A word from CEO John Cook – As the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues to ramp up, I have watched our national pastors step up in ways that so impress me. Men who have given their hearts in service to shepherd God’s people are helping them find spiritual and physical shelter in the time of this COVID-19 storm.
Just before the COVID-19 took over Iraq, shuttering business, refugee camps and streets, I was talking with one of our pastors, pictured here with me, who said, “It is not good for a Christian who is not in some way going through testing.” Interesting words from this man, himself a refugee and war veteran. Just a few days later, Dee and I were winding our way home through the Middle East on emergency flights as borders closed behind us.
As we said a tearful goodby at the airport, Fadi, our young ministry staff manager said, “Don’t worry Pastor, go back and share with everyone, that we have this. This is our time to care for the people.” I was so touched. Since that afternoon, our ministry teams have been praying and encouraging those who are overwhelmed with fear, isolation, dread, and uncertainty for what is taking place. Imagine if you as a refugee were leading your family through yet another crisis, how important it would be to have someone, anyone, say “We’re with you! God is with you! You are not alone! We also have some food for your family.”
Our teams are seen in the eyes of the government as “First Responders” because of the massive need for food. As the result of your continued financial support, they’ve been delivering food and the love of Christ. Some Muslims have been so impressed with the confidence they see our staff has in the Lord that they are asking questions wanting to know more about this relationship with Christ.
Each Sunday our pastors and churches are online sharing praise music and messages from the Word and many are hearing the Gospel in the privacy of their own homes. In the midst of all this difficulty and disconnection, the Church is that foundation for isolated people who need the encouragement of the Word of God. I think of that old hymn, “How firm a foundation you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word.” It is this confidence in the Lord that is making such a difference in the lives of people!
As our own country begins to open up, I have a renewed sense of the blessings that are coming; deepening friendships and closer marriages. We have the choice to treasure the bonds of relationships we will hold even more dearly.
We may have received orders to shelter in our homes from governments, but God has a special call for us to shelter in His arms, close to his heart and to find the protection and courage we need from him during the storms of life. No matter what challenges you are facing today, my prayer is that you would lean into the Lord and draw from his strength. May the Lord bless you and your family in these days.
I’d like to encourage you from the Word of God in these days of storms: