As we know, the effects of the pandemic have been felt all over the world, and this is especially true of those members of our church family who live and serve internationally. Closed borders, canceled flights, uncertain food security, and limited access to health care were some of the many challenges that our Global Family faced this year. Others were forced to simply pack up and come home, for the time being, living in limbo while waiting for a chance to get back ‘home’ to the field. This has not been easy on any of them.
But in many cases, the needs of the nationals living where our missionaries serve have been an even weightier burden on their hearts. In stepping up and calling out for help, our Global Family has reported over and over that as they have worked to meet these needs, God has opened doors that some would have never imagined possible.
In Switzerland, the Bartsch family found that with closed borders, their students from Nigeria and India could no longer attend training at their base. So, they opened classrooms in both those countries. Now they were actually able to train more people than they would have if their numbers were limited to the amount their base could hold. Rather than holding them back, God used the pandemic to increase their impact.
In Panama, in the midst of a budding Mennonite Brethren conference, Tony and Sarah Brown saw hundreds of Wounan believers supported through groceries and material needs being met. These believers subsisted by selling handicrafts in the cities, often relying on the tourism sector for their daily bread. With no way to make money, many returned home hungry. But through the efforts of the Brown family to catalyze the North American Church into action, needs were met.
In Hong Kong, Jennifer Muth and her team continue to work with marginalized groups in the city, and her words in a recent newsletter sum it up beautifully: “As we continue to serve where and how we can in this past year we have seen the pioneering of new feeding programs increasing the people that we feed to 8000+ on a monthly basis. We have distributed 34,910 masks and 15,200 sanitizers amongst the most marginalized and at risk. We have pioneered a new outreach ministry to the Cardboard Collecting Grandma's & Grandpa's here in Hong Kong and we have been continually challenged to seek and see God in the midst of trying circumstances because the truth is that He is always moving, always hoping, always perceiving and so we should be too.”
And in Nepal, Jessi Kuehl and her husband Naresh Lawati have been working tirelessly to care for the migrant workers at the brick factory. The church they have started continues to flourish and even in the midst of this pandemic. Their entrepreneurial spirit has initiated new endeavours to provide food and shelter for these workers, and education for their children.
This year’s Mission Sunday also looked different, as we were forced to move everything online. While we didn’t get to taste the flavours of the world as we normally do, there was still a lot of interaction online, and some great connections were made between our church in Langley and our Global Family around the world. Mission Sunday also provided another opportunity to sponsor children through NLCC’s partnership with Kuwasha. And finally, a HUGE blessing was that in 6 hours we were able to raise over $13,000 for the ministries being run by Jessi and Naresh in Nepal. That is AMAZING! Thank you NLCC for leaning in and giving to the work that God is doing around the world. The stories go on and could fill these pages, but hopefully, these few snippets show that God has been at work, even when we have felt stalled by the pandemic.
There is no stopping a God whose heart seeks after the lost, and our prayer as the GO Team is that all of NLCC would continue to step out on mission, knowing that we serve a God who will always make a way. Because, as Jennifer said, God ‘is always moving, always hoping, always perceiving, and so we should be too.’
The GO Team (Kyle Hendy, Annelise Jung, Amy Olson, Joel Olson, Janet Thiessen, Daisy Wang, Naomi Watson)
Global Outeach Page