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Rachel Rubin, Katie Gerber, Craig Fowler, Uruguay, Kenya, MOHI, Ethiopia, coronavirus, COVID-19

What love looks like when ‘the whole world shuts down!

“We had one incredible week of ministry and then literally the whole world shut down!” said campus minister Rachel Rubin, who serves with the La Ruta team in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The same theme echoed from our other ministries. Things were going so well, until … But our team members are nothing if not resilient and creative. And, in most cases, they are able to continue to serve despite the Coronavirus restrictions, thanks to the many available technological innovations. Ministry just looks a bit different.

Here are stories from three of our fields.

Katie Gerber serves in the Spiritual Department at Missions of Hope in Nairobi, Kenya.

Rachel Rubin, Katie Gerber, Craig Fowler, Uruguay, Kenya, MOHI, Ethiopia, coronavirus, COVID-19
CMF team member Katie Gerber, who serves as the Spiritual Formation Coordinator for Missions of Hope International in Kenya, shares with MOHI staff and members of the Spiritual Development Department.

“My Kenyan supervisor and I talked about how we could engage some of our Spiritual Development Officers (SDOs) during this time. We decided that we would ask them to volunteer to help write the 280 individual devotions that all the MOHI staff and children will go through for the second term of school in May, June, July.

“The struggle was going to be data cost for internet and the ability to do everything via their phones. So, we agreed to provide additional money for data. Kenya is very advanced in the ability to send additional data/money to individual phones. We created a what’s app group, divided the devotions by age levels, sent each volunteer the template, the scripture text to use and past examples.

“The devotions we are getting back from them are wonderful! Every one of them is asking for feedback to make it better. It has been a beautiful experience of us coming together while apart, and ministry still is happening.”

Rachel Rubin and her Globalscope team at La Ruta in Montevideo had just finished training their first Uruguayan interns, received an eager exchange student and planned the whole new semester. They were off to a great start!

“Our goal this semester was to grow, adding 30 new students to our ministry. We had 20 new students come to our kick-off event and one great week of events. Now, we are confined to our tiny apartments for the foreseeable future.

“But surprisingly, nothing has changed. Things are just at a slower pace now. We are still able to build relationships with students, even new ones. I am still studying the Bible with one of our students. We are still watching funny shows together, still doing small groups, still being intentional. It just looks a little differently than we thought.

“This has made me think so much about why we are here in Uruguay. It’s not necessarily to put on super fun events and have a house full of students; it’s really about connection, our relationships with the students here. And we can continue doing that from wherever, even in quarantine!”

Craig and Allison Fowler were returning to their long-time ministry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from their eight-month furlough just as COVID-19 was beginning to take hold. As they entered the country, they weren’t surprised to be placed in quarantine for 14 days.

Rachel Rubin, Katie Gerber, Craig Fowler, Uruguay, Kenya, MOHI, Ethiopia, coronavirus, COVID-19
Craig and Allison Fowler returned to their ministry in Ethiopia just as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning.

“We had seriously thought about postponing our return. The medical infrastructure here is ill-equipped to handle a pandemic disease. It was rumored that at some point Ethiopia was likely to shut down all flights in and out of the country.

“So why have we returned? The answer is: Ethiopia is where we live, where we work, where God has called us to be. Ethiopia is home. We feel passionate enough about the work in Ethiopia to take risks to be here.

“God is doing incredible things in the churches in Ethiopia right now and we want to be a part of it. We want to be encouraging new church plants like the one in Bacho. We want to be involved with the church leadership in Gorey as they disciple believers in their new walk with Jesus. We want to help the struggling churches in Metekel as they work through the challenges of having young leadership in a trying time. We want to be with the church in Mengie as it wrestles with what it is to be new followers of Jesus in a sea of Muslim opposition.

“With challenge comes opportunity. Allison and I think this is the best time to be a missionary on the field. The world is a scary, fear-inducing place. The message of Jesus has always been one of hope, redemption, recovery and resilience. This is the moment Ethiopia, and the whole world, needs to hear it the most.”

Top photo: Rachel Rubin, left, and teammate Abigail Bullinger, right, are still connecting with students at the La Ruta campus ministry in Montevideo, Uruguay, through technology.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Craig Fowler, Ethiopia, Katie Gerber, Kenya, MOHI, Rachel Rubin, Uruguay

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