‘People of prayer’ and ‘Dependent on God’ are two of SIM’s core values and we are thankful for local churches who are pivotal partners for our mission workers, our ministries and vision to see each community able to respond to the gospel.
When COVID-19 lockdown restrictions prevented people meeting together in large gatherings, many prayer groups rose to the occasion by turning to technology to engage with each other and remain united in prayer – at a distance.
Many members of the Bangor Prayer Group are elderly and some are shielding, but they continued to pray for the work of SIM in their own homes.
“I try to keep in touch with them each week by posting out the various prayer newsletters and email correspondence I receive,” says leader David Thompson. “I also email information about COVID-19 from SIM and the messages from SIM International Director Joshua Bogunjoko. They enjoy his weekly devotionals and look forward to receiving them as these have been a great encouragement to them as they remain shut in.”
Other groups came together via video calling platforms to pray for SIM UK mission workers, as Andrew Mackie, of the Suffolk Prayer Group, explains: “One benefit of meeting by Zoom is that we have ready access to the experience and the ‘hot off the press’ news of missionaries stranded in the UK by lockdowns here and in the countries they serve.
“Another is that since those attending the meeting are already using their PCs or Macs, it’s easy to share visuals etc. on the spur of the moment, rather than having to ensure that the appropriate IT is attached to a television and that everyone is seated so that they can see the one screen in the room.
“One of our members is on the leadership team for a country where almost all of those serving had to leave early in the pandemic. We meet on a Friday afternoon and finish in time to allow that member of our group to make a cup of tea before their second catch-up meeting of the day with a team whose passport countries span 23 time zones.
“Therefore, even when UK regulations allow the group to meet face-to-face again, we will probably continue with Zoom at least until the regulations in that country allow the team to return. And we may continue longer by Zoom as we think of the good we are doing to God’s creation by not all getting in our cars to travel to our host’s house.
“However, the one downside of Zoom meetings is that we haven’t yet found a way to share the fellowship of all appreciating the same cakes and biscuits at our meeting!”
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
By Kerry Allan
- Give thanks that church fellowship transcends isolation and that prayer knows no boundary, quarantine or confinement.
- Praise God prayer group members used alternative methods to fulfil the charge of Hebrews 10:24-5 when lockdown restrictions were in place.
- Pray for wisdom as church leaders look forward to reuniting in fellowship as they consider reopening for public worship.