Greetings in Christ! When I last wrote to you in December, plans were being made for an incredible year of ministry in rural areas for 2020. However, only God knew what was in the future. All of us may have been surprised by the corona virus outbreak, but not God.
Recently I was reminded of what biblical hope is and thought of Paul’s words in Romans, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Rom. 8:24-25). The hope of the world is like a wish or desire. However, the hope of the believer in Christ is a confident one that looks beyond today’s news to our risen Lord, and the new heaven and the new earth He is preparing for us in the future. We have a hope beyond the pandemic or anything else that should be a cause for anxiety and fear of the masses.
Let me give you an update on what is happening with Great Awakenings during this season of worldwide upheaval. Our ministry, just like government, businesses, families, local churches and other Christian ministries, is being impacted.
Our trip to Kenya (April 17-28) has been postponed. At this point, no new date has been set. Pastor George Muguro and I decided to wait and see how the impact of the corona virus plays out. One possibility for rescheduling is August, another is December, or waiting until sometime in 2021.
I was going to be teaching at the Manna Bible Institute (MBI) and School of Missions in Ongata Rongai, which is less than 15 miles south of Nairobi. MBI has been shut down, along with all other schools and universities in Kenya. Additionally, the city of Rongai is where the first cases of the virus were confirmed. And like the United States, churches throughout Kenya were cancelling services and going online (as of March 27).
Besides Kenya, there was also a trip to Mexico (May 30-June 6) that was cancelled. It came after heavy travel restrictions were put in place between the United States and Mexico. It was still in the planning stages, but was postponed until 2021.
During March we were preparing to begin our 2020 season of Igniting The Rural Church program, when a church cancelled. We anticipate more cancellations in the coming weeks. As a result, we have suspended scheduling anymore programs in 2020 until churches have a better idea of what their future looks like.
Since the fall of 2018, I have been part of the Manhattan Christian College (MCC) pulpit supply program, preaching in area small and rural churches. On March 14, I filled the pulpit at the Florence Christian Church in Florence, Kansas. I preached on the fear and anxiety produced as a result of the pandemic. The following week MCC announced the cancellation of their pulpit supply program through April. Many participating churches have suspended weekly services.
Our Administrative Assistant, Tonia Hedman, has three teenagers’ school. When the state of Kansas decided to shut down schools, we had to adapt like many other organizations, so she is working from home as much as possible in order to help homeschool her kids for the rest of the semester.
My wife, Kathe, works four days a week at a part-time job. The pandemic is having a devastating effect on the business she works for, where all employees have been laid off.
WHERE ARE WE HEADED
Like government, businesses and families; churches and Christian ministries are all in a state of change. We are no different. Presently, I am still preparing for my Kenya trip and for future Igniting The Rural Church programs. I am also seeking the Lord daily about how He would have us minister the gospel to people in such a time as this.
This is an incredible time for the message of Christ all over the world, in all cultures and languages. As I write, the virus has already reached over 200 nations, territories and other areas. People are ready for spiritual conversations. May God give you an open door to talk to someone this week about Christ.
HOPE FOR THE DYING
Over the last several months, before the virus hit, God put me in unique places where I have been at the bedside of dying men. After I spoke with each one, within a week, they had passed away. But before they died, God led me to kneel beside them, open the Scriptures and share the good news of Christ. In each case it was a time for honest and blunt conversations about their imminent death and a clear explanation of the gospel with an urgent call for them to fully commit to Christ. In each case I stood amazed how not just me, but how others were also led by the Spirit to come and talk with them. It showed me how much God was concerned about each and every soul, using all His means to reach them up until their last breath.
If you are able, prayerfully consider a donation of any size during this difficult time in our world in order to continue the work of going and proclaiming Christ to people in rural communities. Click on the donate button at the top of the page.
If your church, business or family is going through a difficult time, please email us through the website and we will seek the Lord God on your behalf.
Slave of Christ,
President and Evangelist