May 11 2023

Joseph’s Burden: Now is the Time

Finally, with all anti-pandemic measures lifted, we can reconnect with our national trainers in person! Our head trainer, Joseph, was able to come meet us last month. We trust his testimony below will give you a clearer picture of their current challenges.

“After the sudden relaxation of COVID control measures, all of us trainers got infected. So, we only managed to conduct one training from last December to mid-February. Training gradually resumed as we recovered, and we completed 18 trainings from mid-February to late April. Things appear to be returning to normal, but the reality is far from that.

Since March, we have actually experienced tighter controls, with unstable weather conditions in many regions. The training venue at Millet was forced to close, and so for the sake of safety, we have suspended all our training there. We are also taking more precautions at other sites, so as not to jeopardize future training opportunities.

Authorities are putting greater demands on registered churches to become more centralized. Meantime, house churches that have used the small-group model as part of their contingency preparations for unfavorable weather are coping overall with the environmental changes.

There is a general sense of tension in the air, which is predicted to grow stronger and stronger. This is the consensus of many pastors. Consequently, our co-workers fear their respective churches will be impacted, and that their travel will be restricted. It will also become more difficult for our partnering sites to organize physical trainings despite their sincere intentions.

All in all, we expect that churches will face increasing pressure as the environment deteriorates. The way I see it, we cannot afford to relax or withdraw – in fact, now is the critical moment in history for us to lay a solid foundation for the church in East Asia.”

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

(Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)

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