On March 23, we went into lockdown with each part of the U.K. enforcing their own rules. In Wales, we were only allowed to leave the house for essential food and medicine, to exercise once a day, or if we must go to work.
Chiang Mai, as a whole, has done well in managing COVID-19 with 42 confirmed cases reported, and we see restrictions slightly lifting this month. The pandemic occurred during the annual Thai new year called Songkhran, and everyone honored the government’s requests to stay at home and not go out to celebrate.
“Confinement” to our houses in Spain only permits people to leave their living quarters to go straight to work and back, to the ATM machines, to buy food or medicine, or to walk their dogs close to home. As of today, the police have fined around 400 people across Spain for civil disobedience to their orders as they were unable to prove their reason for running around.
LANCASTER, Pa. — COVID-19 has forced many people to embrace new forms of resilience, often spurring on great creativity. Two Lancaster leaders serving the refugee and immigrant communities have been doing just that: Patience Buckwalter, executive director of the Grape Leaf Empowerment Center, and Krista Martin, Eastern Mennonite Missions’ (EMM) Kingdom Team director.
NAIROBI, Kenya — As the world faced COVID-19, gathering food for Ramadan celebrations was difficult in places like Nairobi. Many workplaces shut down due to COVID-19, and as a result, many Kenyans lost their income, facing significant food insecurity.
Multiplication is the heartbeat of EMM. When my parents were church planters with Eastern Board (now EMM) and Lancaster Conference (now LMC) in northeast Pennsylvania, they were part of a group of church plants that multiplied from Wilkes-Barre Christian Fellowship (out of the Weaverland district of Lancaster Conference.)
Christ’s transforming love compels us. These are the first five words of our mission statement. We recognize that Christ’s love is not static — it is transformative. This means that we expect Christ’s love to change us to be more like Him. This kind of transformation happens when we approach God with a posture of humility, repentance, and openness to what Jesus might have to show us.
Instead of being a great leveler, the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing pre-existing systemic inequalities that benefit some and disadvantage others. How can the Anabaptist family respond?
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra O’Connor once wrote a wise statement about how our well-being is reliant on one another. She wrote: “We don’t accomplish anything in the world alone and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that create something.”
A second chance at love brought Jim and me together after both of our spouses passed away from cancer. At our wedding more than 8 years ago, we served our guests communion and told them that as we started our life together, we would be hand-in-hand as husband and wife in service towards others.
Approximately three months ago, a couple showed up at church, easy to identify because they were obviously strung out on heroin. The man was nodding the entire service. (“Nodding” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as “A semi dreamlike state where an opiate user slips in and out of consciousness.”) He was so high that he kept drifting off, unaware of his surroundings, only to wake up, look around, and nod off again. The woman, on the other hand, was engulfed in the message. As tears rolled down her face, it was obvious that Jesus was speaking to her.
Sometimes as an urban missionary, my task feels like an uphill battle. I envision my work of discipleship like being a pitcher on the mound, and my students are the batters who keep striking out as they fall back into their addictions. I am presented with a new batter every three or four pitches. Over the past 14 years, I can count a small handful of men who are continuing to live transformed lives.
President Gerry Keener takes a few moments to share about where EMM finds itself in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Thank you so much for your continuing encouragement. May God be with you and provide for you during this time.
SALUNGA, Pa. — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many people in nearly every country around the world. Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) workers, serving in 30 different countries, have each experienced this outbreak in different ways. In the midst of the unknown realities that lie ahead, EMM workers live courageously in the hope of Christ.
We are living in the midst of an uncertain time. Likely, you have been following the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak around the world. EMM staff and I have been closely monitoring the situation and praying for all who are being affected by the disease. Our Leadership Team has also taken a number of steps to ensure the well-being of our global workers and domestic staff.