Strategic Partner UpdateFIRST QUARTER 2020
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.”
Pandemic – A disease prevalent over a whole country or the world.
With that definition, YMI knows that your concern is not only for those you support but also YMI workers around the world. So, we have given expanded space for each trainer to share what is going on in their lives and in their region of the world. As you read through each report, you can see that as each family deals with the personal changes in their circumstance, they are also dealing with ministry changes and continuing the focus of YMI to reach the world’s youth for Christ by training youth leaders globally.
God’s work doesn’t stop for a pandemic.
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 Ch. 3). But that is much different than to claim, as this author does, that God “sends” every evil upon mankind.
Yes, God allows us to suffer and allows us 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, Ps. 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 this crisis.
Dr. Randy Smith, President – YMI
The YMI Family
Keep up to date with our missionary trainers as they continue to train youth leaders who will train others.
Click each team member’s photo to read their latest update.
As YMI, along with four other global youth ministry agencies, launches its new strategy of Saturation Multiplication Training, it is encouraging to receive enthusiastic responses from key African leaders.
We received the following comment from Dr. Samuel Olaleye, a key leader in Nigeria. Last June, he was one of 22 Nigerian students who received our YMI Master’s Degree in Youth Ministry.
“This is a good innovation that I believe God is packaging to bring a great harvest to His kingdom. I am glad I can be part of this movement. Be assured of our readiness to do whatever, in our power, to key into this vision. We are already part of the Youth Ministry International family globally. Just let us know how you want this to go and in any way we can be part of it. We trust that God will bring His will to pass in our generation.”
A recent article from the BBC stated Kenya was claiming only 200 cases of the coronavirus. From a trainers experience of living in Kenya, it would be impossible to practice “social distancing” in the overcrowded, poverty-stricken slums of the big cities like Nairobi and the numbers are suspect. Please pray for Africa during this time, as the virus could just be getting started! — Frank Mills, YMI Africa Director