In his letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul’s iconic words offer us a glimpse into the sufferings of the early church. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4:8-9) Paul continues a few verses later with one of the most profound declarations of faith recorded in scripture, “…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
As I reflect on these verses, I cannot fathom the depths of suffering the saints of old endured as they planted the Church – yet as suffering closed in on them and surrounded them, pressing hard on every side – they fixed their eyes on the eternal…
On March 14-15, 2019; one of the deadliest tropical storms to ever hit the coast of Africa made landfall. Another storm followed five weeks later. More than 3 million people were directly affected by the storm. Their homes were destroyed, their loved ones were killed, and for those who survived the storm and subsequent flooding – a massive Cholera outbreak posed yet another threat.
The devastation in Southern Africa remains immeasurable.
Believers in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe understand what it feels like to be “hard pressed on every side.” Hundreds lost their lives. Yet in the face of incredible suffering, our brother’s and sister’s in Southern Africa fixed their eyes on the eternal. They mobilized quickly, worked tirelessly, and reached out sacrificially to meet the needs of those around them who are suffering.
Thanks to people like you, we have been able to help with relief necessities such as: water, temporary shelter, food, clothing, and medical supplies. AGWM Missionary teams in Southern Africa banded together across borders, to expedite relief efforts. It has been a huge team effort. We thank God for partners in the USA and in Africa who prayed, and gave, and served - even when it meant a great deal of personal sacrifice and risk. (One AGWM missionary was dropped by helicopter into a large crowd of people who had no food or water for several days. He was able to give the people food and water. He preached the gospel, and invited people to follow Jesus…many responded that day.)
Rebuilding and recovery efforts are ongoing and will take years to complete. Progress is slow, but steady. Believers in the affected areas are sharing the Gospel, and seeing many people come to faith in Christ daily. We are reminded that there are still so many who need to hear of Jesus and his great love, while there is still time.
As the fun and freedom Summer settles in, would you join us in praying for our fellow believers who are suffering around the world.
Thank you for praying, and sending us to reach the people of Southern Africa.