Finding Joy in Sacrificial Love

 

As we are now in the Christmas season, many are turning their thoughts to serving, giving and mercy. This, then, is a wonderful time to encourage Christians to get involved in refugee ministry – which is chock full of serving and giving. In fact, as some write about refugee ministry, they remind us that Jesus Himself was, in a sense, a refugee as He fled from Herod. Just prior to His flight, our Lord was ministered to by the magi – who give us a sense of the central object of our ministry to refugees.

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2 ESV).

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NDS IV Postponed to June 9-11, 2022

Special Notice!

Due to ongoing restrictions and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee on Diaconal Ministries has regretfully decided to postpone the National Diaconal Summit IV, scheduled to take place June 10-12, 2021 in Wheaton, Illinois.

The primary reason for this decision is that ongoing state restrictions in Illinois, which forbid indoor gatherings of more than 50 people, will not be modified or lifted until an effective vaccine for the virus can be developed and widely distributed. Given the uncertainty of an effective vaccine being produced and distributed before the summer of 2021, and given the need for speakers and participants to make travel plans months ahead of the this Summit, the CDM believes the current year’s plan is no longer feasible. After considering various other possibilities, the CDM has decided to postpone the event and reschedule for the summer of 2022. The Committee has tentatively reserved June 9-11, 2022 for NDS IV and is working toward confirming the plenary and workshop speakers’ availabilities.

The CDM extends its sincere apology for this inconvenience. Many officers over the years have expressed a deep desire to attend these rich lectures, workshops and unique times of fellowship, which is why the CDM will be doing the best they can to resume in 2022.

In the meantime, please make use of the videos from previous summits to enrich your work as servants of the Lord. There is so much wonderful content in them and we would be pleased if you would use them for the benefit of your congregations and the glory of the Lord.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the CDM: diaconalministries@opc.org.


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Ministering During Covid in the Developing World

What has it been like living during COVID-19 in Uganda? When the first cases arrived at the beginning of April, the president locked the country down tight. We had a curfew from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. All public transport was shut down: buses, taxi’s and boda-boda’s (motorcycle taxis). All private transport without a permit was banned by the RDC (like the county sheriff). All schools were closed. All businesses were closed down unless they were essential—basically only grocery stores and farm supply stores. The regions looked like ghost towns. Public worship was banned from April to October.   

Like most, after a few months of this, we were really feeling cooped up but we continued our work at the mission. We continued the farm project, though scaled down quite a bit. Maintenance continued, though it was difficult to get supplies. For a few months, we gathered with the Robbins family for worship on Sunday mornings and with the Folkerts on Sunday evenings. After the Robbins left for furlough we gathered with a few families from the church in the village. This turned out to be a sweet time of fellowship and was encouraging to see the desire of the church members for the fellowship of the saints.  
As time went on, the government realized that this kind of lockdown was unsustainable economically. The virus had been contained to a few hundred people. Things have slowly opened up and many things are back to normal even as COVID-19 is spreading throughout the country.

One of the things the mission has been able to do is buy radios to hand out with recorded sermons, songs, and scripture. This has been a tool to penetrate into the villages and reach people with whom we would not normally be able to reach. Some of the church members have produced some new songs based on the Psalms and have recorded them for the radios as well. We are very thankful for the Lord’s goodness to us in all these trials, reminding us that he is still King and still in control, working salvation for his elect. We are thankful to be His hands and feet in such a time as this!


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