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The gospel is not bound by COVID

CMS workers Warwick & Caroline serve at a church in the Middle East. Despite lockdowns and restrictions, they are convinced that the gospel cannot be stopped.  

“But God’s word is not chained. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” 2 Timothy 2:9, 10 

As we begin our second year with COVID restrictions in place we are finding it more and more important to remember the words that Paul wrote to Timothy in his second letter: despite his chains, the gospel is not bound.  

Learning perspective 

Over the past year, we and many of those around us have felt at times as though COVID-19 was a great anchor on gospel momentum, stopping the gospel dead in its tracks. Yes, we have some restrictions in our day-to-day life, but they are nothing compared to being imprisoned. A bit of perspective has been helpful. 

It was so encouraging, when we were back in Sydney at the start of the year, to gather online at CMS Summer School with fellow gospel workers and be encouraged and refocused by Paul’s words. These words had a profound effect on our hearts and energy. They’ve caused us both to think about how we can be creative when it comes to maximising the opportunities God keeps giving us in the midst of the health restrictions that are in place.  

Growth despite restrictions 

Caroline and her ESL team have been contacting women who they haven’t seen online for a few weeks, encouraging them to come back. And come back they have. Whenever the team calls, the number of women joining them grows. They’ve also been trying out new ideas and approaches for how to run their ESL ministry and it’s working. God is good.  

COVID hasn’t impacted our ability to train ministry apprentices. Our time back in Australia filled Warwick with numerous ideas about how we can ramp up our ministry apprenticeship program. This has seen him head to the church elders and ask for funding for three extra apprentices from September. He’s now looking for able men and women who are in the Middle East, or are willing to come here, to be trained in ministry. Please pray that we can identify them soon. 

Our church was able to meet in person from 27 November for about 10 weeks, but now is meeting only online. We expect that this will continue for some months at least. Our team has really upped their game to try and make the online church experience as engaging as possible. 

We are so thankful for the gospel opportunities God continues to provide, even during a pandemic, and for his resounding assurance that nothing can halt his good message of salvation. 

PRAY 

Give thanks for God’s great mercy and for the strengthening of Warwick and Caroline throughout this challenging time. To keep up with their ministry in the Middle East contact CMS NSW & ACT.