COVID-19 Lessons From Our International Ministries
All of our international media ministries are seeing an increased number of followers during COVID-19. Read some of biblical teachings and how our ministry leaders are responding to COVID-19 in their unique contexts.
Before COVID-19, Brazil was already undergoing an economic crisis. Rev. Lopes has pointed to Christ as a source of hope during difficult times. With several internet-based video programs and hundreds of speaking events every year, Rev. Hernandes Dias Lopes already had a well-established following among Portuguese speakers on social media.
With churches closed as well as the studio where he records most of his regular programs, Rev. Lopes has been filming 15-30 minute messages from his home. The most popular video already has more than 160,000 views.
Lopes’s Biblical Teaching
In one video, Lopes uses the story of Ruth and Naomi to remind his audience that “crises don’t last forever.
“After years of sorrow, a door opens for Ruth and Naiomi to a new future,” Lopes shared. “God not only gave Ruth a home, but a happy home.”
The most popular video already has more than 160,000 views and all of the videos have more than 30,000 views.
“God bless you for those words,” shared one viewer. “Let us stand firm in prayer, within our homes, as recommended. Let us pray for our people and for the world.”
Maria, who has watched most of the videos shared a special message in response.
“I have peace in this period of isolation because I am reading your devotional book on Philippians,” Maria shared. “The reading is wonderful!”
Tensions between Muslims and Christians in Burkina Faso were at a peak before COVID-19, shares Rev. Marc Nabie, who serves at BTGMI’s French ministry coordinator. Because a well-known Christian pastor had one of the nation’s first confirmed cases, these tensions have only increased in recent weeks.
“If we start seeing death rates like we are seeing in Italy and the United States, there may very well bring more violence” shares Nabie.
In response, Nabie and his ministry team have been broadcasting a series of messages sharing biblical views on peace, justice, tolerance, unity, and reconciliation.
Nabie’s Biblical Teaching
Nabie has also been sharing special messages from his home during this time. One such message included examples of Jesus’response to crisis.
“When the storm came, the disciples were screaming, but he was sleeping,” said Nabie, referring to the story of Jesus calming the storm found in Matthew 8, Mark 4 and Luke 8. “By faith, we know that everything is under his control. We too can be at peace in the midst of the storm.”
Many listeners and readers, especially young people, are looking to the programs for answers. Nabie has recruited extra volunteers and staff during this time of crisis to respond to the large number of calls and messages that BTGMI’s French ministry team has been receiving.
“I can’t wait for God to feed our faith in these difficult times,” shared Oliver. “Thank you.”
Working under government restrictions and in one of the world’s most technologically-advanced places, Pastor Jerry An has been training church leaders and pastors to use media for church services long before the pandemic. An serves as BTGMI’s Chinese ministry leader.
Right now, An’s training is in high demand—one video training maxed out at 500 participants—but An encourages the church leaders to embrace the use of media as a “new normal” for church services.
An’s Biblical Teaching
“Media is a natural attribute of the church and the embodiment of the church’s functions,” An wrote in an article that highlighted his training events. “Christ himself is both the media and the content of the Good News, the Gospel.”
Read more from An’s article on the Network.
“As Christians, we are called to mission as a way of life,” An added. “That call extends into all areas of life, including our digital presence.”
An’s article quickly gained more than 10,000 views.
“The age of internet missions has arrived, and the church must move ahead with the times!” shared one reader. “The church should be putting new technology to good use, as it is created for the gospel! Let's reach places online with the Gospel that haven't been reached.”
Like in many parts of the world, Christians usually spend Holy Week gathering as a church, as a family, and with members of the community. With most churches closed, this didn’t happen last week.
During COVID-19, BTGMI’s Spanish ministry has been posting special “Sunday service” videos in addition to their regular online and television programs. They also recorded similar videos for each of the days during Holy Week.
De La Cruz's Biblical Teaching
For Maundy-Thursday’s video, Huascar de la Cruz, our Spanish ministry leader, taught from Hebrews 13—a passage originally written for Jewish Christians who also did not have a physical place of worship.
“Physically taking part in the Lord’s Supper doesn’t unite you to Christ,” said de la Cruz. “It’s your own relationship with Christ that unites you to him.”
As other BTGMI language ministries are seeing, these special services have been some of the ministry’s most-viewed online videos.
“Thank you for bringing this worship service to this channel so that we can participate,” Jorge shared. “May God continue to use you for his blessings.”
At this time of year, Japan typically sees a rise in tourism because of the country’s cherry blossom festivals. What’s more, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have already been postponed for one year.
Our Japanese ministry team is sharing photos of cherry blossom trees as well as other parts of God’s creation. The photos are intended to offer the hope of God's beauty during these times of uncertainty.
One ministry follower appreciated the break from the daily coronavirus news. She wrote, “My heart is so tired with all of the news of the coronavirus. Thank you for your precious work!”
As death tolls, unemployment rates, and time spent in isolation increase, so has the number of prayer requests sent to BTGMI’s English ministry, ReFrame Media. Many of these requests are from people who say they are feeling abandoned by God.
ReFrame Media has been developing several special resources to help churches, families, and individuals during COVID-19. On April 12, Family Fire posted an article specifically addressing these feelings of abandonment. The article says that the Psalms can help us through these times.
“The Psalms are God’s gracious gift to us because they give us words to express what we might not otherwise have the words for when we are hurting.”
ReFrame Media has heard from pastors, parents, and other Christians who have said that they are using the resources.
"We thank God that even in these times of isolation God provides such unique ways for us to share with so many these special times of joy in God's presence at worship,” wrote one person in response to a Today devotional.