May 1, 2020
Today we are facing an incomprehensible situation in which we miss people and people are afraid of other people. Though we have feet, we cannot walk freely. We may have cars, but we cannot go where we need to go. Airplanes still exist, but we cannot go where we should go. All over the world people are isolated. They worry about access to food and medicine. They worry about just how to survive. We are facing a situation that is incomprehensible and unimaginable to this generation. Nevertheless, called to be soldiers of the Kingdom of God, we are convinced that this crisis is an opportunity for reaching out to lost souls, that they will turn to God. Looking back, we are reminded that the power of the Gospel has saved dying souls in far more trying situations than this. And, in a variety of situations, the Gospel has been expanding because God is alive.
CMI missionaries and local workers have not been harmed by the COVID 19 to date. However, some missionaries are unable to return to their mission fields. They must rely on phone and Internet to maintain contact with field workers. Some missionaries in the field have been self-quarantining at home and going through difficult times with work and family. Of particular concern are some missionaries in the field beset with medical problems. In one city in China where our local worker lives the entire city is locked down since many pandemics-impacted people from Russia are there. No one is allowed to leave his apartment.
We heard that schools may begin to open at the end of April in China. Each school is supplied with disinfectant and alcohol so that teachers and students can use it. Some schools have set up quarantine rooms for emergency cases. In order to reduce the number of students in the classroom, many schools are adopting 'small class'. Children of the House of Hope have begun to attend school on April 22, except for elementary school students. In particular, with one of our partner’s help, we were able to send 5,000 masks and distribute them to the House of Hope, the Chinese Church, the orphans, and to underground believers in North Korea. It was not nearly enough, but it showed how much our partners love these hardy, faithful people in the field. In the midst of difficulties, we are delivering the Bible with the Lord's help.
We are preparing to deliver 15,000 North Korean Bibles soon and have delivered 500 Mongolian-language Bibles. These are bibles presenting the Word in classical Mongolian script. At present the border between North Korea and China is blocked. No one can come and go. Yet, God opens the way. By His grace we were able to slip 2,000 mini-SD cards and USBs containing our digital training materials to North Korean underground churches. As North Korea continues to extend school vacations to prevent the spread of Covid19, the demand for computer-based learning is increasing as students spend more time at home. This trend presents an opportunity for us to slip in more digital devices and tools.
The North Korean underground church is overcoming the hindrances imposed by the situation with reliance on strong faith. Blessedly, we have also been able to send funds to cover living expenses and daily necessities to help North Korean underground churches overcome these difficult times. As well, we have also sent ingredients to make and distribute bread to hungry orphans in North Korea.