We were surprised in 2020. Covid surprised us, and our plans mostly fell apart. But God also surprised us and, in the midst of loss, we saw some amazing things come together. For example, a WO worker in Asia and the Middle East whose mobility was curtailed and couldn’t carry out home medical visits, rejoiced to find young Christian brothers and sisters willing and able to jump in make deliveries. WO theological trainers who had to cancel plans to teach in a Southeast Asian country, retooled the course to teach remotely and saw students immediately pass on what they learned to other leaders. And WO workers in another Asian country who were forced to move their small group Bible studies to Zoom, were thrilled to see participation increase and members who were previously timid blossom.
Covid distancing forced many of our workers into more solitude, more quiet reflection, and more fun family time. It wasn’t what they were aiming for in their goals, but God aimed them there anyway, and we thank him for how deeply it fed their souls. Our thanks also go out to you – the financial supporters of our global workers. At the beginning of the pandemic many predicted that mission agencies’ contribution income would drop by 25%. That was not our experience, as contributions remained steady.
In this Annual Report, you’ll see our attempts to measure what God did in and through World Outreach in 2020. One of the numbers in the report that brings me most joy is the number for Total Weekly Witness you’ll find on page 3. It represents the average number of times each week that the members of our church planting teams brought Jesus into their conversations with not-yet-believers in a way that would invite further spiritual interaction. In the places where many of our people work, this is challenging under normal circumstances. With the distancing and isolation that Covid brought, I expected the number to go down from last year. Instead, it increased – from 242 to 267 times per week!
Most of what we planned for 2020 fell apart but, praise God, everything he planned came together beautifully. I hope this report will help you praise our surprising God.
Grace and peace,
EPC WO Director