There’s no doubt, the COVID-19 virus is changing . . . everything. And even a “glass-half-full” person like me can’t sugar-coat the trials many are facing right now.
To even talk of my family’s situation is trivial. Like many, we’ve had a few inconveniences. But to this point, our home is untouched. So, I think of friends seeing personal losses. Their loved ones, no longer with us. Jobs lost, perhaps never to return. Others working harder than they ever imagined possible, whether driving a truck or serving in a healthcare facility.
And, just when we began to think we would be on the upswing by Easter, we’re told to “shelter in place”—as if a tornado is on the way—until April 30. Some governors, such as Virginia’s, closed commerce and activities until at least June 10.
As a community we ask, “When will it end?” The answer comes back, “We don’t know.”
“We don’t know” can feel like a long time.
In the pregnancy help community, some of us can keep doors open, for now. Others of us may have closed our doors, but we’re re-imagining services, remaining nimble and creative as the crisis continues.
The point? Though we don’t know how long this will go on, we’re learning. A lot.
A few cases in point:
Last year our friends at Heritage House unveiled Bright Course, an application taking the precepts from Earn While You Learn online. While BrightCourse was most often delivered to clients during visits to pregnancy help centers and maternity homes, its capability was boundless. Today, clients are accessing Bright Course anywhere—because of the ingenuity and foresight Brandon Monahan and his team.
What are we learning? An idea we have today—just like the Heritage House team developed years ago—may have a huge impact when we least expect it. Let’s learn today, so we can better serve tomorrow.
Donors stepping up
Each day I’m hearing stories of unexpected donors stepping up to support pregnancy help organizations. One executive director got a call from a donor who said, “I’m covering next month’s budget for you. And if you need me to, I can pick up the next two or three months, too.”
Another center got a check for $500 from someone who had never given before—because they saw the need in the community for their services during this time.
What are we learning? Even in the darkest of economic times, we might see the most surprising people step up and give.
A time for relationships
One email I received was from an executive director, determined to use this time to reach out and connect with those supporting the ministry. She understands well that fundraising is ministry, too.
As she is calling these donors, she builds friendships which will last far beyond this time. Some, she has prayed for. To others she offered a word of encouragement. And some encouraged her. And yes, several used the phone call to express that more financial support is on the way.
What are we learning? Development is not some “necessary evil” we must endure so we can do the work of ministry. No, development is ministry, period. When we truly love and encourage those who support us financially, we are offering them ministry, just like we do our clients.
A testing of our faith
Personally, Jenn (my lovely wife) and I are hearing from many Christian friends, admitting privately to us that they are scared. They are fearful of job loss and financial trials, of family members in harm’s way, of their own personal safety during this time.
It would be easy to quote a Bible verse and tell them “Do not worry about tomorrow,” but this is not what they need. Instead, they need someone to come alongside and say, “I get it. We’re with you.”
The truth is, it’s okay to be concerned. And yes, it’s okay to be worried. Let me explain, because this may fly in the face of our conventional Christian thinking.
Though it is an extreme example, I think of the soldiers who stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day. They knew their assault on German fortifications would cost many lives, perhaps their own. If those young men weren’t scared, they were better men than I will ever be.
Yet, they jumped out of those small boats and ran directly into enemy fire. They charged, even as they shook with fear.
With this example in mind, we’re telling friends—and anyone—that it’s not a “sin” to be fearful or worried as we face the unknown. But instead of fretting over our feelings, the true test of our faith is whether we trust God enough to take any actions He calls us to.
Am I making decisions of faith, even if I fear? That’s the question. Because in the end, perhaps God is not as concerned about how we feel as He is about what we do.
Tweet This: Am I making decisions of faith, even if I fear? In the end, perhaps God isn't as concerned about how we feel as He is about what we do.
What are we learning about faith? Our organizations face tough decisions regarding clients, staffing, budgets, events and more. There is no manual which addresses, “How to . . .” during a worldwide pandemic.
Every situation is different, and we’re learning that we must have flexibility, creativity and . . . faith, as we deal with rapidly changing circumstances.
Tweet This: Every situation is different & we're learning that we must have flexibility, creativity & faith as we deal w/rapidly changing circumstances
We don’t know what the next few weeks or months hold for us. Any prediction today could look foolish tomorrow.
But we do know this is an opportunity to learn new approaches, to better understand those who support us, and to expand our faith. And, we know that seizing these opportunities today builds a better tomorrow—even as we pray that “tomorrow” gets here soon.