Refugees and Covid-19

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By Filipe Almeida

 

The Covid-19 situation has caused massive suffering for the whole world. A calamity that has prevented many from working for their livelihood. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable people and those in extreme poverty are those who suffer the most in this situation. Refugees are among the most vulnerable. According to the latest report by UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – the world today has about 25.9 million refugees, which, together with displaced persons and asylum seekers, totals about 70.8 million people. Of this number, around 27 million are children and young people up to 18 years old. These are people living in situations of vulnerability, the vast majority living in developing countries where health facilities have fewer beds and ventilators.

 

According to the article “Refugee and migrant health in the Covid-19 response” in ‘The Lancet’, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, announced on March 7 the temporary suspension of resettlement programme for refugees due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this will cause many to suffer various persecutions and be vulnerable to the Corona virus.

 

Other changes for the displaced have also occurred: According to the article quoted above from ‘The Lancet’, search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean, where more than 16,000 migrants have died since 2015, have been suspended due to the difficulties faced at this time. Before border closings due to Covid-19, few search and rescue operations were carried out. The migrants rescued in this period were taken to the reception center for immediate quarantine.

 

In refugee camps in the Middle East and some European countries (such as in Calais, France), conditions are worrying, as refugees they live in inadequate living conditions and are subject to overcrowding, with the lack of basic sanitation, water and soap. These refugee camps have few doctors and poor access to health information. On April 6, the Greek government reported that two refugee camps in Athens had confirmed cases from Covid-19. These refugee lives that already suffered biopsychosocial consequences due to forced migration, such as mourning, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Ulysses syndrome (referring to loneliness), generalized anxiety, adjustment disorders, cultural shock, among others, now face the global uncertainties of this terrible virus.

 

For refugees living in the city, the so-called urban refugees, access to the basic health system is challenging because there is a language barrier and they face financial difficulties: for many it is because they are in developing countries. It is common to hear testimonies from urban refugees about social isolation and loneliness and with Covid-19 this gets worse. How many may be feeling even more lonely at this time. Many will have taken time to understand the seriousness of the current situation because they are not speaking or communicating well in the language of the country in which they live. How many others will have delays with respect to decisions on legal status or not, as well as other types of legal and administrative services? How sad to think that refugees, along with other vulnerable groups, are at enormous risk these days.

 

However, on the other hand, it is possible to see practical examples of encouraging solidarity in favor of refugees in Covid-19 times, such as:

 

  • A hotel in Madrid received Venezuelan refugees and homeless people to stay in the quarantine period;
  • World Vision in Chile provided shelter for Venezuelan refugee families who had dengue (tropical disease), providing shelter and food for families to be safe in this time;
  • A group of Scouts in Geneva – Switzerland, are organizing online solidarity movements for refugees.

 

Other encouraging examples are refugees who are fighting the Corona virus. Here are some brief reports:

 

  • In Iran, refugee nurse Moheyman is working 12-hour shifts putting his skills into the fight against Covid-19;
  • Hassan, a Syrian refugee who has lived in London for some years, said it is “an honor, after training, to be part of an army that with cleaning products disinfect the wards of Covid-19”, and adds: “London has been my home since we left Syria and the least I can do is ensure that my neighbors and the incredible NHS team are safe and sound”;
  • Syrian children in Spain made drawings and wrote messages of thanks and encouragement to hospital health teams;

 

In this way, it is possible to see refugees – both children and adults – fighting Covid-19, including some on the front line. It is these refugees, who have been received in a dignified and fair manner, who are cooperating in the countries where they live with professionalism and empathy. Many of these refugees can teach civil society to be resilient in these times!

 

Among the various verses found in the Bible regarding the duty to welcome the stranger, it is possible to find in Jesus’ words very direct teaching:

 

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-36 New International Version (NIV)

 

In light of this biblical passage, what can we do for refugees in the time of Covid-19? In case you know refugees or have them as neighbors. Here are some suggestions:

 

– Connect refugee families with Shirley and Filipe and they will be able to support you in developing relationships and provide them with support (even if it is online);

 

– Pray with the refugee over the phone, if you feel like it, and demonstrate in a natural way that God is our strength and refuge (Psalm 46.1).

 

Another practical response to  Refugees and Covid-19 is to pray. Here are some prayer requests:

 

– For the holistic health of refugees;

– For the provision of shelter and food;

– For governments to have a fair response that shows carewith refugees;

– For foundations, organizations and churches that develop projects with refugees;

– For those living in refugee camps and for health teams and other areas on the front lines;

– So that even if online, people are awakened to develop friendships with refugees and in this way can encourage them;

– So that at this time, many refugees can receive through Christians a message of hope from the Father who gives strength and is the true refuge!

 

 

There are many risks faced by everyone in the face of Covid-19, but in this crisis, the mission of serving refugees and showing the Father’s love is constant! For in the crisis, practice in social causes and service to others must still continue! What reflections like this motivate everyone to move (even if online), for the most vulnerable. Reflections like this, encourage people to reinvent themselves in serving the King of kings, and as part of His kingdom and what He is doing in the world!

 

Filipe Almeida

 

On- line References

 

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30791-1/fulltext

 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059602

 

https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2020/4/5e79e2410/live-blog-refugees-covid-19-crisis.html

 

https://www.acnur.org/portugues/2020/03/31/acesso-aos-servicos-de-saude-e-essencial-para-conter-a-covid-19-e-salvar-vidas-de-refugiados/

 

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/greece-quarantines-second-migrant-camp-after-covid-19-case-confirmed/

 

Jesus and his transforming power

posted in: Bible, Filipe Almeida 0

By Filipe Almeida

 

Biblical texts: John 4. 1-42; Luke 8. 43 – 48.

 

In several passages of the Bible, we find Jesus facing people on the margins of society. When Jesus found vulnerable people and people excluded from the society, he demonstrated his power with integral healing. He always looked at the people he met in a relational and holistic way.

 

The basic biblical texts for this reflection show how Jesus fully demonstrated his power to women who were excluded for social reasons. And I believe that because they were women, this exclusion process was more intense.

 

The first example of one of these encounters with Jesus is with the Samaritan woman. We know that the Jews did not relate to the Samaratines and put them on the margins of society and that is why they did not pass through Samaria. When they needed to go to a city whose route was on the way to Samaria, they made the journey if I am not mistaken by the Jordan River so they wouldn’t have to step into Samaria.

 

Jesus at all times broke the established patterns so that the kingdom of God was properly and fairly signaled. In this way, Jesus passed through Samaria and there he met a Samaritan woman. Jesus meets a woman who, due to being a woman, would already face barriers and challenges, but in the case of this woman, social oppression was more serious. In addition to being a woman and Samaritan, she had already had five marriages and the man she lived with at the time was not her husband, that is, this woman was an excluded by the excluded people.

 

Through sincere dialogue, at a time when Jesus shared life, this woman recognizes the most transformative message that anyone can receive. She believes in Jesus as the Messiah and receives the water of life in such a significant place.

 

This same woman is unable to contain herself and shares with all her community that she had met Christ. This woman was an unlikely person to signal something important, but her life is transformed by Jesus and someone “unlikely” signals Jesus’ power to an entire community. (John 4. verses. 29, 30 and 39).

 

This passage makes me think of how Christ does the same with us today. He did the same in my life! He transformed me (and changes me every day), and he uses someone like me to share Christ in a community too.

 

Another example of a transformative encounter with Jesus, was with the woman with blood flow. In this passage we have a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She had spent everything she had with the doctors, who could not cure her. As a woman, like the Samaritan woman, she already suffered many restrictions. In addition, she, according to the Law, was unclean and anyone who touched her or touched something she had touched was made temporarily unclean. For this reason, she did not participate in temple activities and was probably socially despised.

 

After she touched Jesus she left the crowd so that no one would notice her.  After being healed she had to come back because of Jesus’ question (“who touched me?” – Luke 8 verse 47). For this woman to have come close to Jesus was very difficult, to have exposed herself in this way was her last hope of being healed and she risked disappointment. She went to Jesus and did it. What an example this woman gives us to reach out to Jesus and ask for his help after we don’t know what else to do or maybe after trying everything by our own strength.

 

She was not healed because she touched Jesus, but because she had faith. The woman knew that she would not go unnoticed by Jesus, who had the power to heal her, just because He knew all things.

 

I believe it was important for this women not to go unnoticed so everyone knew that she no longer needed to be excluded from society. Once again this woman proved to be courageous and once again she demonstrated faith in Jesus. At that time, the whole society, including hypocritical leaders, could understand that this woman could start her life in society again.

 

The healing that Jesus gave to that woman went beyond physical, but it was also spiritual and social as Jesus repositioned her in front of everyone. I believe it is also an emotional cure, because a woman excluded as she was 12 years ago, should be in deep sadness and from that day her emotional could have a process of restoration.

 

Jesus demonstrated his healing and transformation directly in the lives of two women in different ways. Jesus cared for the excluded from the excluded. Jesus used the lives of these women to let communities know about his kingdom, his love and salvation. How can we apply this today in our lives and from there apply it so that lives may know the transforming power of Jesus through our lives?

 

Filipe Almeida

Taking God’s Word Seriously

Linda talked in her recent preach about the need for the church to draw closer to God at this time.  Some of us are in a position where we have more time on our hands and it occurs to me that this is a wonderful opportunity to get to know God’s word better!

The Bible is sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), a lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105), and endures for ever (Isaiah 40:8)  We are encouraged to use it for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training (2 Timothy 3:16), to listen to the word of God and to obey it (Luke 11:28)  and to meditate on it day and night.(Psalm 1:2).

When I visit families in Luton who I hope to support and encourage I often reach for a Bible text or story and find myself not quite remembering where it is or struggling with the details.  Of course, we can also always ‘google it’ but it’s not the same as having the word at our fingertips.  So, let’s use this time to get into the Bible!

If you enjoy discussing things, then I recommend doing this with friends.  In addition, I, like many people, can be very lazy when it comes to reading the Bible so doing it this way has also helped to keep me accountable!

I have two plans that I am finding really helpful.  One of them involves following daily online Scripture Union notes.  My friend and I read the Bible passage together over WhatsApp and then use the questions and reflections as a basis for discussion and prayer.

The other one is a plan from the online Bible app.  There are a number of plans available and the one we have chosen involves Francis Chan videos based on the book of James (its brilliant, short and punchy and very challenging!)  We do this in our own time and are invited to record our thoughts which are sent as a message to the other person.  If a day gets missed neither of us will be judgmental about it but it certainly helps me to get into a good routine.

Of course, there are many other ways to get into the word together and as individuals.

  • Choosing a book to read and study with a friend or as an individual – Nehemiah, Esther, Philippians, I John for example.
  • Meditating on a Psalm or an individual verse
  • Memorising some verses. I once tried to learn the amazing prayer at the end of Ephesians 3 (verses 14-21)- not very successfully!

I would also encourage people to look at the Bible as a whole.  There is so much value from seeing the whole story, not just focussing on the ‘nice bits’ and seeing how Jesus is reflected throughout the Old Testament as well as the New.

Today one of my dear Muslim friends sent me a ‘Surah’ from the Quran that she hoped would encourage me during my time in isolation.  I responded by thanking her and sending her a couple of verses from Scripture which she emphatically agreed with!  I hope and pray that these words will be light and life giving to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Prayer Guide

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– Introduction –

 

What comes to mind when you think of Easter? Most people associate this holiday with lots of chocolate and bunnies. But as Christians, we know that this season in the year is a time to reflect upon the most significant event in all of human history, namely the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that happened 2,000 years ago.

This booklet is designed as a way of praying everyday as you reflect upon the Passion story, from the Jews celebrating the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, to these same Jews crucifying him on a cross a week later.

We have structured each day in an easy-to-read format with three parts. First, read the passage from the gospel of Mark. Then, read through the short reflection. Finally, we have included some prayer points at the end to help guide your prayers.

We think that because many of you might be spending this year’s Easter season at home, perhaps being isolated, that this might be a great way of coming together as a church body through prayer.

Our prayer is that this might lead you into a deeper communion with God as you prayerfully reflect upon what Jesus has done for you.

 

 

 

> Sunday 5th April <

 

Read Mark 11:1-26

Palm Sunday. This was a day that marked the beginning of the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross, but back then, this was a day of celebration for the people of Israel. As the people were spreading their cloaks and palm branches on the road, they cried out – “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:5). The people of Israel had been living under the tyranny of Caesar and the Roman empire for a long time now, and here comes a man whom they believed would put an end to all of this – Someone who could lead them and rule over them as a stronger king. But, Jesus rides in on a colt. He had no chariot, no sword, no armies. Jesus comes to the people humbly – “See your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey” (Matthew 21:5). The people were correct that Jesus came to be king and put an end to their misery, but not in the way that they had expected. Jesus’ way of ruling over them would be a way of humility and love. A way of serving, that put others before themselves. This was counter-cultural and against people’s very nature to do. As you begin reflecting on this week, start by taking the posture that Jesus took as a humble servant. Look out for opportunities where you can live like Jesus, showing his love and grace to others – living a life that is counter-cultural, not what people expect.

 

> Monday 6th April <

 

Read Mark 11:27-12:12

Have you ever had that feeling when maybe your birthday is coming up and you know that people are planning something for you? Or perhaps you’re one of those who knows what you’re getting for Christmas and it’s just not going to be a surprise? Well, Jesus had a similar feeling. The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders were planning something behind Jesus’ back. They would meet in huddles regularly and whisper about what they were going to do. But Jesus knew about this, and it wasn’t good. In fact, these people were planning on killing him. This was two days after his triumphal entry, Jesus was walking in the temple courts – the day after he emptied the place out with the moneychangers. He saw them and spoke a parable to them. You know, one of those riddles that always confused Jesus’ listeners? But here, the teachers of the law knew exactly what this parable meant and that it was about them. Though this made them angry, they knew that the crowds were still in high favour for Jesus, and so they had to escape. Jesus did not let his enemies get in the way and distract him from his task. He was focused. Jesus knew that his time was short and couldn’t afford getting in the way of God’s plans. In the same way, let’s think about what God has called us to do. God has got a plan for every one of our lives, and so let’s not get distracted by the things of the world or what people might say about us behind our backs, but be focused on the mission at hand, just as Jesus was. Remember, at the end of the day, our life is short and how we live it carries eternal consequences.

 


 

> Tuesday 7th April <

 

Read Mark 12:13-44

Remember those days in school (you don’t have to count!), did you ever notice or get jealous of those really intelligent ones in the class, the ones who just knew every answer to every question? You know who you are if you were one of those. Well, in today’s reading, these teachers of the law were just like them. But instead of getting everything right, they just got everything wrong. And by the way, you DIDN’T correct these people. They knew it all. Tell them your favourite Bible verse and they would tell you exactly where it is found in the Bible. But Jesus, when confronted by these teachers, answered their questions in a way that made them think that they’d got it all wrong. And it was true. These people had got it all wrong. In fact, from age 12, Jesus was already in the temple courts listening, asking questions and answering their questions (Luke 2:46-47). Jesus knew that these people had missed something that was staring right at them. But, there was one teacher who came to Jesus and actually got his theology spot on. He knew something that all of these other teachers had completely missed, that to love God and to love others is “more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” He saw that behind all of the ceremonial rituals that they were only a temporary solution and that there was something deeper at play within all of this – that to love was greater than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6) – This one knew his Bible. As Christians, we can be like these teachers of the law without realising it sometimes. We can get so used to going to church on a Sunday, singing songs, and if a non-Christian were to hear us praying, might need a dictionary to undertsand some of our words. And this can happen so gradual in our lives, where our passion for God can start to become cold and shallow. And so, let’s remember, like this one teacher who approached Jesus, to recognise that love is more important than our traditions and rituals, and that there is something far greater at play.

 

 

 

> Wednesday 8th April <

 

Read Mark 13:1-14:11

Have you ever looked at something that has just left you awestruck? Perhaps you’re one like me to take great delight in God’s creation, or maybe you’ve visited a famous landmark that left in complete silence, or you might have felt like this looking at the score to your football team being defeated. I can imagine that when the disciples were overlooking all of these buildings in Jerusalem, that they were in awe, being overcome by their beauty. I mean, they had a spectacular view of the incredible temple that Solomon had built. But, when they expressed their feelings to Jesus about this, rather bluntly he said to them, “well, they’re not going to last are they?” (v.2 paraphrased). Wow! What a way to ruin the moment. If Jesus were to do a Strengths test, he wouldn’t have ‘Optimistic’ at the top. But, Jesus was looking ahead. He used this opportunity to tell his close followers about future events that would happen. One of them being about the destruction of the temple, which eventually gets destroyed in 70 A.D. Jesus was preparing his disciples for an extremely difficult time that would come. He wasn’t being pessimistic, but realistic. For Christians living 2,000 years later, we still face times of suffering. Jesus did not promise that we would have an easy life, but that suffering is an inevitable part of it. God, however, is not one to leave us alone. In fact, he comforts and encourages his people. One way he does this is to remind us about his coming return, that Jesus will come back one day and restore all things (Acts 3:21). As Christians, we can take great comfort in this promise, that our home is in Heaven where there will be no suffering. But in the meantime, let’s be ready for Christ’s return. This means not to give up, but to keep persevering in faith. It means being ready to meet Christ. Why don’t you take a moment now to ask yourself – If Christ came back today, would I be ready?

 

 

 

> Thursday 9th April <

 

Read Mark 14:12-72

“Abba, Father” (v.36). I want to focus in on this verse today, because I believe it gives God’s people a real comfort in a time of great distreess in our world. As I’m sure all of you are aware about the current COVID-19 outbreak, that fear is gripping the nation and the world. This can actually be very telling about what we proffess to believe and what we live out, with our real feelings being forced to the surface. Now, if you heard Elizabeth’s sermon on the church website this past Sunday, you will remember that she preached from John 15 about the True Vine. She spoke about what God might be doing in the church right now with this global pandemic, whereby God is causing the church to be crushed so that he might build us up. In John 15, Jesus said that there will be seasons in our life where we will be pruned, or rather, crushed for his purposes. But, in order to know what pruning looks like, we need to know the gardener who prunes us, namely the Father. And I believe this passage today speaks about this. Jesus was crushed to the point where “[his] soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Although Jesus was going through much pain throughout this intense time of trial, he entrusted himself into the loving hands of his father. When we get crushed, we know that Jesus was crushed just like us. Jesus knew to the extent of death what it was like to be crushed, yet in that moment he turned to his Father. He knew that he could go to him about anything, no matter how difficult it might seem. As Christians living in this season of turmoil, let’s remember that we have a loving Father who is bigger than any virus or disease that might come our way. Let’s not fear but be a people of hope and peace. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. ” (Hebrews 10:23).

 

> Friday 10th April <

 

Read Mark 15:1-41

I’m sure we all know this day as Good Friday! You’ve probably grown up calling it that, maybe without even thinking about it. But why do we call it ‘Good’ Friday when it was the day that Jesus died? It seems ironic doesn’t it? Well, the word ‘Good’ actually comes from an old English meaning of it –‘Pious, holy’. So in actuality, we’re calling it ‘Holy’ Friday which now seems more fitting. This day was a holy day. It was the day when Jesus finished his task on earth, whereby he took on the judgement of our sin and died in our place. How humiliating this death was though. He was mocked by the people, had a crown of thorns put on his head and hung on a wooden cross, naked for all to see. I can’t imagine what it was like and I don’t think anyone can. This was a death like no other. “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last” (v.37). And, who was there to witness this? A handful of women and a centurion man. None of the 12 disciples were there, even though they had followed him around for three whole years. In fact, all of them had said how they would not fall away or disown him, yet here they had all lost hope and given up. As you reflect on this day, try and imagine yourself there in this story. Put yourself in the shoes of those who were there. I think so often, we can skip over this part in the story and jump to the resurrection too quickly. But, Jesus had a very real death and as Christians, it is important to remember this. Jesus, in fact, gave us a way of remembering his death. We’re told to eat bread and drink wine as a symbol of his body and blood. Maybe you might want to do this now or some time today. Turn off any distractions around you and be still, reflecting on the death of Jesus Christ who died in your place.

Prayer Points:

·        Thank God for his death on the cross, through which we can inherit eternal life through his blood.

·        Thank God that even though we don’t always follow him that he still pursues us.

 

> Saturday 11th April <

 

Read Mark 15:42-16:19

“He has risen! He is not here.” Hallelujah! Jesus has risen. Today’s reading brings us to the end of this holy week, where Jesus has risen from the grave. Jesus has defeated death and sin has been conquered once and for all. Because of this, we can confidently say: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Just like Jesus had risen from the dead, so his chosen people have risen from death to life and will rise again in Heaven. Romans 6:5 says, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” This was a very real, historical event, where Jesus rose from the dead and is now very much alive, sitting at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 12:2). Why don’t you spend this day celebrating the resurrection of Christ and what has been achieved for you. – “That even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 2:5).

Prayer Points:

·        Thank God that death could not contain him.

·        Thank God that you are now a holy one in Christ if you have put your trust in him.

 

 

 

> Sunday 12th April <

 

Happy Easter! I’m thinking that your morning routine of going to church has most likely been disrupted, but be assured that you don’t need to go to a church building to still celebrate this day. Perhaps you might want to be creative in how you celebrate with others. I know of many who are connecting with people through social media and online gatherings to worship God. Or, perhaps you might want to listen to some worship music on YouTube. These moments remind me that even if Christians cannot meet in a church building, this does not stop what God wants to do in his church. As you go about today celebrating Easter, you might be hiding chocolate eggs in the garden, or you might be looking forward to devouring that chocolate bunny. But, remember that there was no bunny there at Jesus’ tomb (as far as I’m aware). Spend this day reflecting on this past week for everything that Jesus did for you. And when today’s over, let’s not forget celebrating the truth of what God has done for us and continues to do.

Prayer Points:

·        Thank God for sending Jesus to die for us so that we might be restored to him.

·        Pray for opportunities to share this gospel message to those who might need it.

 

 

Personal reflections on the current crisis by Filipe Almeida

 The Lord takes care of the birds in the sky! The Lord takes care of us!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 New International Version (NIV)

 

As the situation we are experiencing intensified, many doubts and concerns came to my mind: doubts about our future; concerns about my distant family;  Concerns about the people I love and who are in the risk zone if they get this virus.

 

A week ago, for one night I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts were taken up by these concerns and doubts that only increased while I followed the news. I stayed up all night and when the day started to dawn, I heard the first birdsong. I love to hear the birds singing! I like to compare the songs of birds in the United Kingdom with those in Brazil and I see how listening to these different songs makes our lives more beautiful.

 

Right after that, I remembered the verse in Matthew 6. 26. It was at this moment that I prayed to the Lord: ‘Dear Father, can you please send a bird to sing right by my bedroom window? The Lord decided to comply with my request and a bird came to my window and sang! I recognized this care of the Lord ‘in the little things’, and I praised Him, for I know that He is taking care of me, the Lord is taking care of us!

 

Today, of course, I still have challenging concerns and feelings in the face of this horrible virus that we have come across. But I reflect on how I can grow in my relationship with God at this time! How I should trust the provision and care from the Lord who feeds the birds in the sky and us too. How I can trust the Lord in a sincere way and rest in Him in a time of suffering, but knowing that He is in control of all things!

 

May we remember that even in the midst of diversity, the Lord gives us peace and joy! So we can also demonstrate the hope that we have in Jesus Christ who is with us every day! That is why we can act as witnesses to the Holy Spirit and in this way bless and care for the people we love, our neighbors or distant family members through something that we have valued much more: technology!

 

While the birds sing in the sky, we can walk in a real life. Reminding us of God’s Faithfulness to us. Reminding us of His love that gives us life! Eternal life!

 

May we at this time be encouraged to live God’s promises for our lives! May we at this time receive all that the Lord wants to do in us!

 

A big Brazilian hug (because virtual hugs are still possible hahaha).

 

Filipe Almeida

Prophecy in this season

by Linda Geevanathan

“Sometimes what people need is not another prophetic directive but an authentic pastoral presence. Pursuing prophetic promises without due process produces a denial of pain that leads to escapism. We need healthy prophetic voices who help us process pain and lament through a hope filled lens. Irrespective of all the revival promises that will be fulfilled, right now the world is in pain. The best thing we can do is be a pastoral presence of love.

Let’s articulate hope in this season.”  Julian Adams

Julian Adams a well-known prophetic voice, makes some really key points about the prophetic in this season; our nation and the nations need hope, a hope that goes beyond this world and situation.  There is a longing and need for voices that bring comfort, strength, encouragement and love. That’s what the prophetic does at its most powerful – it isn’t about denial but allowing people to express their pain, listening to them and in the right way directing them graciously to Jesus, the hope of the world.

Ginny Burgin another prophetic voice shares her wisdom of bringing the prophetic in this season, it is well worth listening to.

https://www.facebook.com/272074410191/posts/10163331693780192/?sfnsn=scwspwa&d=w&vh=e&extid=8H4oct6iXxCpd2BU&d=w&vh=e

 

So, in this uncertain time, Church, let us be a voice of comfort, a voice of encouragement and a voice of love for the many who don’t know where to turn in this stormy season.

 

Linda Geevanathan

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