Throughout the world, the church especially has had to adapt to a new set of realities. Temporary though they may be, it is important to note that God uses such times to drive his church in new directions and his people to new places. In all of our partner countries, a lockdown has begun. In the U.S. this suggestion or order is usually a strongly worded suggestion, in other areas however, this order is backed up with armed soldiers patrolling the street.
In Peru, only one person is allowed out at a time to get food or supplies. A curfew is also in place. Those who transgress are questioned, screened and have even been taken to jail. The mood is somber and the people are both fearful and restless. Local economies feel the greatest hit.
Argentina, Paraguay, and Colombia are currently a little less strict, with people coming and going on business only when necessary. All group gatherings have been canceled for now including religious gatherings. This has not stopped the church though. Several of our brothers own and operate radio stations in Argentina. The airwaves are filled with music of hope, love, and redemption. Guest speakers give messages of hope during these trying times calling on the church to be the beautiful bride it has been called to be. Calling people to prayer. Small groups (less than 10) are meeting for bible study both physically and through online connections.
Throughout the crisis, the church is also adapting in amazing ways taking services online as much as possible. In Colombia, we have seen several postings on YouTube of services and especially prayer. You can catch some of those by clicking the link here or paste into your browser. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsvJc5TVkDo&feature=youtu.be
The virus has also attacked in the Philippines necessitating a stay at home order as well. Yet even in the moment of crisis, the church is rising up. Some delivering supplies while other pastors go online bringing music and words of encouragement and peace. Check out a few of those postings (don't feel bad if you cannot understand the language.) https://www.facebook.com/watchparty/805240296626100/?entry_source=FEED
Our partners in India were ordered to stop all services until the crisis has passed. Although many rural villages may continue to meet, the church will continue to serve as the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus in mighty and powerful ways. The services on the twenty-second of March were filled to overflowing as people poured in to hear words of encouragement and hope. In the coming weeks, the church in Visak and Rajahmundry both have televised services and will be using Facebook Live and YouTube to continue to connect to their congregations as well. The beauty of this is those who might not have heard the word proclaimed previously, can now see and hear.
As we all weather this storm one thing is still certain. God is still in control. This is a good time to spend with family (and a few friends) reconnecting and praising God for all the good things in our lives. We have been blessed with more than we realize and we have much to be thankful for. Our partners, living with much less economically and possessions are living into a life of abundant grace. Using both modern and ancient forms of connection to remind the world that God's promise to Joshua is also for each of us is today and as relevant yesterday as it is at this moment. "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5.
Please continue to keep our partners in prayer as they keep our nation and communities in prayer as well.
Any update on the Molinas in Spain?