TURNING FEAR INTO HOPE
Followers of Jesus Christ aren’t providentially immune to the effects of COVID-19 or any other natural disaster. But we do have his assurance that he will walk with us every step of the way through the crisis and that God will ultimately bring great good out of what today appears only as great evil.
Like the apostle Paul, however, we realize that whatever the challenging circumstances ahead, God still has important work for us to do. So we want to take a few moments on this page to share with you how TWR is taking necessary precautions against the coronavirus while continuing to reach the world for Christ so that lasting fruit is produced.
First, though, may we invite you to take just a few minutes to listen to this message as TWR CEO Lauren Libby shares some uplifting thoughts from Psalm 91?
MEDIA – NOW MORE THAN EVER
As people self-isolate and hunker down during this crisis, the media that keep us connected to other human beings and to what’s happening around the world will play a vital role in our lives. As they seek information, answers to life’s hardest questions and even diversion, they’ll turn to radio broadcasts, videos, the Internet and mobile apps as pipelines beyond their four walls. And for people in many countries, these technologies are the only ways to gain access – and often the confidential access needed to avoid persecution – to God’s Word.
Serving as a voice of hope, strength and information in times of grave crisis isn’t new to TWR. Although our main priorities are proclaiming the gospel and making disciples, we frequently leverage our global communication facilities to help people trapped in natural or manmade disasters. We’ve done so after hurricanes and earthquakes and during wars and civil turmoil. We’ve even reached out during Ebola epidemics, and we’ll do so now in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
SPECIAL TWR PROGRAMMING
In fact, programs responding to the pandemic are already being aired. TWR Asia’s Chinese Ministry promptly created From Despair to Hope, a program consisting of multiple short episodes offering encouragement and evangelistic messages to some of the hardest-hit countries. Already going out in Mandarin, plans call for the program to be translated into other Chinese languages as well as Korean and Japanese.
In English and Spanish, the 26-minute interview program Coronavirus: What You Need to Know has been broadcast from the TWR Bonaire transmitter – the most powerful AM station in the Western Hemisphere. The program has also been translated into Farsi for broadcast into Iran, another especially hard-hit country. Featuring an interview by TWR’s Andy Napier with nationally known Christian health-care leader Dr. David Stevens, the program opens with extensive information about the nature of the virus and preventive measures to take. It also includes an engaging discussion of spiritual perspectives on the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you would like to help spread this message of hope, you can do so by clicking here.
TAKING ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS
Mirroring countless other faith-based and secular organizations around the world, TWR is striving to apply the best, most up-to-date medical advice from government and health agencies. We consider our responsibility to our missionaries and staff members a sacred trust, and we are committed to keeping them informed, supported and protected to the highest degree possible.
- So far, praise the Lord, no cases of coronavirus infection have been reported among our global staff.
- Though our international office in Cary, North Carolina, currently remains open, we are giving all of our staff the freedom to work from home to comply with the social distancing guidelines given by global health professionals.
- The staff for many of our offices around the world are working from home – often because of government mandates.
- All of our major broadcast facilities are operating and are expected to continue to be on the air barring unforeseen regional complications. Backup plans have been put in place in the event of staff illnesses. Included among these facilities are TWR Bonaire, the West Africa Transmitting Station, TWR Eswatini and Guam.
- Local conditions and government directives are being closely monitored in each of the TWR regions and coordinated by the ministry’s Executive Team, led by CEO Libby.
- Staff members have been given directions and training so they will be able to work from home. Branko Bjelajac, TWR vice president for Europe and Africa, singled out Chief Technology Officer Joe Barker and the Information Technology team he leads, reported, “Already today the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform and Zoom video conferencing are becoming our primary workspaces. I praise the Lord for TWR having moved into this cloud, file-sharing and online collaboration concept of work. We are all well-prepared. Joe, please thank the IT/IS team globally.”
WE PRAISE GOD FOR PARTNERS LIKE YOU
Our staff, our programming and our facilities will keep proclaiming the gospel to 190 countries in more than 230 languages. But we readily admit that we can’t do this without you. We understand that you have lots of pressing issues on your mind, that the world seems like it has been turned upside down since the beginning of the year.
Frankly, though, we count on your continued prayers and financial support. Just yesterday we received a generous donation from a supporter whose accompanying note couldn’t have been timelier: “It is more important now than ever to get the gospel out. People need comfort, encouragement and hope which can only be found in Christ.”
If you’ve been supporting a TWR missionary – whose basic financial needs certainly will not diminish during this crisis – or giving to ministry outreach, we thank you sincerely and ask you to keep standing with us in the days ahead. And if you’re used to posting gifts to us by conventional mail and find that process to be problematic or even impossible now, please consider going online to our easy and secure donation page, where you can give from the safety and convenience of your home computer.
Finally, throughout its founding, operation and growth, TWR has been undergirded by prayer. We are firmly convinced that God will continue using and blessing this ministry as long it remains sharply focused on its calling and relies on daily prayer. So this is our appeal to you today: Please make TWR a regular part of your personal prayer time. It is our goal to not merely survive this coronavirus ordeal but to truly be “more than conquerors through him who loves us.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
In times like these, it can be difficult to know how to respond as Christians, but there are so many ways we can harness the peace of God and spread it all around us! That’s why we have gathered 10 different ways we can respond and turn fear into hope:
China, Iran, Italy — these coronavirus hot spots have seemingly been turned upside down because of this invisible foe, and it’s not the only thing many battle against in these regions. With Asia and the Middle East among our most pinnacle ministry landscapes, their fear and pain has not gone unfelt. Now more than ever, our programs and presence in these areas play a vital role in meeting individuals in their isolation with the hope of the gospel.
Here’s how you can be praying:
- Pray for the health and safety of all who find themselves in affected regions.
- Pray that their hearts would be opened to the Lord and that he would be their source of peace through this difficult time.
- Pray for our teams and specialized programs throughout these regions, that they would be a voice of hope and truth through all of this uncertainty.
At TWR, we believe in the redemptive power of God’s Word, and there is nothing that speaks more life-giving hope. When times are uncertain, it’s important to fall back on its truths and look to him for comfort. So, make a list of verses which you feel embody “hope” and let scripture speak to you during this crisis. Pray over these verses and share your list with a friend so that they might benefit as well!
Great Commission inspiration is all around us, and while many movements and travel opportunities have been changed with the onset of COVID-19, the mission remains the same. It’s important to remember that. That’s why stories like that of God’s work in our own ministry are so important: we serve a big God, and he has great plans for everything, even this. When times are uncertain, it’s important to fall back on its truths and look to him for comfort. So, make a list of verses which you feel embody “hope” and let scripture speak to you during this crisis. Pray over these verses and share your list with a friend so that they might benefit as well!
So, read a missions-minded book — like Towers to Eternity — to remind your head and heart why God’s work in you is so very important!
TWR has missionaries all over the world, many of whom currently reside and minister to areas deeply impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here’s how you can be praying for them directly:
- Prayers for health and safety as many live under quarantine and self-isolation measures.
- Prayers for their work and logistical limitations as many are now working from home. Many meetings and trips have also now been cancelled or postponed due to travel restrictions.
- Pray for their ministry: that the virus and all of its repercussions would not hinder their ministry, but rather that it would be strengthened. That this would be an incredible opportunity to minister to many who would otherwise not hear the message of the gospel.
Now, TWR teams across Asia are working to translate and broadcast programming to meet the people in their time of need, and bring hope straight to their doorstep. Will you join us?
With much of the world slowing down and social distancing in effect, many are feeling worried and disconnected. You can touch your community straight through those barriers: reach out and encourage friends, family, and neighbors alike by phone, text, email or a little classic snail mail. Each point of contact is a wonderful opportunity for them to share in your peace!
TWR360 is a wealth of encouraging resources which can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Check it out, fill your spiritual cup, and feel free to share it with friends! You can even listen to our special report, “The Coronavirus — What You Need to Know,” which discusses the outbreak from both a practical and biblical standpoint.
One very practical way you can spare our friendly staff in Donor Services (and perhaps a few trees) is to switch to online giving! Not only does it help relieve mounting pressure on mail carriers, but it keeps our lovely staff from handling physical paper, therefore reducing their exposure to any potential harm associated with the coronavirus. Win win all around!
Our ministry and others like it rely on you to keep the message going, and now more than ever, the people need to hear it! They need comfort, encouragement, hope and assurance — and these can only be found in Christ. If you’ve been supporting TWR or the church, we encourage you to continue your giving, and thank you for all that you do to further the Great Commission. We could not do it without you!