Creating community at a distance
Posted on: 6th January 2021
CMS missionary Amy Stephens, working in Argentina, writing in September 2020 reflected on how Coronavirus has impacted university ministry in Cordoba.
Normally at this time of the year, the city would be bustling with university students; sadly, due to the virus, that is not happening, and we are in quarantine. Here, in this province, we have around 300-400 new cases each day. Many people, including myself, are feeling lonely and alone. In a ‘virtual discipleship’ workshop, the speaker asked us ‘who’s felt alone this week?’ and all the hands went up. We were challenged to think that, if we are all feeling the same, why aren’t we connecting more? It should push us to create relationships, instead of filling the void with everything except them. The temptation when feeling lonely is to ask, ‘why aren’t other people reaching out to me?’ The opportunity and challenge for us is to see if we can create a little community of lonely people instead.
Difficulty produces opportunity
This time is difficult, but it is also a chance to develop our intimacy with God, because we are never alone if we have him in our lives. I don’t mean that as a throw-away line given as a band-aid to those who are feeling lonely. I mean it sincerely and deeply: how do we LIVE the fact that God is always with us? How do we find comfort in knowing he is always there?
Comfort from God’s presence
This week as I met with Anabelon Zoom to read Romans, she said, “What a privilege it is to be able to close my eyes when I am on the street or wherever I am and talk to God. It’s the most valuable thing we have. It’s a door that he has opened for us and we should be thankful to have a God like that. Reading this chapter (Romans 3) teaches me that we as sinners are unable to determine whether a situation or act is just or unjust, but “Dios es demasiado justo con nosotros” (God is too fair to us). It’s an enormous privilege to be justified by the blood of Jesus.”
Comfort from God’s control
Not only is God always with us, but he is also in complete control of every situation. At church we just finished studying Ruth and it reminded me that God is at work in the details of every circumstance. That is the case too amid this pandemic. Last month the restrictions started to loosen here in Córdoba as we moved to phase 5 of quarantine. This change saw restaurants and cafes reopen, as well as shopping centres and other specialty stores. We were also given permission to exercise outside and to have up to 10 people in our homes on weekends. It was a nice relief to be able to leave the house and to see friends. However, the permission to have visitors at home has now ceased due to the increase of COVID cases.
Again, it may seem that the situation and things are out of control, or that God is not active… but he is! He is establishing his plans and fulfilling his purposes and he calls us to be faithful and to trust him.
During this ongoing crisis, take some time to write an email, message or letter to a CMS missionary,reminding them of God’s presence and control.