Admittedly, I tend to have somewhat isolationist leanings, and resist being caught up in globalization trends. I never watch and rarely read the news, and don’t really have an interest in international happenings. I have typically identified more with Neil Postman, who questioned even the invention of the telegraph as a means to useless information sharing. Similarly, Henry David Thoreau said that “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”
However, I am coming to grips with the reality of time and space being conquered, and of events on the other side of the world having significant impact here in the States. From a ministry standpoint, there is a difficult balance to be found between local ministry and worldwide aid (whether it be sharing the gospel, giving finances, praying for people, etc.) – it is easy to overlook the great needs in our own church or neighborhoods for the sake of huge global justice missions, and vice versa. There is injustice and tragedy everywhere in the world because of the crippling effects of sin, not to mention devastating natural disasters, including the recent cyclone in Myanmar which killed more than 90,000 people and injured even more.
My Dad, on the Diaconal Ministries Committee (CDM) of the OPC’s General Assembly, recently published a letter describing the vast needs of the believers in Myanmar, whose churches and homes were destroyed by the cyclone, and asking for donations. You can read the letter, on the OPC’s front page by clicking here.
The CDM is sending financial aid to meet the urgent needs of Myanmar believers, who are “now refugees being sheltered in churches.” The damage was truly devastating, and it’s tragic how much need there is: food, water, medicine, candles, renovations and repairs, and even mosquito nets. As my dad points out, prayer for the believers in Myanmar is greatly needed as well, not only for their physical relief, but also for strength as they continue to share the gospel even in this difficult time: “Pray for them as they suffer with the rest of their countrymen, that even this tragedy will work for their good, and ultimately for the glory of God and the growth of Christ’s kingdom.”
God has truly blessed America, and so many of us have it so good here, something I so often take for granted in my short-sighted, selfish, narrow perspective. I was absolutely humbled and even shamed by reading of the Myanmar believers’ dedication to spreading the good news of Christ even in the aftermath of a horrific tragedy like this. Their focus is on Christ’s kingdom even when they have no home, no food, and little relief in sight. What a challenge to me here in comfortable Virginia Beach, who barely shares the gospel even when I have a roof over my head, a full stomach, and a steady paycheck. Lord, grant me your boldness and wisdom to more often and effectively share the gospel to those in need – that it may be my chief concern.