I cannot believe we are already into the second month of this new year. January passed very quickly for me. I have a feeling that all of 2021 might pass quickly as well. Because January was a bit quiet in many ways and was used as a time of evaluation, prayer and planning for us, this is probably going to be a slightly shorter newsletter than usual. I will address some of the larger issues that have come up in our times of prayer and discussion during January as well as looking forward to February and the rest of the year.
I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank you for your interest in what the Lord is leading us to do as individuals and an organisation, as well as for your ongoing prayers, encouragement, and support.
Well, it wouldn’t be a monthly update without mentioning COVID. We here in the UK continue under extremely strict quarantine rules with very little direct interaction allowed. It is my understanding that most countries in Europe at the moment are experiencing similar restrictions. As our situation is quite different from what is happening in most areas of the USA (and most of our readers are in the USA), I should explain that when I said we are in strict quarantine rules (or “lockdown”) that is really what that means. No non-essential stores of any kind are open and even in supermarkets sections of the store selling “non-essential” items are actually closed off. No restaurants, cafes, or pubs are open (except for takeaway). No barbers or beauty salons are open. No gyms or indoor exercise areas are open. No entertainment venues are open (cinemas, theatres, etc.) No museums, monuments or historical buildings are open. No outdoor attractions (such as castles, botanic gardens, etc.) are open. Nothing is open, and the rules for social interaction and mixing of households is very restrictive (I personally have not seen any colleagues or friends physically since Christmas day). We cannot drive anywhere for recreation or exercise (those must be within walking distance of our homes), and we can be stopped by police when travelling to determine if we have a legitimate reason for being where we happen to be at the time. Face masks are required in all indoor spaces as well as the use of hand sanitiser upon entering an indoor space—NO EXCEPTIONS. It’s complete lockdown and since December 22nd (Christmas Day was allowed some limited interaction with a set number of other people, but only for that one day). Again, similar restrictions are also observed in many other European countries at the moment.
I am not sharing this as a complaint, though I certainly wish circumstances allowed more interaction. Most people here are keen to do whatever it takes to comply with restrictions, which are designed to bring us out of the worst of this crisis and back to some sense of “normal,” whatever that might mean post-COVID. I share this simply to give an accurate view for those outside of the UK and Europe of what life is like at the moment and continuing to be for the foreseeable future. Obviously, this makes local ministry exceedingly difficult. However, we are also trying to stay as busy and productive as possible. We all could really use your prayers.
One point of good news, at least here in the UK, is the speed with which the government has rolled out the various vaccines. They have really made great strides in this regard, and this initiative continues to move forward. Personally, I’m close to the bottom of the list of those at-risk groups of people, who are prioritised for the vaccine (due to age or medical condition), but I’m hopeful that my turn will come in March or so. We are grateful for the successful rollout of the vaccines so far, and we are also praying that other countries will follow this example.
Month of discernment
As I mentioned previously, I had asked for our team on field here in Wales to join me in January for a time for discernment and reflection over our activities during 2020 and how we might proceed in 2021. To be honest, the latter half of that exercise is ongoing. In 2020, we did institute a number of changes with the website and how we communicate with those of you who are our supporters and partners, as well as with each other here on the field. We would like to build on the positive aspects of these changes and also move forward with some new initiatives. I will be sharing more over the months to come regarding some of these matters.
Though this has been more of an internal exercise with those of us on the Team here on-field, I would like to invite those of you who are reading this newsletter to feel free to send me some of your ideas for Linguæ Christi for 2021. How can we do a better job of communicating with you, sharing the vision and giving those whom God may be calling to missionary service an opportunity to serve and to be involved? If you have any ideas for us in this regard, please, send them to me at [email protected].
Personal medical issues
I’d just like to take another personal moment to thank you all for praying for me and my various medical/dental issues over January. I am not completely over everything, but I am significantly better than I was and at least in the process of receiving the necessary treatments. Thank you for praying.