March 20, 2020
God is in control. God is faithful. God is love.
What a week it has been. I am thankful for those of you who have checked in to see how we are doing. Our missionaries are standing firm in their countries of service, and working hard to find creative ways to continue doing what we, as Christians, are called to do: be the light! I’ve been praying for you too, as the whole world has been thrown into this time of uncertainty, fear, and illness.
I have found that my devotions in this season of Lent have taken on a new meaning. The scriptures being shared during this time and our reflections on the passion of Christ seem even more poignant this year in the middle of a world thrown into chaos, into death. Yesterday’s devotion title was "Freedom from Death". Through our Savior’s sacrifice, we are freed from death. This world has never been our home. Our plans for the future have never been sure. We hear about this through the Scriptures, I think of James when it says "what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…. you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live to do this or that.’" (James 4:14-15). So much of our lives, even my missionary life is planning for the next month, or next six months, or in two years when I should head back on home service and support raising. We are praying now with an even greater plea, "Come, Lord Jesus" and "Not my will, but Yours be done".
It has been an incredible encouragement to be meeting with our missionaries around the region and world, as well as with our executive staff in St. Louis over the past week. (Check out the blessing of technology in the collage below!) The calm, steady conversation has been focused on the care of our missionaries and an intense desire to continue carrying out our mission. We will continue to Spread the Gospel, Plant Lutheran Churches, and Show Mercy. We will seek creative ways to shine the light in our relational cultures that are now on lock down and are not meeting together. I will check in on our missionaries in 10 different countries to stay updated on their situation, the situation in their community, and how we can serve them as they serve their neighbors. The work goes on.
Pastor Dan McMiller, the Executive Director of the Office of International Mission, wrote the following in an email this week to all missionaries:
“As you pray in the midst of your sufferings, when the heart is bruised, the soul suffers, all is dark and the Lord’s mercies seem cut off, . . . . look at His burden and keep on praying. Fall down before Him, pray without ceasing to Him who suffered, died and rose again for you. That is His loving, perfect will for you, as it was for this woman. 50 years ago my father taught my confirmation class: “pray that the Lord humble you regularly, and therefore also gently.” Only in humble hearts does faith take root and grow. Pray that the Lord not give us over to our impatience and unbelief in this or any time of trial, but that we might be purified through such humility, and also strengthened by clinging to the promises of His of love, forgiveness and life in His suffering and death in our place, to the praise of His glorious name.”
I pray those words encourage you as you find new and creative ways to serve your neighbor. May God bless and keep you and your loved ones.
In Christ, Jamielynn Tinkey