From the Field: Creative Compassion

Missionaries See Closed Doors Bring Open Hearts

The saying may be trite, but true: When God closes a door, He opens a window. Be encouraged. Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has brought difficult days. We don’t want to dismiss anyone’s losses or concerns. But we also thought you’d want to hear about some of the ministry opportunities coming from this crisis. Missionaries and communities of believers around the world are discovering creative ways to serve their neighbors. They are sharing the gospel with people looking for hope. It seems that God has placed His servants in strategic places to care for those who need it.

Note: This is part 1 in a series. Read part 2.

Dinner at the Door

A Pioneer in Europe finds life under lockdown a challenge but has found ways to make the most of it. “One of the best parts of the lockdown has been ‘dinner at the door’ with my neighbors,” she says. “Thursday nights we all sit in our doorways and spend hours together, getting to know each other better and having real live human interaction—my only time of the whole week.”

A small thing, but a life saver. And how did it come about? It was a God thing, of course. “I’m not very creative, so I had been praying that God would give me ideas of how to still use this time to reach out to my neighbors. And then He dropped this one in my head! Though they were skeptical at first, it has become a sweet time of connection for all of us and has even become an opportunity to discuss spiritual things with them. Please pray for even more ‘open doors’!”

Hand-Washing Stations in Busy Places

Before the streets of their city emptied out, a family serving in Asia had the idea of setting up hand-washing stations in front of bus stops in their city. Hundreds of people started using the hand-washing stations. Members of the local mosque contacted them to say, “We’ve got hundreds of people coming in and out. Can you set one up here?” They ended up having the opportunity to go in the mosque, meet with the leaders, and pray in the name of Jesus for their Muslim friends. What might come of these new relationships?

A Gift from God, Not from Us

Face-to-face meetings and regular programs for women and children were on hold. A mission team in the Middle East thought the crisis would keep them from serving the Syrian refugees they’ve come to love. But they prayed, and God led them to reach out to these families in a different way.

“So, we decided to call them, find out what their needs were, then organize deliveries of grocery store gift cards to help them with basic food items while we are all in isolation…. We told them, ‘We all prayed and felt God telling us that we need to help you. So, please consider this gift from God, and not from us.’”

The men on the team made the deliveries to the door of each family. This also proved to be the perfect opportunity for them to establish contact with the husbands and fathers of these families. Normally, these men are gone at work six or seven days a week. But now they are unable to work, which is why the families are having trouble making ends meet. Many of the families wanted to invite the men in for tea—culturally obligatory but currently impossible due to the virus. Those tea times will have to wait. Pray they can happen soon and lead to growing trust and relationships. May today’s closed doors lead to open doors tomorrow.

Closed Doors Double Ministry Opportunities for A Family in Europe

After their country went into lockdown, a family in Europe saw ministry opportunities more than double. Twice as many kids come to youth group when it’s online. Turns out the youth find it easier to invite friends digitally, rather than in person. An English conversation group used to meet weekly in person but now meets twice a week by video. “The topics are getting much deeper and more spiritually focused as the current circumstances are causing many to contemplate hope and security,” they add.

In addition, this family reports more conversations with local believers now considering their part in bringing the gospel message and hope of Jesus to the others. And this is not the only place that’s happening. “On the global level, the church has come together digitally on a massive scale to pray and seek God in the midst of the pandemic. We genuinely believe that God is opening the eyes of the world to see its need for a Savior. Jesus. He is the source of all hope and security!”

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