Frontline mission work has never been easy, even under the best of circumstances. But, wow! What a difference five months can make! Travel bans. Closed borders. Visa denials. Stay-at-home orders. Fines or even beatings or imprisonment for quarantine violations. Suspicion and social distancing. Back in mid-January, who could have imagined any of this?
As COVID-19’s first-order effects of sickness and death peak and then decline around the world, its second-order effects of economic paralysis and unemployment are just getting started. And they may be even more dire than the disease itself. In our economically interconnected world, when large Western economies sneeze, economies in the developing world catch pneumonia. Around the globe in places where AFM missionaries are serving, massive populations of vulnerable people living hand-to-mouth now face the very real threat of hunger and starvation. As shortages and price inflation spill over into social and political unrest, the enemy of God’s people will miss no opportunity to raise even more barriers to Christ’s Gospel Commission. “The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will have to do in a terrible crisis under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances” (5T 463).
So, what does this seemingly impossible situation mean for the future of AFM’s work of reaching the unreached? Fundamentally, it changes nothing. Our work has always been impossible, humanly speaking. So heaping on new impossibilities doesn’t change the math. The only relevant factor is the only one that remains unchanged—God’s will and His call to reach the unreached. And whom God calls, He equips. And where God sends, he opens doors. Do you hear His call? Will you receive His equipping? Will you run with us through the open doors?