Mission in a Global Pandemic
Recently, we asked 3 of the Missionaries in our European Zone what it has been like to do outreach work in the midst of restrictions and lockdowns. Despite serving in different corners of the continent, Szymon from Krakow, Robyn from Belfast and Aitor from Vitoria each shared about God's goodness and provision in these times - we thank God for his faithfulness and for these servants continuing their Kingdom building efforts!
In the beginning of this academic year we decided to reactivate UCO Kraków because some of the youth of the Bielsko-Biała community were moving to the city to study. However, because of the second lockdown, our plans had to be modified and we had to adapt to doing outreach online.
We started Bible study meetings after Christmas with just 3 people. A month later, we had 4 and now we have 5 people. Most of the students are studying from home, so we meet online, but this inconvenience enables us to invite people who are not currently living or studying in Kraków. God is working, leading and guiding us in this time and we continue in our desire to do His will!
Mission in Covid times is no doubt challenging. But I have found that with that challenge, I have seen a lot of untapped potential in myself. Mainly, as we adapt to restrictions, I have had to find new ways to continue to engage with students, and I have had to be really creative!
When restrictions stripped away the business of student lives, mission became a top priority - for students who found themselves alone or thinking a bit more about God, and also for us mission workers realising our work in UCO was vital. Students have really benefited from us missionaries continuing to reach out to them, to listen to them and pray for them.
Being on mission in a pandemic has also helped me find confidence in myself and in my voice. A lot of what I think or choose for comes from a gut instinct - the effects of the pandemic has helped me trust this gut instinct more. This might sound strange but let me explain... As we have had to make quick decisions on how we should do our mission work, I trust my gut feeling more and more to speak up on things I think are really important - and as a result I am able to collaborate with the Holy Spirit and the rest of our UCO staff team to really shape our mission.
In summary, the impact of Covid-19 has helped me to see the value of mission work - how important it is, how even though students don't always notice your work in their lives, it is the fruit of their lives and their relationship with God which has spurred me on to continue building the Kingdom.
The pandemic, in many ways, has exposed the innermost part of us all, and I have been amazed to see how it has brought out the best in the people around me. Our outreach group, Fuego Nuevo, has grown in the last year, especially among teenagers. It was very unexpected because we thought that reaching the younger generation would be very complicated to do online, but they are actually the ones that have been most committed to meeting weekly and continuing to do activities together!
This year, during Holy Week, we were able to see the most charitable side of our young people, as they successfully raised €450 for a food bank. It was a figure that we did not expect to reach, but all the young people convinced family and friends to contribute even just a little to a great cause. So I am enormously grateful to God for bringing us all closer together as a group, despite the pandemic.