This year will definitely go down in history as one that we will never forget!
There has been a lot of emphasis on what we cannot do. For us extroverts, not being able to meet with people face to face or have the whole staff team operating out of the office, has been challenging. On the other hand it has been encouraging to learn new skills. During our recent CMSI staff planning days we’ve been asking God what can we still do. In some ways, we’ve been forced to be innovative and creative, and work in different ways. So watch this space for new initiatives we are hoping to launch in the coming months.
One of the things that I’ve really appreciated during lockdown is being able to attend church virtually with our brothers and sisters around the world (S. Sudan, Egypt and Ireland). Recently in my own congregation, they have started a series in the book of Philippians under the theme “Choose Joy”.
The apostle Paul wrote his letters to the Church in Philippi from his prison cell at a time when he was in a difficult place. It cast my mind back to the prisons in some of the countries where our Global Partners are ministering, that are dark and dank, with no toilets in the cells, and quite a few critters running around. In the midst of those circumstances, Paul is exhorting the Christians in Philippi to choose joy!
The impact of coronavirus and the lockdowns used to limit its spread in our Global Partner countries are compounding the huge challenges people already face. In spite of all that, Bishop Eridard Nsubuga from Luweero Diocese recently wrote, “Our faith in the Lord is strong as before, and it will be strong regardless of what.” Essentially, our Global Partners are walking in very difficult times and as they come out of lockdown, they continue to find their joy in the Lord. There is recognition, that it is only God who provides a peace that passes all understanding.
While listening to our recent sermon series, and reflecting on the words of Bishop Eridard, I was reminded of a video that our former PC for Mid-Africa (Kelly Yates) took while up in N. Uganda, of the Mothers' Union welcoming her by dancing with such joy and love. Many of circumstances of those women are very challenges, and yet in the midst of their own pain and disappointments in life, they extend warm and welcoming hospitality as Ugandans only know how!
It’s hard in the midst of a crisis to remember, just because the world has come to a halt, God is still at work and is in control. He is not taken by surprise and He is still moving. He is our joy!