Dear Global Family,
As I write this, the verse of the day in Germany is from 2 Timothy 1:7. The apostle Paul reminds us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
This is an encouraging word in times of global crisis and anxiety. The coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading globally creates fear, drastic measures and sometimes overly anxious responses. We – especially in more developed countries – are so used to being in charge of our own lives that we find it hard to deal with circumstances we are not able to control.
Fear is a normal human reaction. But God’s children have been given the Spirit who is constantly reminding us that against all odds, God is in control. We are in His hands and He is taking care of us. This deep sense of comfort and security allows us to share the good news with others, both in words and in deeds.
But at the same time, we have to be wise and responsible. That is why our International Chairman has just cancelled a Global Team and Board meeting. We are closely monitoring other pending travel for the Global Team and, depending on the situation and advice from experts, may cancel more trips over the coming weeks.
We would like to encourage all National Movements to carefully evaluate all risks and listen well to government and national health provider advice. Then, prayerfully decide whether to proceed with planned events or cancel them. We are called to take care of our children and young people and not do anything that could damage our good reputation. It might mean that staff need to work from home or that certain public events or camps cannot go ahead. But even then, we can still be signposts of hope to a world in fear.
I am very encouraged by SU Hong Kong’s response. In the midst of the heightened anxiety in their country they have been posting a set of special Bible notes on social media platforms called ‘Seven days against fear’. Schools will be closed there until mid-April and SU Hong Kong is currently preparing online resources for young people who need to stay at home.
Let us be creative in our approaches if we are prevented from meeting face to face. Pray for the people and communities that are affected by the virus. Pray for the global Church, that we do not lose hope but respond to the crisis with love and care. Pray for our movements who need to take difficult decisions and who feel nervous about the potential economic effects of the crisis.
Let us stand in this together. Let us be salt and light in anxious times. Let us be servants to a world in need and let us be inspired by the Spirit that gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Warmest greetings and blessings,
Monika and Christian
International Director and International Chairman