My heart has gone out to so many missionaries around the world, who are facing hard decisions during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are most hunkered down like the rest of us in various stages of quarantine, but many have had to simply pack up and leave the countries and people they serve.
Whether this closed door to ministry is temporary or permanent, the affects it can have on a single, couple or family are the same.
Sudden loss, while on mission, is painful.
At the moment, there are no winners in this unexpected change of plans.
- Kids are uprooted from schools and friends.
- Adults have lost further chances to face-to-face witness for Christ with their people group.
- Finances take a huge hit, because of plane fares, rents in temporary housing or loss in donations.
- Those they leave behind struggle with their sudden departure too.
- Social ministries are stopped or put on hold.
Guilt can follow you off the field.
As workers try to resettle in a temporary location or back in their home country, there comes an overwhelming sense of guilt at leaving behind those they love.
- Have I hindered my witness by leaving?
- Will they hate Christians now, because we said one thing but did another?
- Will they fall prey to death from COVID-19 or other causes before I return?
- Am I not a strong enough Christian because I left?
Missionaries need support during times of crisis.
Just as you are facing questions, struggles and emotional upheaval during this time of pandemic, our missionaries are as well. You can encourage them with the same things that are encouraging you.
- Dig into Scripture and spend time in prayer. God is the source of all comfort and peace for all of us.
- Share God’s Word of encouragement through emails, calls or letters to the missionaries you know.
- Give financially to your mission organizations to help maintain the support they desperately need right now.
- Offer to help the missionaries who have moved back into your area. Find out their needs and do what you can to help and support.
Closed doors bring new opportunities.
All of us as Christ followers must not lose sight of our mission on this earth.
- When circumstances change, no matter the cause, after a time of rest and renewal, we must open our eyes to see where God is at work and how we can join him.
- Our location may be new, but the lost are still all around us.
- A closed door and new location may mean that I’m to spend some time in retraining or learning new skills for a different season of life.
Closed doors come for many reasons, but God is sovereign over all. Rest in Him.
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven*
Grace and Peace
*Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV).