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Can any good come from COVID?

CMS missionaries Andrew and Margie Newman work at Canon Ndimbirwe Bible College in Uganda. As life changed and ministry opportunities seemed to dry up, they asked, “Can any good come from the Coronavirus?” 

Last year during lockdown we connected well with the two families on either side of our house. There was no COVID in our district so we could enjoy socialising with them. This year, however, the Coronavirus came, and self-isolation realities set in. 

Restricted by Coronavirus 

COVID-19 and the need for self-isolation has limited the work we can do at the Bible college. So, as we prayed for wisdom, we also asked, ‘What now?’  

The need for self-isolation has lifted somewhat, but the students are still not physically attending the Bible college. We have continued to wait and pray, as we long for those connections and opportunities to serve. 

One of our prayers came from a pining to pick up where we left off with our neighbours and enjoy again the strong relationship that began last year with our surrogate family next door. But how to do this safely and in a way that honours the restrictions? 

We’re so encouraged by the response of our neighbours who have been prompted to look deeper into the Bible and faith.” 

Corona Cinema 

Then we thought of The Chosen—the TV series about Jesus and his disciples. Could this be a way of connecting? We tested it out on some trusted colleagues to see if Ugandan culture and language would connect with it. The answer? A resounding yes! And so began the ‘Corona Cinema’.  

Each Sunday night we meet with our neighbours outdoors, on our front verandah. The cinema comes complete with borrowed data-projector, popcorn and hot chocolate. We read a relevant passage in the Bible, pray, then watch an episode of The Chosen. Deep discussion about Jesus follows. It is the highlight of our week. 

The freedom of grace  

We’re so encouraged by the response of our neighbours who have been prompted to look deeper into the Bible and faith.  

“I think I have to begin again, I have to rethink everything,” one family member responded after a movie night. The following week she read a Christian book about grace and reflected to us, “Now I understand grace, I feel so relieved. A burden has lifted from me. More people need to know about this.”  

What a blessing for us to witness the extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus, the life changer, good can come even out of the challenges of Coronavirus.  

PRAY 

Give thanks for this opportunity for the Newmans to encourage and support their neighbours. Ask God to continue to provide open doors and ministry opportunities. Want to keep praying? Why not subscribe to receive the Newman’s prayer letters every month?