID-19 have you trusting the Lord regarding finances?
Missionaries see opportunity in the midst of hard circumstances
The challenges listed above are all part of the life lived by ordinary Christians who serve in missions, a life that will further the gospel of Jesus Christ. Has COVID-19 opened up opportunities to depend on Christ more and reveal ways to serve Him now?
Missionaries depend on and covet prayer for them and their work
One of our missionaries has begun fasting and praying one day a week (and asks others to join him). One person who visited the mission field noted that they were being taught “to see prayer as the crucial work of ministry, as work on the front lines.” Has COVID-19 caused you to pray more, not only for personal concerns, but for expansion of Christ’s kingdom?
Loneliness, feeling forgotten, being flexible, dealing with shortages, being patient with restrictions, financial challenges, finding opportunity in hard circumstances are things I can identify with and for which I certainly appreciate your prayers, but remember our missionaries, too. The TCS Missions Committee meets together on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 9:30am, and you are welcome to join us to learn more and to pray together with us for the ongoing needs of our TCS missions partners. If you want to know more about global missions at Trinity, you can contact Judy Davis (Global Missions Chair) at firstname.lastname@example.org.