A P R O M I S E O F H O P E
I first heard about the COVID-19 in late January when I was in Ghana. Back then it wasn’t even known as COVID-19 yet. It was just a coronavirus that originated in China. People were dying and pretty soon they locked down the entire city of Wuhan where it all started. This seemed to be getting serious.
I didn’t think too much of it, though. This virus will be contained in Asia, I thought. I was in southern China when SARS broke out. I was in Western Africa when Ebola broke out. Terrible diseases, where I had to make tough decisions with both outbreaks. With SARS, when I was pastoring in Vancouver, we had to cancel services, because someone came back from HK and didn’t quarantine and went to church. With Ebola, I had to cancel a number of STM trips. It will be okay. I came back to Canada. Things seemed normal.
Then cases started showing up in Canada. Nothing too unusual: SARS made it to Canada too and even though people died, it was contained. But then things started blowing up quickly. My cousin lives in the Lombardy region of Italy. Everything was locked down. Then an NBA player was tested positive and the NBA was suspended; then the NHL, then essentially every sports league around the world and even the Olympics have been postponed.
Terms like social distancing, flattening the curve, PPE (personal protection equipment) became part of our language. We were told to stay home and go out only for the essentials like groceries and medication. Never before have I seen entire countries locked down all at the same time. Never before have I seen so many cities in states of emergencies. Never before have I seen so many people lose their jobs at the same time. Never before have I seen complete economies lose 70, 80, 90 per cent of their work force. Never before I have experienced a stock market crash so suddenly. People have lost their life savings, jobs, and loved ones. Never before has there been so many online church services or online anything as people started working from home. Never before has there been so many school closures and online learning became the norm. This virus has gripped this world and even how we meet our friends and family. Everything had to be done virtually now. We cannot even meet up physically with our families and loved ones. At CIM Canada, I had to make the tough decision to cancel all our summer STM trips.
As I am writing this update, there have been over 1.9 million cases confirmed worldwide with close to 124,000 deaths. These numbers grow hourly and undoubtedly the numbers are probably even higher as some places included many of the locations where CIM is ministering to are remote and there has not been much testing there. This breaks my heart.
At CIM our mandate is still to share the gospel cross-culturally especially during this pandemic. Even though we have postponed all STM trips this summer and our partners in Africa and Ukraine have cancelled church services and village school classes based upon recommendations from local and national authorities, the love of Jesus Christ needs to be spread.
Right now, I believe that prayer is of utmost importance.
All of us can pray for those affected by COVID-19 and that everyone, including villagers in rural villages in Ghana and Togo, and those in Roma settlements in Eastern Europe will turn to the Lord and get to know Him in a new and personal way.
Some of the pastors and church planters across Togo, Ghana and Ukraine that CIM supports through your generous donations.
Please also consider giving financially to CIM as our ministries overseas including the wages of church planters and village school teachers need to continue. They, too, have families they need to take care of.
Janice Wong, our international worker in Ghana, is safe in Nyankpala, Ghana where she is staying at the Evangelical Church of Ghana Conference Centre. Her ministry with the children there has been cancelled for the time being but she did have the chance to share with them about Co-vid 19 and the importance of hand washing.
The weeks and months ahead, according to experts and authorities will be tough. There will be many more confirmed cases and deaths. We need to listen to our local authorities and to continue to practice social distancing, and thank all those on the front lines.
But more importantly, we need to reassess our relationship and commitment to Jesus Christ. As death is happening all around us, this month, we remember the death of Christ on the cross. He died for our sins on Good Friday, but on Easter Sunday, He rose again.
Jesus Christ conquered death and because of that, we have hope.
Because of that, CIM exists and that is why we continue to share this Good News.
We are bombarded every hour with news and information (some true, some not) about COVID-19. And while it is important to know the facts, it is more important to listen to God’s voice. In closing, I would like to quote God’s voice through the Scriptures; words of comfort that we need to hold on to during these very tough times.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
If you would like more information about our organization, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website (www.cimcanada.org).
God bless and stay safe.
Rev. Isaac Quan
Executive Director of CIM Canada
If you feel led to contribute to the ministries at CIM Canada financially, please click the button below:
1. General Fund – for general and administrative, such as staff salaries
2. Designated Fund – for specific ministries in different field locations as designated (cannot be transferred between funds)
*All financial figures are in Canadian dollars and rounded to the nearest dollar
Pray with us:
- Pray for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pray for healing and protection, and that people will turn to the Lord in this crisis. Pray for wisdom for CIM Canada as we seek the Lord’s guidance as to when we should start sending teams again.
- Pray for Joanne Yen, who is our new Administrative Assistant as of April. We thank Jessica On for her dedication to this role over the last few years.
- Pray that more donors will give financially to CIM Canada in 2020 to support our cross-cultural missions in Ghana, Togo, and Eastern Europe.
- Pray for the health and safety of Janice Wong as she serves in Nyankpala, Ghana.