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Voice Of The Gospel

Voice Of The Gospel

We realize how COVID-19, and the resulting global culture shock, has increased our awareness that we have “the unchanging Gospel for an ever-changing world.” Our culture shock has served to resharpen our focus and give this unchanging Gospel a louder voice.

The Gospel voice goes forth in Wales, as the Goodmans opened a new church in Barry, Wales, during Christmas 2019, and the congregation continues to meet physically and virtually. In Lithuania, the van Dalens’ congregation has increased to 35 this year, despite COVID. In Spain, the Wittes recently maxed their “social distancing church capacity,” forcing Mark Witte’s wife, Natalie, and kids, to leave the building and (from their car) stream the church service via phone.

In western France, the Gospel voice goes forth, as the Holmes family holds outdoor gatherings for refugees and students. In eastern France, Sebastien Benicourt is working with Chechens (non-militant) to continue French classes online, while his wife, Patti, builds relationships with Turks through teatime and walks.

Here at home, one concern was having no opportunity for our annual fellowship dinners which gross approximately $60,000. This gave way to hosting our first virtual event where we highlighted the need for missionary support, with the goal of raising $75,000. We are pleased to say that goal was met! We also filmed and aired a program to highlight and discuss the CHS School of Nursing in Pakistan. All combined, over 600 people participated in these virtual gatherings.

A bonus to virtual events is that it is easy to invite friends outside our denomination to “attend,” since it’s all online – something unlikely prior to COVID. This could be especially beneficial for the nursing scholarship program and child sponsorship program in Pakistan, both ministries that easily cross denominational lines.

Regarding finances, trusted mission network, Missio Nexus, commissioned a large survey and as a result, predicts a moderate increase in overall giving to ministries. The top category to see an increase in giving was not social needs nor international development but rather, it was evangelism and discipleship. This means COVID has pushed the U.S. Church to a moment of great clarity: COVID may threaten one’s economy and physical health, but a lack of Gospel proclamation impoverishes the heart and threatens the soul.

Looking forward, there is a continuing need to pursue the many unreached peoples of the world with the Gospel. Perhaps the most difficult and resistant people groups are among Muslims: “Fanatical devotion to Mohammedanism is rare except among the poor. But Christianity is not taking its place. There is a great spectre stalking through Egypt, and that is infidelity... the religion of Jesus is nonetheless abhorred.” Those were the words 150 years ago of our first missionary, Mary Galloway Giffin. She was noting that radical Islam was not prevalent in Egypt in her time, but Jesus was still abhorred among Muslims – just as He is today.

To end this summary, consider the leadership of Minnie Alexander who, in 1917, opened a hospital in Pakistan. And now in 2020, the nursing program, which has been the backbone of the hospital for generations, has been officially approved to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In Pakistan, CHS is the only minority people-group hospital (meaning Christian) to offer this degree. Many thanks to Dr. Keith Ackerman, and his wife, Rhoda, for their leadership to usher in this new era and ultimate thanks to the Lord, without whom none of this would be possible. We have produced a high-quality program about this ministry which is available to your church by emailing Shelia Osborne (sheliao@worldwitness.org).

We have the unchanging Gospel in an ever-changing world, and despite the challenges of 2020, the Gospel voice goes forth.

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