We have all been impacted. We all know people who have been impacted in some way. Even my young grandkids seem to know things are a bit different (except the two-month old).
I’m thankful that as I sit here at home, I can actually still work. I was considering writing about the role of work in our lives—as designed by God. Man was made to work. Even before the fall, Adam was to work and care for the garden. It was later, after being expelled from that amazingly lush created place, that he had to “till the ground,” meaning work hard. So, one of the ramifications of stay at home orders during COVID-19 is that people may realize the importance of doing something productive.
But, instead of writing more about work, I have worked through my contacts of agencies and my friends at Concilium Insight to gather a few one-line reports from around the globe. I am leaving the names of organizations and some specific locations off, some because of security issues. Here goes:
A church in Japan has 10 times the number of participants in their online gatherings than when they were face to face.
A church in Asia Minor is seeing four times the number of participants online than when they were gathering physically.
A church plant ministry in Asia Minor had 2,000 views of a recent live-stream service.
Publishers are reporting a significant increase in Bibles being purchased.
Broad virtual outreach is happening through cell phones and social media with opportunities for response. There is an increase in views from both international and North American media ministries.
Workers among Church Planting Movements in South Asia are risking their lives to share the gospel as they feed those in need.
Praise the Lord for these and many, many other things He is doing. Let’s pray together that these will last, expand and extend His name to the unreached.
Unfortunately, the broader impact of COVID-19 may be still to come.
Some estimate that 25,000 people die each day from starvation and its associated problems. That is 9.1 million a year. When the poor do not work for just one day, they do not eat. So global governments’ response to COVID-19 can either increase or decrease those projections.
One brother who works with us has been serving and mentoring others to serve among the poor. His heart has been broken before, but now it is crushed by these events. He has seen what can happen in these slum communities. He has seen what is happening with believers there.
Here is just a small part of his reflections:
“Suddenly, in the space of three weeks, we have moved to a war footing. At just a 2% death rate, we expect 28 million deaths in the global slums. Starvation is beginning by the third week. We suspect that more will die from starvation than COVID-19.” Meanwhile, India and Uganda and other countries have isolated the poor into their overcrowded communities where there is no social distancing. And this has cut them off from their jobs. Both governments are also attempting to hinder the flow of resources for political reasons. This is to slow a curve. But the poor can’t access the hospital ventilators as they can’t pay the necessary bribes.
So…this is a call to all Western (meaning: wealthy) Christians! Warfare requires rapid mobilization of resources and rapidly getting the call for help out through a multitude of channels. And we are now on a warfare footing to save the global slum-dwellers from starvation.
Since we can’t save all, we should get the maximum resources to the millions of our brothers and sisters who are part of slum believer churches.
Isaiah 58:7 says that a true fast is “sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your home (the result is: “light breaking through” and healing springing up speedily! Read the whole chapter.).
Keeping a family alive with just one meal a day for a week costs about $35.00 US$. So, the discipline of simplicity is, right now, mercy and justice biblically inspired.
We are trying to find pathways through banking regulations for the transfer of resources in order to connect known leaders and their networks of 50, 100, or 160 in various cities.
Might Americans who do not need them, give their $1200 checks for the urban poor? Might that be a way for us to “invite” them into our homes?