YMI's response to COVID-19
Dear Friends of YMI:
YMI is very aware of the concerns brought about by COVID-19. Our home office and leadership team are monitoring the situation in each and every country/field. Our communication effort regarding every ministry of all of our missionaries and national workers is active and ongoing. Our missionaries and their families are our first and foremost concern.
At this time, there are no known cases of coronavirus among our missionary families. Most are now limited in their ability to carry out their ministries but are working out of their homes to continue training and mentoring youth workers as much as possible. Our Home Office has also been affected as I have personally decided to work out of my home due to previous respiratory issues and my wife’s suppressed immune system due to resent chemo-therapy treatments. Our other home office personnel are working remotely as much as possible and so far we are still maintaining essential services, including the processing and receipting of all of our donations that remain vital to keep our office going and our missionaries working in their fields of service.
All of our 2020 short-term mission trips have been canceled, and all international or domestic travel has been canceled through the month of May. We will reevaluate the situation in May as to summer events and travel. Currently, our July 2020 international summit, due to be held in Florida, is still on the schedule, but we will reevaluate that event in May/June.
Through all of this, we know that God is in control. We invite you to join with YMI in praying that God will use this crisis to soften hearts to the gospel and that our missionaries, national workers, and believers around the world, will have opportunities to share the peace that only God can provide (Phil.4:7). This virus cannot deter our motivation to reach the 2.3 billion youth in the world who do not know Jesus!
Through this difficult time, we know that your lives are also being impacted. We are praying for you and we thank you for your continued support of YMI missionaries, projects, and staff. We praise God for your prayers and gifts! In times like these, YMI cannot continue without your partnership.
May we continue to pray for each other,
COVID – 19 . . . WHY?
“And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the GOOD of those who LOVE Him and have been CALLED according to HIS purpose.”
I often TELL others, “When your circumstances appear to be sad or bad, don’t look DOWN and complain, look UP and try to see what God is doing! Put up your prayer-antennae and ask… ‘God, what are you doing? How can this work for my GOOD… help me see YOUR opportunities for my life and ministry due to this difficult time?'”
The context of Romans 8:28 is definitely saturated with the Christian’s ability to deal with hardship and persecution. Look at 8:37-38 – “No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, not things present nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, (including the coronavirus) will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can remove us from God’s presence or his Love and Care!
I don’t know why this scourge of the coronavirus is here, and NO ONE ELSE knows but God! I am always amazed when something like this comes along a few self-made prophets always want to make self-made proclamations as if they had a direct hot-line to God.
I have already heard all the typical comments, such as:
- “God is using the COVID-19 to judge the world for its sinfulness.”
- “God sent the COVID-19 virus to judge Christians around the world for starting to worship idols.”
- “God sent the COVID-19 virus to punish the world for killing unborn children”
- Or, as one very popular Christian author said in a recent book written about the virus, that because God is “sovereign” (actually the word is “Lord” in the Bible not “sovereign”) he says conclusively, “The coronavirus was therefore sent by God. To believe otherwise is to have a sentimental view of God.”
How shameful is this sort of talk and teaching! Could God send a plague to “punish” evil, and sin? – of course, He already has … there is no greater plague than the plague of the Fall of Man and even Creation as a punishment for refusing to believe and trust in God (Genesis Chapter Three).
But that is much different than claiming, as this author does, that God “sends” every evil upon mankind. Yes, God allows us to suffer and allows up to be persecuted, but to claim that God is the author of every evil is in my view evil itself!
Let us deal with the WHAT and not stress ourselves and others with the WHY, just trust God, live wisely, and move on! We need to stop blaming God for everything! Is He Lord of everything, and does He have the power over everything and everyone? Yes! But does He intentionally kill millions and millions through disease and “natural disasters” and wars just to get our attention? Really? This is horrible theology!
It is not “sentimental” to believe that God is the God of compassion and love and mercy who sees us through such disasters as pandemics and wars (Ps. 135:14, Matt. 9:36, Psalms 23, James 1:13). He is the God to whom we Pray in times such as these. He is the God who can make us better people, better parents, better children, better Christians THROUGH the coronavirus IF we look for His “Good.”
If you want to blame this virus on someone or something, blame it on Evil, and SIN, and the Fall of Adam, and even Satan himself (book of Job) but don’t blame it on GOD! But do TRUST in God no matter what! You and I and YMI and all Godly ministries WILL GET THROUGH this, and no matter who dies, and no matter what businesses or ministries suffer a loss of workers, money, or other hardships, God has a way to somehow turn this all into good. So, let’s look for the GOOD that God has for us through it all.
There is a song that has always encouraged me during times like these entitled “Through It All”, written by Christian artist Andrae Crouch, that goes like this (read and sing it if you know it and take heart!
I’ve had many tears and sorrows
I’ve had questions for tomorrow
There’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong
But in every situation
God gave me blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong
I thank God for the mountains
And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through
For if I’d never had a problem
I wouldn’t know God could solve them
I’d never know what faith in God could do
Through it all, Through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus
I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all, Through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word
Thanks for remaining faithful to YMI and our missionaries through your vital prayers and financial support. We need you now more than ever during his crisis.
Blessings, Dr. Randy Smith, President – YMI