This pandemic in which we find ourselves has presented new challenges for all. For many churches, this has meant refraining from meeting, members losing jobs, and restrictions on who can leave the home and at what time. However, in the Lord’s providence, there have been many unforeseen blessings during this time. Many report a greater time with family and being “shut up to God” in prayer and study of His Word. These things don’t require outside contact. Evangelism, by definition, requires close contact with others: something not conducive to quarantine. Many have tried to carefully listen to government officials in maintaining a safe distance, but have also been able to speak with neighbors as most of the world’s population is at home.
Andrey in Russia reports of a conversation he committed to, deciding he would stay in listening to his neighbors speak until he either had the chance to speak to them about Christ or until they kicked him out. This conversation was between two ladies: one believing in reincarnation and the other traditional Russian Orthodox. The two ladies began to speak with Andrey about the virus, declaring the disease was due to their sins. Their solution for this punishment “from above” was to try to do more good works than bad. Andrey was able to shift the conversation considering the truth of God’s word. He pleaded with them to not attempt to earn salvation by trusting in a multitude of good works but rather in the good work of the good news of Jesus Christ who died to save people from punishment for sin. A few days later, Andrey received a call from one of the ladies indicating she had a serious heart condition. Andrey was able to speak more about the errors of the Russian Orthodox church and point her, once again, to salvation in Christ alone and the eternity she may soon face. Had Andrey and these ladies been about the busyness of a normal non-pandemic style of life, they may have never had this opportunity for such a conversation.
Adam in Poland also reports of evangelistic encounters. The country of Poland is over 98% largely Roman Catholic. Because of this, masses are still being held while evangelical churches are unable to meet. These restrictions have forced Adam, like many, to resort to online meetings and interaction with church members. Because of restrictions on social interaction, Adam has been putting gospel tracts into neighbor’s mailboxes during his morning runs. He was able to engage with one neighbor during a long walk talking about God, the church Adam pastors, and hear of the good news of the gospel. This man is Roman Catholic but was very interested in the differences between his and Adam’s faith.
The present circumstances are not as many would have them, but as we have seen above, the Lord’s providence is often mysterious, but never without purpose. The Lord rules and reigns from the heavens doing as he pleases. Pray for Andrey as he continues to engage with the Russian Orthodox woman. Pray also that he could make contact with the other neighbor he spoke with about the hope of the gospel. Pray also for Adam that the tracts he leaves would be well received and that the Lord would bless his conversation with his neighbor, and that the conversation would lead to salvation.