G’day Praying Partners:
It seems like so much has happened – and not happened – since our last update! As you may or may not be aware, Australia has been in a very strict lock down for the past 6 weeks. Victoria, where we are, has been the strictest and the last one to consider reopening. It has been an interesting time, for sure. It has been challenging for us as everything has gone virtual – since our tech capabilities are very slim😊 God has been good to have people around us who can help, but our services are most definitely low tech. That’s ok, though, as our people are used to that!
Some blessings that have come during this time: As you may recall, our youngest daughter lives in Los Angeles. Because of our going online, she has been able to worship with us! What a blessing it has been for us – even if we can’t see her in person. Also, our grandkids have tuned in while Jackie does the children’s lesson. They were all hoping to visit this year – which is not going to happen – so it’s been nice to have them “join” with us in this way. Our services have reached people that we wouldn’t have expected – as I’m sure your virtual church is finding. We have a family from India that had just started attending before the shut down – they are sharing our service with family back home. There’s a family in the Philippines that’s been worshiping with us as well. There have been many more views of the service than just our church family – which has been encouraging. I’m sure your church is experiencing this, too. What the enemy hoped to use to keep us quiet is actually giving opportunity to spread the gospel further than we could have planned!
Schools have been closed (remember we’re not halfway through our school year) with virtual learning being the method used to continue the kid’s education. Essential workers have been allowed to have their children at school – at our school there are about 70 children attending out of the almost 900 they normally have! Rob is still the chaplain – but he spends most of his time on the phone with children and parents. We are so thankful that he's had an opportunity to be a blessing.
It’s a new world of livestreaming, Zoom, WhatsApp and many other online communications! We are doing our church service on Facebook, our prayer meeting on zoom, a weekly discipleship with a couple on WhatsApp and getting ready to do our men’s and ladies bible studies on Zoom and YouVersion. This past Saturday Jackie had a ladies’ prayer “brunch” on Zoom. Although it pales in comparison to actually being with each other, we’ve been so blessed to be able to keep in touch through all these different technologies.
We’re probably looking at a couple of months before we can even begin to meet again as a church family. We know for many of you, that will be happening much sooner. As you pray for wisdom for your church leaders, pray for us as well. It is a huge responsibility for the leaders to do the right thing by God, the government and their congregations. Know that we will be continuing to pray for safety, wisdom and God’s glory as you begin to come out of isolation. Before any of this hit, God had led Rob to start a series from the book of Ecclesiastes – it has been so incredible to see how this book is so applicable to our current situation! One verse to make you smile: Ecc. 3:5b “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” God’s got this! We don’t know how He is going to use this all for His glory – but what an honour to be a part of His big plan!