Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold at home and around the world. Many of us have been practicing social distancing in our own homes and neighborhoods, knowing that when we stay home, we can save lives. On a global scale, the pandemic continues to escalate and impact many communities.
During this time of uncertainty, the presence and support of our wider Church is more important than ever.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. -Psalm 130:5-6
Life has changed significantly over the past two weeks.
In the “new normal” of social distancing in response to COVID-19, the Church is working hard to adjust quickly. Most have canceled in-person worship and gatherings, and moved to online platforms as a means of staying connected. Many are finding ways to serve their neighbors and continue critical mission commitments in spite of new challenges. The gifts of the church are needed now more than ever, and our Disciples congregations have shown incredible resilience in adapting to these unprecedented circumstances.
I lift up my eyes to the hills –
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
~Psalm 121: 1-2
No doubt there are those who have concerns and anxiety about the coronavirus as it continues to spread. We may not yet know the extent to which the disease will affect the United States and Canada but with prevention efforts and timely responses, the impact on our congregations and communities can be reduced.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:19-21
Where is your treasure?
In the bank? A locked box? Invested wisely across a diverse portfolio?
Last week, we shared a story about ongoing recovery in Jefferson City, Missouri, where First Christian Church is serving their neighbors and investing in the future of their community. The same storm system that impacted Jefferson City also spawned damaging tornadoes in nearby communities, including Eldon, Missouri. Here is how they weathered the storm. Week of Compassion is grateful to partner with Disciples who respond in times of need, taking care of church members as well as neighbors!
On Wednesday, May 22 of 2019, an EF1 tornado went through the city of Eldon, Missouri. The storm brought winds of 104 miles-per-hour and tracked for 13 miles.
Sometimes, a disaster draws attention to a pre-existing challenge in a community. When that happens, a church may have the opportunity to serve their neighbors in a time of crisis, while also addressing a deeper need. We are grateful that First Christian Church in Jefferson City, Missouri, answered such a call.
In Thailand, a 13-year-old girl arrives at The New Life Center, seeking relief from the cruel conditions that have brought her here. Her life up to this point has been mostly about survival. Here, she meets others like her. Some of them are survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or human trafficking. Some have been forced to work when they wanted to go to school.
What will the future be like when she is empowered to share her gifts with her community and the world?