We are in a strange season. Those of us who live in the Eastern States are in various forms of lockdown. Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are much less affected. In this second period of COVID-19 restrictions we have naturally become less sure.
Lockdowns have a way of undermining confidence and creating isolation. We sense this in Australia, and in our partners as they try to maintain their commitment to vital projects and ministries. We continue to track the impact of COVID-19 on our partners. In several settings, lockdowns continue with rules that are limiting. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is in a strict lockdown, as are parts of the Philippines and Thailand. Other partners are more able to move around, albeit with limitations. In all of this unsettledness we have a constant reality in the unchanging environments.
God promises to be with us – ‘even to the end of the age’. This promise is made real through the gift of God’s Spirit and provides what we need – and more. It is a resource of grace, strength, encouragement and hope. The gift of God’s presence helps us see beyond the immediate realities that limit us. It enables us to anticipate the future.
This promise is to ‘us’. It is inclusive. It embraces all of us, no matter where we are, what we face, or the realities we live with. It is an all-encompassing and unifying gift and connects us as one body. We are people in community and held in the strength of this reality. It is our community life that enables us to share the burdens that are faced by others and in turn also sense our own burdens being shared.
These values are at the heart of what it means to deeply partner. It is to be in relationships and to experience community in what we do. As we invest in, explore and appreciate the experience of others, we achieve more than we can on our own.
A conclusion for GMP from this is that we need our partners. In some ways, more than they need us. We have a ministry, and a responsibility, that cannot be fulfilled without our partners. They rely on us and we on them. This is the dynamic of our relationships in faith and in ministry. It is the foundation for our work. This is so important in these times of uncertainty.