A letter to the missionaries who are stuck at places where you could not fully call it home.
Dear fellow missionaries,
We live in a crazy time. Due to the restrictions in place because of COVID-19, some of you might have returned to your passport country where you don’t quite feel at home anymore. You might be thinking: “how could I leave the people in my host country and the place I really feel at home during this crisis?” Some of you might have stayed in your host country and are missing all the comfort foods of your childhood. You might be worried about your family—especially your grandma back at home home—and wish you could be there to support them. Some of you might be stuck in neither country you belong to. You wonder if you should start making a new home in this third country, but can’t think that much during lockdown.
We live in an uncertain time. You wonder what will happen to the students if the ministry school is closed. You wonder what to do with the dozens of pre-booked presentations planned for furlough. You have no clue if you can still connect with the remote villages. What will happen to all the trainings, conferences and outreaches? Will you ever move to that new country? Will the disciples know how to follow Jesus when the leaders aren’t there? Of course, there are also the worries of funding shortages and how to live in peace with the whole family in the same house under lockdown. God calls us to share the love of Christ to the least reached. How do we do this now? There are no concrete answers.
We live in an exciting time. We can still share God’s love during this time and people might be even more open than ever. No one has the excuse of no time. Finally, you can write that newsletter or set up those calls with supporters. This is a great opportunity to reconnect and to pray for them. Non-Christian family and friends might want to hear your testimony for the first time. Share all the stories of how God took you through difficult times in the past. The whole world is in a waiting game. Many missionaries were playing way before this pandemic. As experienced waiting game players, we should be nice and help out the many who just joined in. Now is the time.
Time to share all your recipes of food from scratch and the perfect substitutes for when you can’t buy the correct ingredients. Time to tell the tricks of how to keep kids busy for long periods (Think about all the long road trips and flights with your children. You have golden tips now every parent wants!). Time to share how you entertain yourself when there is no cinema or sports games to distract you. Time to show people what to do when they run out of toilet paper (bidets should be selling well!). Time to teach people the wisdom of how to cut out all the non-essentials like that time when the ministry budget was tight. Time to give advice on how to keep long-distance relationships going. Time to share how you stay sane when nothing works around you. And most importantly, time to help people to pray, to love and to trust God in this difficult season. Let us not let the virus stop the mission, but seek God for creative ways to continue to share His love.
Let us be like our big brother Paul sending encouragement to the people.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
Ivy (who is in lockdown mode like many of you and trying to find a way to fall in love with Microsoft Teams)
Ivy, previously a city girl rushing into the Taipei metro everyday, now enjoys walking around beautiful villages at Lake Tanganyika, Zambia. She likes to listen to people's stories and write newsletters (really a rare species). Her dream is to become the shortest giant in the world.