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The Great Cities Mission staff meets via Zoom with Brazilian church leaders.
The Great Cities Mission staff meets via Zoom with Brazilian church leaders. | Photo via Facebook.com

Amid COVID-19, missionaries face incredible stress, but we can help

Missionaries are generally hearty and resilient. They are flexible, adaptable and driven by a sacred mission.  But as this pandemic grinds on, so do their levels of pressure and tension.

Many missionaries live in areas where medical care is inadequate. Hospitals are overcrowded, lack supplies and may not have access to ventilators. Borders and airports are closed or have limited access. 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

— 1 Peter 5:7, New International Version

Their small apartments are not only their homes but also their schools, their church offices and, often, their quarantine quarters. Many countries have had such deep restrictions that children have not been allowed outdoors. Adults can only leave their homes two to three times a week for basic necessities. 

Missionaries who have been creative and tenacious in finding ways to care for their church members have inspired me. They quickly moved their worship services, children’s classes and Bible studies online. They designed ways to safely baptize people and provide food when unemployment rates spiraled. For members without internet access, they printed Bible lessons and delivered them weekly. 

I know a missionary couple who get up at 3 every morning so they can get on their knees and ask God to guide them. 

Becky Holton

Becky Holton

But they are getting tired.

These missionaries are driven by a divine calling, but the pace has been exhausting. They carry tremendous burdens of care for their church family. Some have lost their financial support; some fear they will. Many feel distant and disconnected from their sending churches.

 There are two things we can do:

First, send a missionary a message of encouragement. They really don’t need to hear about problems, church challenges or national unrest. But they do need to know they are loved and not forgotten.

Second, as they live and work on the front lines, they need people who will battle in prayer for them. I wonder what would happen if we all fell to our knees and asked God to help them.

BECKY HOLTON is director of missionary care for Great Cities Missions. She and her husband, Kerry, live in Loveland, Colo.

Filed under: encourage exhausted In the Word missionaries Opinion

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