Monday, June 14, 2021

Praying for Wisdom in the Ongoing Pandemic

In the days before everyone had a GPS in their mobile phones, navigating unfamiliar paths didn’t leave you a lot of options. You could reach for a Rand McNally map and hope that your map reading skills weren’t subpar. You could stop and ask for directions and hope that the person you asked knew what was what. Or you could roam around with a general idea of the correct direction and hope for the best. Sowers4Pastors is navigating some unfamiliar paths and there is no GPS system on the market that can tell them how to best circumvent potential potholes and road construction. COVID-19 has been a backseat driver for the past year and a half and Allen is asking for navigational prayers. Also, of course, for prayers of safety.

COVID placed a lot of limits on what Sowers4Pastors could do. Yet, there have always been people with physical and spiritual needs to be met. The ministry has done that, but it hasn’t exactly been a Sunday afternoon drive through the countryside.

As Allen said, “We find ourselves in a constant state of trying to work within the boundaries and need prayers for wisdom as we go forward. We don’t want to leave people with no help, but we want to do it carefully. We want to protect the reputation of the ministry and, more importantly, the cause of Christ and the health and safety of the communities we work in.”

COVID and the restrictions it has brought work on their own timetable. It took an extra month and a half for the motorcycles recently distributed to pastors to be imported. It also took a lot of extra time for the pastors to deal with their end of the paperwork.

The 3rd shipping container has finally arrived from the U.S. You might say it took its own sweet time. Allen’s estimation is that the duty-free paperwork “took forever” to go through.

Sowers4Pastors has been working on church roofing projects. They just completed three roofs and there are two more on the upcoming schedule. Part of the reason behind this is that the pastors are realizing the need for their congregants to not be meeting in cramped quarters.

The construction crew recently helped another missionary pour a concrete deck that required tens of thousands of pounds of concrete. Because COVID is always a concern, the decision was made to not use any of the other missionary’s team members. The idea was that it was better for the teams to not overlap.

Six teams are scheduled to visit from the States this summer. Most of the locals are not wearing masks, but Sowers4Pastors is strongly encouraging the team members to mask up before heading out. They want to be sure that there is never even the potential for communities to believe that the ministry is spreading COVID. The goal is to move forward, but with wisdom.

Schooling in Honduras is still up in the air. There is continued talk about online schooling, but that is far from a practical solution. A lot of the public school teachers don’t even own computers and the people living in the bush are without internet. Online schooling has barely been working among the more elite private schools. 

Allen also asks for prayers as they plan and execute the next backpack collection trip in the US. Some areas they will visit are still under heightened restrictions. Other areas are not. Allen said, “Obviously we don’t want to be the group of people carrying it from one area to another. We are praying for God’s hand upon these things.”

While this isn’t ministry related, it is definitely Sowers related, and does have some loose ties to COVID. For those of you who don’t know, Trish was in the U.S. for a writer’s conference when she received word that her mother was dying. She immediately left for Florida, but she was not in time to say an earthly goodbye. COVID meant that there was no memorial service, but Trish was able to spend time with her father and siblings. Fortunately, several family members, including Kirstin and Chris' fiance, Audrey, 
were already present in Florida to attend Chris and Bethany's belated graduation ceremony. You may remember that their nursing school experience ended abruptly when COVID hit the area. The graduation ceremony was postponed for a year. No one saw that detour happening.

The staff hasn't made it through the pandemic scot free either. Several members of Iris's family caught COVID last year - thankfully they all made a full recovery. Members of the Hall family currently have COVID, but are recovering. They are hopeful that they will test negative in time to fly out of the country for a wedding. Pastor Omar, the pastor for the Tablon section of Manna4Lempira, is also currently infected with COVID, and recently had a temp of 105 F and had to go to the COVID clinic. Please pray for him. 

We are always asking for prayers, but that is because we always need them. Please pray with us, that the Hall family and Pastor Omar will recover soon. Please pray with us, that God will continue to have his hand on the ministry, protecting us and the communities we work in. We ask God for wisdom as we continue to navigate the difficulties presented by COVID-19. And please continue to pray for the Honduran pastors, children and communities, as they are affected by the pandemic.

-posted by Christi.

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