My morning began with a phone call from Uganda. Richmond and I speak often; he’s become like a brother to me. He’s always encouraging, teaching, and inspiring me.
He was born into extreme poverty but escaped it to become a pastor with a PhD in theology and a voice like James Earl Jones.
“Christmas, especially in the West, is a time of great celebration,” he said. “But here sometimes people never feel more poor. We see people posting, ‘Look what I got for Christmas!’ and it’s very hard when you have so little.”
Right now, Richmond – and thousands of pastors across the developing world – are doing an amazing job taking care of their neighbors. They may not unwrap Christmas presents this year, but they’ll be wrapped in the love of a pastor and a church – food, rent assistance, medical care, prayer, water, hygiene kits, masks, encouragement…
“You’ve been to our community, Shaun!” he laughed. “There is no social distancing! And the whole family with kids in one bedroom with no gadgets!”
That’s so true, I thought. How on earth does social distancing work in a slum??
So this virus is rampaging through the poorest communities where there’s no personal space or proper sanitation. Add to this mess more than half the adults out of work, public school isn’t free, one COVID test costs more than many families earn in a year, and the “dry season” is coming in January to make food more scarce and more expensive.
“This is a God-sized problem that needs a God-sized solution,” he said.
Richmond and his wife Rosette are asking us to pray and to “bring a sacrifice of praise.”
“Sometimes we praise God and worship in abundance and comfort. But right now we worship in the hardship. God is still on the throne! Bring a sacrifice of praise!”
PRAY for pastors and churches across the developing world. The Church is often the only source of assistance in the poorest communities. Ask God for wisdom, for supplies, for the health and strength of these front-line pastors and workers. Not just once, but again and again daily.
PRAISE God for the great things he’s already done! Thank God for those he’s healed! For rent and food he’s already given! For the opportunity this virus has provided to show love and share Jesus with millions right now!
And Richmond didn’t ask for this…but please GIVE. Bring a sacrifice of money ; )
Sponsor a child who has been waiting for over a year to be chosen at www.compassion.com/shaungroveschristmas and that child will be well cared for during this pandemic and beyond by a pastor and church nearby. Richmond was a sponsored child once! Compassion and his sponsor released him from poverty, introduced him to Jesus, and now he’s doing the same for thousands more!
Or give to www.pdnafrica.org, a ministry led by Richmond that encourages and equips pastors and their families in East Africa. Thousands of pastors from across denominations receive theological and leadership training and inspiration from PDN. Right now, PDN is equipping these pastors to meet the physical and spiritual needs of their communities during this pandemic.
Pray, praise, and give. Thanks, friends.