Welcome to a new school year and what we hope and pray is the return to normal. School is finally starting, and we seem to be moving ahead and getting over the impact of 2020 Covid. I only say “seem” because this morning I read that the Delta variant is spreading faster than the original Covid 19, and that infections are expected to surge especially among the unvaccinated.
I, for one, am weary of this pandemic. Have we heard enough about the vaccine and masks? Either you trust the vaccine or you don’t, and you are willing to take it or you are not. I chose to take it, but I have friends who chose not to. It is their choice, and I respect that. Same with masks. I think I can decide when and where I need to mask up. If the place I want to go requires a mask, I use a mask. If I was in the workplace or in school, I might have a different opinion. Retirement does have its privileges! So you ask, what has any of this to do with our mission’s ministry?
The mission’s ministry at FBC Wentzville was not immune to the impacts of Covid. Not only were our doors closed for some months, we had to cancel an August 2020 mission trip that people had committed to and paid deposits to go on. Having been in the pandemic mindset since March, it was clear by June, that we were not going to be able to enter Panama. We texted with the pastor in Panama through the quarantine, and learned that the citizens were only allowed out on certain days, based on gender, date of birth, and their national identification card number. From that data, men and women were segregated and could not go out in public together. Had we even been able to enter the country, we would not have been able to meet with any of the people. Our January/February mission trip, that we have been going on for the last several years, was not even considered for 2021.
Like us, our friends across the US, Canada, and around the world have also struggled with the vaccine, mask, and in several places, the continued quarantine issue severely impacting their ministries. Like FBC Wentzville, many churches around the globe were closed for several months in 2020. But unlike ours, they did not have the ability to use Zoom or Youtube for their classes or worship services. Missionaries and pastors, if permitted, had to go visit their flock, and work even harder to find open doors to share the gospel. The good news is those doors are slowly opening back up.
Last week I spoke to a missionary in Panama who had just returned to Panama. He and his family were in the US in December 2019 for a six-month stateside assignment and got caught up by the pandemic border closures. They were finally allowed to return to Panama in July, some 18 months later! That was not expected for sure! All the mission trips that had been scheduled were cancelled or rescheduled for later this year, but most likely for 2022.
We plan to join that group of the rescheduled. We would like to return to Panama in January/February 2022, and are in the early stages of organizing that trip. We also expect a follow-up trip to Panama in the summer of 2022. Additionally, you may remember reading that a few of us went to Montana on a vision trip this past May. We also intend to go on mission to the people of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo, Montana in late spring or early summer 2022. Each trip will be limited to no more than eight as we get sense of what we can do in the post-Covid environment.
Pray that the Lord will keep us healthy and permit us to go and do the work that He directed us to do: Go and spread the good news of Jesus Christ!