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Tension in comfort: Checkpoint Winter 2021

CMS missionaries Nick and Kysha Davies serve in Peru, which has suffered high casualties and near economic disaster from COVID-19. They reflect on the faith of fellow believers, and some uncomfortable blessings, during this time. 

We felt and continue to feel an acute tension between our own experience, and that of our Peruvian brothers and sisters, as (at the time of writing) Coronavirus again spreads through this hardest-hit Latin American country. 

As the pandemic settled over Peru, the churches were stretched to their limits of physical and spiritual support for the vulnerable. A country where the vast majority live day to day, Peru experienced the continent’s strictest lockdown. No work, minimal government support.  

No incomes meant no giving to support the work of pastors. So for months then, and again now, we have received prayer requests by message and in prayer meetings about families fearing death, desperate searches for oxygen and beds, and great sadness. And yet their faith was firm. “We trust in the Lord.” Month after month after month. “The Lord is faithful.” 

The discomfort of blessing 

We experienced all this, however, while locked down in our amply provisioned, middle-class flat, watching the online transmission of our large, well-equipped Peruvian church, and blessed with more Latin American MOCLAM students than any other year, through Zoom. 

The difference stood out as we did our best to electronically sympathise with friends, MOCLAM partners, and networks. But while churches in the outer districts of Lima banded together to set up community soup kitchens and distribute supplies, we pondered Zoom subscription options. In the provinces, money was scraped together to buy radio time to broadcast church to isolated congregation members—we chilled with Netflix.  

Plodding through lockdown  

With no extended family locally, our sphere of concern was just us. We plodded along with ministry over the remainder of 2020. As the lockdown slowly led into relaxation of various restrictions, the tension between our experience and that of our brothers and sisters was inescapable, and uncomfortable. 

What set this tension into even more stark relief was the knowledge that all the teaching we could do was because of the same plodding along that distanced us from our friends’ day-to-day life. We could spend all our time preparing lessons, teaching classes, and helping other groups to begin despite the pandemic. We could do all this because we were merely inconvenienced by COVID-19, while every day Peruvian Christians clung to God in loving service of him, proclaiming Christ and showing his love despite terrible trials. 

As we write this at the beginning of 2021, Peru is potentially facing the same again: the ICUs are full and vaccines are far away. We pray that God would be merciful. Should God permit this wave to continue, we are praying he will keep us thankful—both for his provision in all things, and for the students we will be teaching. We’ll plod along. But above all, we’ll be praying that our Peruvian brothers and sisters would continue being firmly faithful, eyes on Jesus, strengthened by his Spirit through the knowledge of their hope in him.  

PRAY

Pray with Nick and Kysha for Peruvian believers to persevere, and for the nation of Peru as it struggles to contain the virus and recovers from the emotional and social toll of widespread deaths and economic hardship.