Our friends at LiveDead live and work among the 3 billion unreached people around the world today. One of the main ways they do this is through BAM (Business as Mission), adding value to a local community through entrepreneurship, job creation, and meeting needs through the marketplace.
Like here in the States, COVID-19 and the resulting economic shutdowns have temporarily closed many of our BAM businesses around the world. Some missionaries were sent home to the US while others have been quarantined. One couple has been stuck on opposite sides of a closed border since March desperately waiting for the ability to reconnect as a family.
But ministry doesn’t wait for perfect circumstances. In fact, the Gospel seems to flourish in the midst of the imperfect and unexpected. We continue to hear story after story about missionary friends who are seeing a great harvest during what you think would be a completely dormant season. Gospel seeds grow, perhaps even best, in difficult climates.
Business as Mission
Last week, we got word from one of our BAM teams in the Middle East. Their travel and tourism business has been one of the most successful we’ve seen over the past 4-5 years, not only impacting church planting efforts in the region, but also generating really nice profits. Beyond financial sustainability for themselves, they were able to use their business proceeds to launch a whole new BAM endeavor in another country last year. That’s the kind of multiplication story we love.
The travel and tourism business has been especially decimated during the pandemic, so the team has been frustrated by their lack of activity. But God has been using this season for something beautiful.
Doing Ministry While We Wait
I will let the team tell the story in their own words (names and locations have been removed to protect their work in the region):
We, like just about everyone on planet earth, find ourselves waiting! Here’s what that looks like: On the ministry side of life, the business we run that connects us to local people is travel-dependent, so it’s been effectively shuttered since mid-March.
The local government has also restricted in-country travel and recently re-instituted a curfew on top of banning public gatherings of any kind. For a late night culture, that has definitely forced us to reconsider how we’ll proclaim the gospel!
We still make frequent, weekly connections (usually over the phone but sometimes in person) with those we invested in during the P.C. (Pre-Covid) days, but it has been difficult to engage and minister meaningfully to these friends who are often very self-sufficient without the opportunity for extended dialogue.
In fact, one of the more touching events of the last few months was when one of our Muslim friends asked us to move into their spare apartment free-of-charge. They knew our business couldn’t run and were worried for us. We politely declined telling them we were well provided for (thank you to our faithful financial partners!). We pray one day they will offer the same invitation to Jesus, not out of pity, but out of spiritual hunger and need.
While new connections are harder to come by, it is not impossible. Here’s one story:
One of our friends in the region began posting online gospel content on the outset of the COVID-19 restrictions. Just last week, he and his wife gathered with over a dozen Muslim background believers – men and women, some who have suffered terribly, but joyfully, for the Kingdom – to baptize these believers into Christ. Even in one of the most restrictive countries on earth, during one of the most socially restrictive times in history, Jesus is moving without any restriction to bring lost sheep into His fold. He is certainly rejoicing over these found ones, and so are we!
Oh, won’t you pray with us to see the lost lambs of God brought home to Him in our city!?
Yes, Will You Pray With Us?
There is a lot of stress and turmoil here in the United States today with our own COVID-19 restrictions, racial unrest, and the impending November election. But let’s not forget The Great Commission work still going on among the unreached around the world.
God is redeeming this historical moment for His purposes and we can be a part of it no matter where we call home. Just like we’re seeing COVID-19 lockdowns free sex-enslaved women and children from the brothels of Southeast Asia, God shows up in the darkness and turns death into life.
Please pray with us. Jesus is redeeming His people, calling his children home from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Jesus redeems all things, including COVID-19. A global pandemic can’t stop the Great Commission.