20 May Update From Our Missionaries…
The Coronavirus has exploded into a worldwide pandemic affecting lives around the world. In our lifetime we have never experienced anything like this. Recently there was a Zoom call with a number of our world missionaries discussing how they were navigating through this time. To protect the identity of missionaries in sensitive areas we have decided to list their initials and country’s only.
We are currently serving in India but had to go to Thailand for a number of appointments. We came to Chiang Mai on March 3 and planned to stay for a few days but all appointments were cancelled. We have returned stateside due to Covid-19.
(D&ER) India (Thailand)
I am on the island of Pemba (Tanzania) serving with a small team as some have returned to the US. There are not many confirmed cases but all schools and businesses are closed. Medical supplies are scarce, so it is hard to truly know what is going on. The pandemic has completely shaken our schedule and future plans. But I am reminded that God has not turned His back on us and He is still in control.
We are doing ok although now we can only leave our house one day a week to buy food and necessities. When we do go out we are required to wear masks and gloves. We are also under a county-wide curfew every day from 2pm until 5am.
Here in Turkey we are doing well. Like most places we are staying home besides going out for essentials. We had to close our community center for refugees but
we continue to stay in touch with families. We are continuing our Bible study of new believers and seekers through Skype. Please pray for one of the young Muslim background believers. His father found out last week and was very upset. But this could be a turning point for the whole family.
It has been interesting to navigate this so far and to also be responsible for other people on our team. As of right now we have an official curfew in place from 7pm to 6am. It looks like things might become a little stricter sometime next week though.
We are doing fine but many Christian business people are looking for advice and answers during this time, and we are asking God to use our ministry to be a blessing to them. Recently, I have been thinking about so many non-Christian small businesses who are operating in fear right now. I recognize we have a tremendous opportunity to reach them now.
We have been on a “stay at home” basis for three weeks now because of the virus. Our regular activities have come to a sliding halt, but God is still moving!!! Indonesia doesn’t have a great medical service, but they are trying. I am on the island of Sulawesi and while we do have cases on this island and in our city, we are not hit as hard as the bigger islands and more populated areas such as Jakarta on Java island.
We are fine, Kunming has no reported cases for a while, the sun is shining (which kills a few germs they say), and overall doing well right now. A young man we watched grow up in the orphanage called me yesterday. He is blind but with very good eyes of faith. He lives in another city where he is very active with local brothers and sisters. He called me to ask how we were doing. Then he told me how his local family has been interceding for brothers and sisters in America. One sister prayed for America for a solid six hours. “We are all one body. We must take care of each other as He told us to.”
Written by: Pat Mahar • AGWM Missionary • ICF PADOVA, Italy
I am sitting in my home in Northern Italy, now forty-two days into something that no one could’ve predicted. I’m praying, reading my Bible and listening to the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit.
I received an email a few weeks ago from the American Embassy raising the travel alert to Level Four. This was a call for all American citizens to leave now or risk not being able to do so indefinitely. For our family there is never a thought of leaving. It was similar for me more than a month ago, when I took Brenda to the Venice airport to fly to Greece for my daughter’s baby shower. She looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to come?” I said to her, “You’ll be back in a couple days. I love you, see you soon.” Only God knew what the turn of events would reveal. Due to a rare condition the doctor moved up the delivery two days after Brenda arrived, and our first grand baby (Luca) was delivered early by cesarean section on March 9. The day before the birth, all the borders in Europe were locked down; no one was moving in or out of any country. Our daughter (who’s a missionary and new mother), asked, “What does this mean from the American Embassy?” I told her, “It means we cannot go back; we are in God’s hands.” So here we sit, quietly, separated, trying to be a blessing to our people facing a terrible uncertainty in Italy. They tell us maybe the lockdown will lift at the end of April.
I don’t write this so people will have pity on our family. I didn’t become a missionary to see exotic lands (ask Brenda, and she’ll tell you I hate to travel). I became a missionary to follow His call. The Lord has already begun to use this crisis for His good. He has opened many doors as our services have taken to the Internet. We are finding that not only our present congregants are reaching out, but friends from past ministry fields are now following us who are not believers. These are coming from Catholic, Orthodox and even some from Islamic backgrounds, all wanting to talk and hear more about Jesus. Could it be that God is shaking His church to do more?
We also heard from fourteen different missionaries who are now stateside on a hold from itinerating. They want all pastors to know they are praying for you and are available to be used in any way desired. Some are already serving in their local church while others are available to serve.
Please keep all our missionaries, home and abroad, in your prayers and thoughts.