Bonjour ! J’espère que vous-avez très bien ?
I am still here, writing from my home town in South Africa, and here not much has changed since our nation-wide lockdown has been instituted. Yes, some provinces have started phasing out the lockdown restrictions, but in many ways, we are still where we were before.
I am so thankful for technology that helps us to stay connected internationally, but I am excitedly looking forward to a day when we can once again connect face-to-face!
Despite the limiting physical circumstances, MPD preparations are well under way, and language learning and life is going well. While being in lockdown, I have kept in touch with my team (spread out across Zambia and USA, since they had to evacuate DRC before the borders closed down), who are also in various phases of quarantine. While Jessy and I are fundraising through MPD, and learning French, Julie, Darrin and Sherrill are on Rapid 14.
Julie has been able to serve in the local clinic as a Midwife. She has shared some incredibly encouraging stories, and I encourage you to follow these testimonies on social media — whether on their personal profiles, or through Overland Missions.
We all anticipate the day when we will be together in DRC, advancing the Kingdom and sharing the Word of God. For now, we remain faithful in doing what we can do to prepare for post-pandemic ministry, and await communication from Overland Missions’ leadership as well as that of the various countries in which we are currently waiting out the quarantine restrictions.
In recent video meetings, our founder and president, Phillip Smethurst (CEO), predicted that many African nations (South Africa included) may take longer to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the lack of medical resources and facilities that will be able to manage the influx of patients.
I spoke to some friends at Kalene Hill Hospital in Northwest Zambia (right on the border between DRC, Angola, and Zambia), and they have reported that they are only now receiving many patients who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. These areas are so remote that they are only now catching up with the global exposure to the virus. Unfortunately, people living in these remote and rural areas often don’t have access to health care (health care is in limited supply in most African countries), and generally don’t have good immune systems due to harsh physical conditions and malnutrition. However, our team gladly serves these communities, not only with humanitarian care, but with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As far as DRC is concerned, a report was sent to our team which projected that cases for COVID-19 will peak in September. It is expected that South Africa’s borders will also remain closed until then, though limited travel in-country will be allowed. However, the guestimation that the borders might not be open to foreigners or international travel, means that things are still uncertain. We pray that things will stabilize and return to normal as soon as possible.
Even during this time, we’ve heard testimonies from our team on the ground who have shared that even though they are under lockdown, ministry continues through their disciples in the villages.
The plans and purposes of the Lord are never stopped or hindered, or even delayed by anything in this world.
I have been considering that Paul (who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest missionaries) wrote two thirds of the New Testament from prison. Our ability to go out and see other people face-to-face might be limited by lockdown, but the Good News is never locked in.
My co-workers in an Unnamed North African Country, have shared how in the midst of Ramadan, they have been able to share plates of food and snacks with their neighbours (they leave it on neighbours’ doorsteps and communicate from further down the hall). Now that they have been living in-country form some time, doing language training and discipleship, they are able to add encouraging notes to these food packages, sharing Scripture and greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, and it has opened further doors to ministry in this closed country.
We all pray and are expectant to see increase and abundance when we are able to return to the ministries we’ve been assigned to, because we know that God is continually revealing more of Himself. He still heals. He still restores. He still pours out His Spirit. There’s no bad report that can undo what God is doing in the nations. He’s always doing something new, and brining dead things to life.
As always, I invite you to share any prayer requests — you can reach me via email, social media, or WhatsApp.
Love in Christ, Cornelia
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5 : 3-5