by Trish Duggan, Communication Coordinator, OPC Short-Term Missions and Disaster Response
(From our April, 2020 STORM Report)
Our usual April issue of conveying the plans and excitement for short-term mission trips are in many ways, not the same this year; it just can’t be. Although some teams are still prayerfully planning summer work, some have made the very tough decision to postpone.
With all the restrictions we have right now, perhaps this is our chance to look with a more long-term focus of commitment. Here are a some thoughts to consider:
- Get to know your missionaries.
Learn about a missionary family in a field you may have wanted to visit. Write to them to see what their life is like, what struggles they have, and perhaps become pen pals (by e-mail, Facebook, other social media, or snail mail).
- Let your missionaries get to know you.
Missionaries can sometimes feel isolated and left “out of the loop” of everyday life back home. Share photos and stories from your life with our missionaries the way they share theirs with us.
- Raise support.
You can still raise money and support short-term missions by hosting a car wash, bake sale or yard sale (online sales are great with no set-up!) Funds can also be donated to the OPC COVID-19 Pandemic Response (CPR) Fund, set up to help OPC deacons as they assist their congregations.
- Change your focus.
If you had planned to go overseas for a missions trip, maybe you could look a little closer to home. The Boardwalk Chapel and Quebec City missions are still hoping that they can hold their usual summer programs. You can find out more at our website: opcstm.org.
- Be a missionary in your neighborhood.
Is there someone you could help during the pandemic: an elderly or handicapped neighbor that needs help taking care of their yard or getting groceries? Calling people you know who may feel especially lonely or anxious? Helping with neighborhood children’s schoolwork via the internet?
- Check-in with your local deacons.
Call a deacon in your church to find out what needs there may be and how you can help.
Commit to praying for a neighbor, church member, your pastor, elders and deacons, missionaries (perhaps those you planned to visit), or those affected by this virus.
- Register to be an OPC Disaster Response volunteer.
By registering as a volunteer, you are letting us know you are willing to take the time, when you can, to help with the physical and spiritual needs of someone who is struggling. Find out more by going to the OPC Disaster Response website.
These are just a few ideas of how we can broaden our focus for short-term missions and disaster response in these unusual times. COVID-19 is giving us an opportunity to step back and look at the larger picture in order to make a long-term commitment to the Lord’s work. Please pray for OPC Short-Term Missions and OPC Disaster Response as we plan for a different looking summer of mission work.