The passage that has been my focus in this season is 2 Kings 6:8-23. The armies of the Arameans surround Elisha, and his servant sees an impossible situation.
"Oh no, my Lord, what shall we do?" he exclaims in verse 15.
This is very much the exclamation of the world around us at this time, and in a sense, we feel a bit like Elisha's servant. Those of us in the US, UK and Latin America have been hard hit, and although New Zealand has the pandemic under control, the economic consequences are affecting us all. Yet in this scripture, Elisha has a word from the Lord for us in verse 16: "Don't be afraid..."
Perhaps, like the servant, we don't see the purpose of this time, but God has a different perspective.
Elisha prays to God to "Open his eyes Lord that he may see…" and all of a sudden, the spiritual reality is made manifest around them. The armies of the Lord had surrounded the Arameans!
The State of our Mission Here
In 2019 I was asked to be in charge of mission mobilisation for Costa Rica on behalf of a Latin American wide movement, and it has been a privilege to be involved in these serious strategic conversations. Leaders all over Latin America and the World are asking "Is it the end of the Mission of God as we know it?"
Many of you know that my father, Ray Miller, has developed an online Mission Training course. His aim over the last seven years was to create a specialised Masters Degree to equip a rising generation of Latin American missionaries for the needs of an ever-changing world.
Our timing could not have been better. Just before the lockdown started, we launched this Masters degree in "Intercultural Development". This initiative fits the need of the whole continent at a time when those called to Mission cannot travel. We are also offering Masters courses in Biblical studies, leadership and counselling for local church pastors.
Andy and his family having a "Blue Day Party" during Lockdown
I am taking part as one of the students in the new Master's degree as a guinea pig, as well as being on the development team. For this course, we will be initially targeting Mission Leaders. However, the aim is to eventually open it up to those professional graduates who are looking for biblical and missions training. We are very excited about the prospect of expansion.
What we See
This time is a massive opportunity for the Church. I feel like Elisha's servant looking at the Syrian army all around them but then suddenly seeing that God's angelic troops had them all surrounded. God is for us and is challenging the Church to open our eyes of faith!
This pandemic is a massive opportunity for the Gospel into the future. It's like the earthquakes in Canterbury. Though that season was devastating and painful, after going through it I also felt that I belonged in Christchurch and even now I consider myself much more a New Zealander since then. Currently, there is a shared experience and starting point for a conversation of depth about life and death—such a global opportunity for evangelism into the future.
This is what we see:
1) A rising relational movement of Kingdom-minded church and mission leaders focused on transformational co-operation and collaboration for the sake of God's Mission.
2) An increase in the capacity and reach of the Global Church as we suddenly all develop an online presence and upskill our technological connection.
3) Growing dependence on God amid a financial crisis and a re-organisation of priorities towards investing in the eternal purpose of expanding the Mission of God.
4) A season of preparation and online training for the church and mission leadership. To be ready to take advantages of the new opportunities that will be created when borders finally open.
May the Lord open the eyes of your heart today and build up your faith to know that He is for us, may He give you creative solutions and bless you abundantly as we all partner together to expand God's Mission from Latin America to the nations!