Experts are predicting a significant rise in mental health issues owing to the profound effects of COVID-19 and social distancing rules that make it difficult for those looking to their local church for help when struggling to cope.
While many people are staying connected through the use of digital technology, Paula Beaton, (Executive Assistant to SIM’s Global Director of Strategic Development and International Personnel Director) has been relying on a tried and tested method of encouraging others and boosting morale during these difficult times.
“Not everyone is on the internet and I’ve reverted to good old-fashioned post to encourage friends from church, who may be elderly and lonely, to give them a sense of knowing they are remembered and cared for,” Paula explains.
When time permits, Paula posts a personal letter, along with SIM UK’s supporters’ magazine Serving Him and even a tea bag (sealed in a pouch) to bring good cheer and ensure no one feels excluded and forgotten.
“I’m grateful to God that he has blessed me with a gift of encouragement as it helps disciple other believers to develop a stronger relationship with Christ,” she says.
“Rather than add the magazine to the recycling bin, I can pass it on for others to enjoy. It also ensures the magazine is sent to someone who will pray for the work of SIM UK, as well as find encouragement in receiving a surprise letter.
“This also applies to other women’s Christian magazines, which my mother passes to me. I then deliver them to a couple of church friends’ letter boxes and they pass them around a small network of folks.
“Reading the stories and articles in these magazines helps us focus on what God is doing in the UK and elsewhere in the world. The news can be so gloomy these days, so having good news to read takes the focus away from ourselves and gives wholesome news to think about and bring to prayer,” adds Paula.
Although a small gesture, Paula’s acts of kindness have had a really big impact. “Sometimes I get a note or card in reply or a phone call to thank me for thinking of the recipient and bringing cheer to their day. This then surprises me in return!” she says.
“People understand that with the need to keep everyone safe from infection, personal visits are less frequent for the time being and whilst we can’t easily meet face to face, sending these surprise letters is something I’ve loved doing over the past few months and hope to continue.”
- For God to comfort all those struggling with anxiety, depression, isolation and loneliness.
- For the Holy Spirit to help us all be encouragers as we reach out to others with the hope found in Jesus Christ.
- Give thanks that a global pandemic cannot hinder faith, compassion and acts of loving service in Christ’s name.
By Kerry Allan