"An invisible enemy that has brought our nation to stand still "
Shalom to you in the name above all names, Yeshua the Messiah. Thank you for your prayers and for co-laboring with us in the Great Commission. The last time, I communicated with you, we were in a world not different from pre 9/11/2001. The spread of the contagious Coronavirus, a global pandemic was still making its way into the USA. We did not quiet understand the extend of the damage and the havoc it was going to render on the nation. Never in our lives time, have we seen anything like it. As President Trump puts it, this is an invisible enemy that has brought our nation to stand still. Nevertheless, God is still sovereign over this very disease that has started in China and now has engulfed the whole world. As in 1 Timothy 2: 1-5, God commands us to pray for our leaders and those who are in the position of authority for wisdom, humility and breakthrough.
We need to pray for our President ( Mr. Donald Trump) who is doing a difficult job to pull us as nation out of this dark moment. We need to pray for the institution of Family, Church, Government and Corporation and their respective leadership as institution of God on earth to humble themselves, work in unity and love one another as we hunkered down to deal with this invisible enemy. The National lockdown has affected everybody, the family, the church, the government and corporation. It is a trial with a far reaching impact on every aspect of thing we hold dear to ourselves. So if God is in this, let us persevere through it by taking one day at a time. Let the trial take its course until it is complete. James 1: 1-8 In God's providence, even every bad is a blessing in disguise. God is using it to bring us unto Himself. As a matter of fact, social distancing has already happened due to global pandemic called the age of Smart phones: It has been happening in our homes between parents and children, in our work places between co-workers and their bosses, in our train stations and airport terminals between travelers. People are glued to their own smart phones each to him/herself communicating with virtual reality world, while ignoring those we should care about, close to us and around us. I'm guilty of the same thing like most of you.
This Coronavirus is giving us a pause to reflect on our way of life and perhaps get back to the basic. Even a secular University of Illinois Extension confirms this. "Family members who pray together and work together can help balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses and bring everyone closer together, reports the University of Illinois Extension. "Parents who work as a team have a positive impact on their children's emotions and relationships" their lives serve as example to the church and the local community & local government. Strong family builds strong church and strong church builds strong nation. With the threat of Coronavirus, creating a global pandemic all the institutions of God on earth, the family, the church, the government and corporation have been threatened. Fear and uncertainty has gripped entire globe. Here in the USA , our federal, state and local government issued a lockdown policy not allowing gathering of more than 25 people in one place. Airline industries, churches and restaurants, public schools and all kinds of businesses are closed. Where as supermarkets, hospital, gas stations, banks, vehicle repair shops etc. are opened for people to get the essential things they need to weather the storm of this global pandemic. The only place where people can still gather unlimited 24/7 is in the homes.
This ruling known as social distancing designed to limit the spread of Coronavirus from person to person has put pastors on record not to open the door of their churches. There will not be gathering in churches on Sundays, and all other fellowships involving more than 25 persons are put on halt until this Virus is no longer considered a global pandemic. The responsibility of teaching, prayer, worship and fellowship has been delegated to heads of homes where it belongs in the first place with minimum support from pastors, equipping the saints for the workmanship of God, the fathers are tasked with responsibility to lead their family in worship and fellowship.
To answer some of your questions, as co-laborers in the Great Commission, our donors and prayer partners, you would like to know how does Coronavirus is affecting us here at the home front in Lanesborough, MA in the USA and ONMI staff and family in South Sudan? Well, thank you for asking. Here at home, my wife and our children are together at home weathering the storm of this pandemic, taking one day at a time and living by faith. We are still homeschooling. We are a home schooling parents. My wife is a homemaker and my office is in my house. So there is not much adjustment to make than what we have been living out for the past 20 years.
On the ministry front, here in the USA office , Operation Nehemiah Missions does not have more than one staff. So we don't have employees to send home. I'm the only staff of this ministry from this side. Every one is a volunteer. In the South Sudan, we have 30 staff members working for the mission, mostly from their respective home as well. We don't have more than 5 people in each of our three compounds. I am in constant communication with our County Director and the Senior Pastor. I was on the phone with the Senior Pastor yesterday who is the spiritual leader of the ministry from that end and the country Director to find out how this global pandemic is affecting the families, the church and the work of Operation Nehemiah Missions in South Sudan? The answer is all the same as in the USA. Even though there is no report of Coronavirus in South Sudan and Uganda, both countries are in the lockdown position. Both South Sudan and Uganda issued the same lockdown warning as the USA . There should not be gathering of more than 10 people in on place. Flight from USA and other countries most affected by COVID19 are barred from entering the country. Schools, churches, wedding, funerals, businesses are all closed. South Sudan has closed its border with Uganda effectively beginning on March 20 for one month.
We do not have long term missionaries from the USA to be evacuated from South Sudan. All of our short term missionaries have been back to the USA way before there was anything called COVID19. We have been preparing for this type of situation for 16 years since ONMI moved to South Sudan in 2004. ONMI is an international ministry based in the USA from where benefactors ( donors) are residing while the missions outreaches are in South Sudan where the beneficiaries are, the people of South Sudan. We always seek wisdom from God to show us clear exit strategy in case of the situation such as this coronavirus, creating a real impasse where mission activities could be restricted by forces beyond our control. We established both short-term and long-term vision. In our short term version, we encourage our brothers and sisters from the USA to go to South Sudan and co-labor with our sisters and brothers in South Sudan as US missionaries for a duration ranging from 2 weeks to a year. They are free to come back to the USA and move on with their lives as they chose.
Raising up national pastors to take responsibility to advance the Great Commission is a must. Church planting and raising national pastors to shepherd their flock is our long-term commitment. These national pastors have been trained to lead the church. Even if there is not a missionary on the ground. In the current situation, we don’t have a missionary to be evacuated from South Sudan. But the work is going on because the national pastors are carrying on with the work regardless and God is everywhere. He is in charge.
How can you help?
As we are entering the end of our Second Quarter, ONMI's Monthly fix & variable budget for the month of March stands at $37,000 excluding long term projects from various departments.. To date: We have raised $16,500. We are now left with $16,500. We are confident that by the grace of God with your tenacious support, we can meet this goal before the end of the month. All contribution to Operation Nehemiah Mission is tax deductible. You can send your support to Operation Nehemiah Missions at PO Box 563 Lanesborough, MA 01237. and On line, contribution can be made at . In His grace William Levi, founder & Overseer Operation Nehemiah Missions PO Box 563 www.operationsnehemiah.org 413-770-4711
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