What has God accomplished through His Church this year?
Sometimes, we need to remember that we are not alone and that we still have a part to play in God’s plans. Our circumstances don’t cancel out God’s goodness. God is always doing unprecedented things, even during “unprecedented times.”
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
That’s why we reached out to several ministry partners to find out how their communities turned the challenges of this year into opportunities to spread the hope of Jesus.
From the explosion in Beirut to lockdown in Canada, here are some God stories from the global Church…
“[The church] took us into account, even though we’re not part of the church.”
In Central America, if daily wage earners miss a day of work, then they can’t buy food for the following day. And due to strict COVID-19 measures earlier this year, most day laborers were without work—which meant thousands of people faced starvation over the summer. Delmy’s family in El Salvador was one of them.
When the quarantine began, Delmy’s family had no food reserves, and nowhere to turn for help. But 24 hours after they ran out of food, they heard a knock on their door. Even though Delmy’s family didn’t attend church, a local pastor was on their doorstep with a bag of groceries.
Because of a coalition between ENLACE, Tearfund, Viva, and Convoy of Hope (called the Central America Relief project), churches in Central America provided over 3.6 million meals over the summer to families like Delmy’s who were facing starvation.
Delmy’s family now hopes to start attending church gatherings once they reopen, but in the meantime, they are studying God’s Word and thanking God for His provision and His local church.
“The life that a person lives is what matters. And I saw that today.”
On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion decimated the Port of Beirut in Lebanon, killing over 200 people and destroying the center of the city. Now, in the middle of political upheaval, economic tensions, and pandemic concerns, over 300,000 people are also temporarily homeless because of the explosion.
But after the blast, the local church community came together to help their city heal. Members of Resurrection Church Beirut (RCB) immediately went into relief mode and mobilized volunteers — many of them international Christians and refugees — to meet the needs of their community.
One person they helped was George: a businessman in need of house and office repairs because the blast destroyed them both.
“The (relief) team that came, although I didn’t know them, they worked harder … and more than me. … The Christian life is the strongest witness. It’s not important what someone speaks. The life that a person lives is what matters. And I saw that today.”
It’s been over two months since the explosion, and the city is still in a state of disrepair. But Christians in Beirut are committed to helping their community heal, and in the process, they are seeing Jesus restore their land and heal their hearts.
“Walking through the streets after the blast, seeing the churches and buildings with the doors burst open, I had a thought: the work of God cannot be contained in a building. The doors of the Church burst open as the creative power of God in Jesus compels us to engage with the world in its need. It is uncomfortable, but it is a creative and healing power that bursts through the door. Next time you see a door, remember that no locks can keep our God inside! He is breaking out!”
– RCB relief volunteer
“All 9 people in my group committed to faith … that has never happened to me before.”
When Nadia first started hosting online Alpha courses through her church, she wasn’t sure anyone would show up. After all, the Alpha program is an 11-week course centered around creating an in-person community over a shared meal. Its whole purpose is to create a safe environment for people who have questions about Christianity. If the experience changed, would people still come to learn about the Christian faith?
But because of pandemic restrictions in Ontario, Canada, Nadia had no other choice. Here’s what happened…
“The (first) online experience proved to me that it’s a much easier environment for people to share in. … And so we decided very quickly to launch another one. After one week of advertising, we got 160 people interested. We were shocked. So we rolled out another one. We rolled out three Alpha courses in a matter of two months.
I was blessed to lead a group of nine people, all with varying degrees of skepticism and agnosticism. And I was overwhelmed to see that all nine committed to faith. … They all had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. That has never happened to me before. Nine people that I probably would have never met — I want to make that clear — if I hadn’t done the online Alpha course. And every single one of them now has a new relationship with Jesus Christ.”
These three stories only tap the surface of what God has done through His Church this year, but they showcase God at work in our world.
No sickness can hold God back. No disease can hold God down. No hatred can stop God’s love, and no darkness can stand God’s light.
If events going on around you have left you feeling discouraged, remember that the story God is telling isn’t over yet. God is at work, and He is making something beautiful out of our brokenness.
If these stories were a source of encouragement for your day, encourage someone you know by sharing these stories. Tap below to share this post, and spread some good news.
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”