As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, the Spirit of God also continues to sweep the globe, empowering His people in ways seen and unseen.
Assemblies of God World Missions is pressing ahead in ministry, relying on the faithfulness of the Lord. Virus cases at the Assemblies of God National Offices in Springfield, Missouri, included the life-threatening illness of AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis and severe symptoms among other key leaders. Missionaries in its various areas of service among 190 countries have also been impacted, both by personal illness and by local restrictions on movement and activity.
And yet, around the world, missionaries are providing church services, resources and other gatherings online while updating their social media sites with encouraging biblical content. They spend countless hours on the phone and online to counsel and pray with families and individuals. Many take the lead in pursuing new avenues to fulfill Christ’s command to preach the gospel to everyone, everywhere.
AGWM personnel are flooding the internet with messages of Jesus’ hope and triumph and of His love.
From Spain, one of Europe’s hardest hit nations, John and Brandi Carrano, AGWM missionary pastors of International Church of Barcelona, shared about the unforgettable experience of performing a wedding via video chat. They write: “Unique times call for unique methods—officiated our first fully online wedding, with their friends and family from all around the world … You truly can’t quarantine LOVE!”
John and Daralena Bean, serving in Slovakia, are on the forefront of a revival that has been growing among the nation’s Roma (Gypsy) population for a number of years. They write, “On a recent Sunday, our Roma pastors led an online service with a message and worship which attracted thousands of viewers! Some Roma people from the village where we are helping with a church plant called one of the pastors and four came to Christ! Nothing can stop the spread of the gospel! Roma revival continues! Remember to pray for Europe!”
In Northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak, Pat and Brenda Mahar, missionary pastors of International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Padova, are partnering with Lisa Dillon, whose husband, David, serves as superintendent of the Appalachian AG District. Lisa is doing her part to help counter Northern Italy’s mask shortage by creating beautiful masks with the colors of Italy’s flag. Not only does this meet a practical need, it also responds to the deep sense of national pride that is helping Italians rally during very dark days.
Pat writes: “In Italy, nothing has brought together this nation in solidarity like the scourge of the coronavirus. Italian flags have not been displayed this widespread since Italy won its last World Cup Soccer Championship in 2006. Today, the Italian colors are displayed proudly from balconies, windows and sides of buildings in most neighborhoods in Italy.
“One of the phrases, that Italians are using everywhere is, ‘Andrà tutto bene,’ meaning ‘Everything will be fine.’ I prefer to answer them with, ‘Con Gesù, andrà tutto bene,’ meaning, ‘With Jesus, everything will be fine.’”