Coronavirus containment efforts continue in the U.S. The virus is present in nearly every state, and many experts forecast exponential growth in the number of new infections. Lawmakers are considering spending and stimulus packages to offset economic downfall, while a small group of volunteers helps test the first vaccine.
There’s a new meaning to the phrase “March Madness” as society adjusts to widespread school and business closures, event cancellations, and “social distancing.” But from fear and uncertainty rises a hopeful perspective.
“It’s obviously changed everything when your mission field empties out in front of you with very little notice,” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Greg Jao says, “but I’ve been delighted by the way students and staff are responding to say, ‘This is actually a mission opportunity, how do we take advantage of it?’”
Coronavirus closes campus doors
Hundreds of colleges across the nation began switching to “virtual classrooms” last week, cancelling in-person sessions and moving everything to a remote learning environment. Others reportedly closed “indefinitely” and have asked students to leave campus.
An unexpected shut-down like this leaves some international students with nowhere to go, Jao says. They “may be barred from returning to their home countries, or … cannot afford to go home quickly,” he explains.
It’s a need the Church can easily meet. “There [are] obvious responsibilities that you have for your family. But, if your family is healthy … this may be a wonderful way to engage the university,” Jao says.
“Inviting church families to say, ‘Would you take in a student who cannot get home right now?’ is a beautiful example of what hospitality means in an age of epidemic.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Praise God for the new believers in New York City who discovered and began following Christ through InterVarsity’s ministry.
- Ask the Lord to grant leaders wisdom and flexibility as InterVarsity adapts to this complex situation.
- Pray staff will be filled with trust in God’s provision and peace as they continue to meet students’ emotional and spiritual needs.