Letter from the Mission Committee (July 29, 2020)
Dear Skillman Family,
Greetings from the Skillman Mission Committee. We miss you all dearly and cannot wait for the day when we can all embrace each other as brothers and sisters and have fellowship together. During this time of social distancing and virtual communications, we in the Mission Committee have continued to monitor our foreign missionaries around the world to see how they are dealing with the pandemic in their respective regions of the globe. We have been greatly encouraged to see that the Covid-19 pandemic has not dampened the enthusiasm of those faith communities, nor has the pandemic reduced their desire to worship and praise God during these uncertain times.
The congregations which our foreign missionaries serve continue to deal with the same seemingly endless uncertainties which we deal with. Sergyi and Sveta Budagovski’s Ukraine has extended its national quarantine restrictions until August 31st, mandating face-masks and certain social distancing measures, such as numerical limits on congregating indoors. As you may imagine, many of the Budagovskis’ flock are very poor and are greatly affected by the pandemic. Over this summer, support from Skillman enabled the Budagovski’s to purchase 200 reusable masks for the members of his congregation and to provide temporary meals and assistance. Sergyi and Sveta are extremely grateful for the support from Skillman and always express their love for our church family.
Much like the Ukraine, Zimbabwe has been under a nationwide lockdown since March 30th. Though certain social distancing restrictions have been eased since the spring, church services are limited to an hour at a time, and no more than 50 congregants can gather in one setting. Even during stricter lockdown restrictions, which even saw instances of excessive force from law enforcement to maintain social distancing, many members of Donivert and Josephine Khata’s congregations managed to meet in their homes for time of worship and Bible study. They have supported hundreds by providing meals as many of the congregation work in informal sectors that were affected deeply by the nationwide lockdown. An impoverished nation has been rendered even more impoverished by this pandemic. We ask that Skillman be especially prayerful that the Khata’s and their congregants be blessed in spite of the instability that this pandemic is bringing to their country.
In spite of danger and disease, there is wonderful news of new congregations forming in Zambia, thanks to the work of Barry and Ephraim Phiri. Though their home country is currently experiencing an increase in Covid-19 cases, they are still able to reach out to their Christian communities by practicing social distancing in groups of no more than 50 people. This outreach has resulted in two church plants forming outside of Chipata City, Zambia. We are overjoyed to hear of their success in spreading the Gospel. The Phiri’s watch CNN daily to keep track of the pandemic in America, and they want us to know that they are prayerful for all of us here in the States.
Please keep each one of these missionaries and their families in your prayers as they continue to wade through these uncertain times while tending to their flock. We in the committee are grateful for the continued support Skillman has provided to these individuals, which enables them to support their congregations in very tangible ways during this time. We hope to share more of these updates with you in the coming months and spread the good news of congregations around the world thriving even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Gordon Green and the Mission Committee