We waited patiently, there is no law against forbearance. However, there is a law against travel during the pandemic.
But when we could no longer bear it, teams began to take steps to serve from a distance. We have been separated from our overseas friends and partners for far too long, but only in the physical sense―our hearts are too deeply attached to the people and places God has called us to serve.
As the wait became prolonged, EMAS teams found ways to remain connected, to give, and to share our lives with others.
The Zimbabwe Gutu team reached out to contacts in Harare and an interdisciplinary team of nationals made up of architects, engineers (civil and electrical), quantity surveyor, doctors, nurses, and local administrators came on board. They have saved us thousands of dollars by volunteering technical expertise in evaluating the state of the infrastructure at Gutu Mission Hospital. The team of volunteers inspected buildings, sewage, electrical and water supply; produced a site map and is preparing a design brief and master plan for the hospital. How reminiscent of Nehemiah and his inspection of Jerusalem in 445 B.C. All we have had to do here in Canada is provide the video conference facility. For more information about EMAS Canada’s partnership with the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe contact me.
At the close of 2020 following a year of prayer and planning to open the clinic in Haiti, it became clear that we needed to demonstrate our heart for the people of Gambade and our staff there beyond sending salaries and words of encouragement. The wait had become intolerable. The idea of deploying a two-person team with intimate knowledge of the area was presented at one team meeting.
There was much discussion in October, intense prayer, and after careful risk assessment, the go-ahead was given to proceed with a brief mini team visit in November. The couple returned safely to quarantine at home. They brought back reports of an acute, severe, and fatal malnutrition among the children of Gambade. This led to a new offshoot of the project to provide food in the short term through partners experienced in this kind of emergency aid work. You can save lives by giving to the Gambade project here.
Unable to travel for two years, one of our Asia teams has taken the moratorium on international travel as an opportunity to delegate more of its service to a like-minded ministry in the region. As I have studied this evolving partnership, I am reminded of the progress of the good news about Jesus in the greater Laodicea/Hierapolis/Colossae region in the days of the apostles*. Local believers took the bulk of responsibility and ownership of the great commission to their own people. Learn more about how one charity is serving out of Hong Kong.
All teams are hemmed in, but not all are confined: Zimbabwe Karanda has gone back to our roots and for two years have been shipping equipment and supplies to Zimbabwe. For a wish list of needs at Karanda Mission Hospital, please contact the office.
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*Colossians 1:3-8, 4:9, Philemon 1:1-25. All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
Feature image: photo by Brett Jordan (Unsplash)
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.