Every New Year brings the hope of new beginnings, and it is when we renew our focus and energy for on-going pursuits. We set goals and plan. We pencil timelines into our calendars and fill them with colour-coded intentions.

However, we arrived in 2022 during a prolonged pandemic with travel advisories we ignore at our peril.1 It is hard to make “to do” lists, set tasks and schedule trips in our prevailing circumstances. We can no longer do what we used to do in the way we’ve always done them.

Pundits postulate that Covid-19 is threatening Hydra-like invincibility and is here to stay. This is making prospects for short-term mission travel uncertain.

We are in uncharted waters. The need for healthcare and medical education is increasing, driven by the pandemic’s impact on the supply of medical services, determinants of health, and social structures that support well-being. One effect on health is a surge in teenage pregnancies in some African countries. The situation is similar in Zimbabwe.2 These, and other crisis among our partners, point us to where we are most needed.

EMAS Canada is working on finding appropriate ways to respond to the needs among our international partners

  • We can learn from like-minded organizations, and forge new collaborations as our team leaders are already doing.
  • We can face the unknown by learning from prototypes of faith, those forerunners who put their confidence in God and found Him utterly dependable.

Moses contested the magicians in Pharoah’s court by throwing his staff on the floor or pointing it at the Nile with devastating effect, not because his staff had inherent magical powers, but because Moses believed God. God was the cause behind Moses’ effectiveness.3

Young David killed a giant in the famous Old Testament contest of nations with a single rock from his slingshot. A stronger, more experienced warrior, producing greater killing power than David’s youthful arm, was rendered useless. David faced Goliath “in the name of the Lord …” So that “all the earth may know there is a God in Israel”4.

Moses had never faced the challenges of freeing a country from slavery until he confronted the leader of Egypt. David had fought bears and lions, but Goliath was his first battle-hardened opponent, and David’s weapon of choice was not self-reloading. God made that one shot count. Likewise, serving internationally during a pandemic is a first for us.

A shepherd’s staff, to a contest for a nation’s freedom, and a slingshot on behalf of a country in a battle for survival sounds ridiculous, but in both instances, God used such absurdities to put down human wisdom and elevate Himself.

The COVID -19 pandemic is the most severe disruption EMAS Canada has faced. It threatens the existence of our work, however, it can also set us up for new adventures in divine intervention.

The first step necessary for God-powered new beginnings is to believe that God finishes what He starts, and that despite our inadequacies, He shows what might happen when we accept his invitation to be part of the response to urgent needs around us. We can truly make a difference where it is needed most.

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1. Proverbs 22:3
2. How lock-down increased teenage pregnancies in Zimbabwe
3. Exodus 14:31
4. 1 Samuel 17:45-46

All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)

Feature image: Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash 


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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.

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