May/June: This 2020 has really rocked our world. We know we are not all in the same boat, but rather in the same ocean/challenge while in different water vessels (some boats, some yachts, some cruises, and you get the idea)… Most certainly, COVID-19 has changed our world and our lives as we knew them! And, if we think of our beloved Puerto Rico, since 2017 it has been one non-stop challenge after the other: hurricanes, earthquakes, meteorite, and more recently this virus!
As for this 2020, since our previous letter, think of Holy Week itself. We all had to experience it in quarantine. Having said that, we honestly believe that it has been a time when the Gospel has been shared more widely than ever before through so many outlets. Happy celebrations and sad events are different this year because of this virus. Social distancing has been the mantra everywhere. That, sadly, has translated for many as social isolation, depression, and chaos at so many levels. What for some has been an opportunity to explore new ways to communicate, educate, and worship, for others, deprived of basic needs or social media access, it has meant being cut off from the world around them.
Statistics in different countries have been alarming and in others confusing. It has been hard to tell who is telling the truth and who is manipulating data. What is going on? While many of us have been able to continue our work from home (or ministries, in our case), for others this pandemic has meant the end of their work and hence, their source of income. While many of us have stayed connected via free conference call, WhatsApp, LIVE streaming and other means of communications in different outlets, there are others who are still trying to understand what is going on around them and how to prevent it from affecting their communities.
How many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones or related to loved ones who have died during this pandemic (due to COVID-19 or anything else) and are unable to attend funerals. How many are dreading our elders being infected by this virus or anything that can accelerate the end of their time in our midst. How many are trying to sort out and understand what is going on by going back to the source and studying the Bible and what it says about the end times.
Our assignment since 2018 is to serve Colombia and we continue serving Colombia while living in the USA. These times of COVID-19 changed our plans for trainings and a variety of events. Yet, through the distance, we have continued in close communication with those we serve with, to know their needs, their challenges, and how we can continue to bless them. The changes in our travel schedule have allowed us to focus on the development, review, and translation of the Discipleship through Bible Study materials.
As we communicate with our loved ones in Colombia, we pray for their limitations to go out of their homes for their basic needs. They are restricted by age, gender, ID number, and can only move a kilometer/0.621 mile away from their homes, and only one person at a time from each family. Each country has their own restrictions and guidelines. Please pray with us that this COVID-19 crisis will end soon so that everyone around the world can live beyond COVID-19. Yes, beyond COVID-19…
Life will not go back to normal. Everything beyond COVID-19 will be different. If we go back to our old ways, we have learned nothing! If our churches continue with the established formats and forget the effective ways devised to reach out to the community through this crisis, we have learned nothing! If we stop caring for our families and for God’s creation once the crisis subsides, we have learned nothing!
These are tough times for everybody. Faith-based ministries like ours are being impacted by the giving of the faithful that are financially affected by this crisis. How will we continue our ministries beyond COVID-19? You can still give until May 30th toward the mission society’s general funds during our 206th anniversary month, which is May 21st! Then starting on June 1st, you will have the opportunity to bless us further as the Lord leads and provides through the matching Monthly Recurring Giving page at www.internationalministries.org. Details will be announced after the May giving for the general fund ends. You can also call 610-768-2323 for everything about your offerings.
Yes, life and ministry with your BGs through ABFMS continues beyond COVID-19. We are grateful to those who have remained faithful throughout this pandemic and thank you in advance your ongoing faithfulness to the Lord inching us closer to 100% (currently at 85%) at: https://portal.internationalministries.org/global-servant-support We all need God’s blessings through you to serve the indigenous groups in Colombia and migrants from Venezuela walking through Colombia. The Wayuu in The Guajira are like our siblings in West Virginia, the last ones to be impacted by the virus. But now they too are part of the numbers. The ministry to bless migrants from Venezuela in Cúcuta has expanded to sewing plastic protective gear for COVID-19 patients. The seminary in Cali (like many in the USA) moved their classes to the online format. These ministries are vital and we are committed to staying connected and serving them.
We pray that as we move beyond COVID-19, and past our personal fasting from FB since Resurrection Sunday and until Pentecost, we will all have taken time to reflect and listen to what the Lord is saying to us, individually and collectively. In the WhatsApp chat in which we’ve participated the most, we studied Matthew 24 and 25. These chapters encourage us to persevere and to continue serving with joy and a new understanding of the hope we have in Christ to be shared with the ones for whom He is still delaying His return. In a Zoom call with the youth from Puerto Rico, we affirmed the task our Lord has left to all who recognize Him as Lord and Savior – “Be a disciple of Jesus, be the one to disciple others in the harvest with the spiritual and the physical bread!” Can we count on your ongoing support through prayer, communications, and ongoing offerings beyond COVID-19?
It is 206 years of ministry for our mission society and almost 20 years for your BGs. The Lord has been faithful and has sustained us in the joyful times and the less joyful times. We know that through His people He will continue sustaining us in His mission to bless our neighbors, sharing His Good News, His Love and Acts in Action.
Stretching further toward the goal “beyond COVID-19”,
your BGs Et Al
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