“Quarantine” = The New Norm
Dear Ministry Partners,
Good morning from Jamaica! Thank you for your continuing prayer for us as we all minister during this bizarre time.
The Scriptures are, obviously, applicable to all generations everywhere, but I don’t remember a time during my generation when the message of a specific passage of Scripture seemed more current, more relevant, than Romans 1:18-32 does right now. I won’t do an exposition of the passage, but the issue was man’s conscious rejection of the reality of the most basic attributes of God and God’s response. Man, according to Paul, because he was refusing God the worship of which He was worthy, had been divinely turned over to his immoral passions and a “depraved”, or “worthless”, mind to do unfitting and self-destructive things.
It sure seems like political and educational leadership around the world is making a conscious effort to see how severely it can undermine rational and moral thought and reasonable behavior. That is a challenge to all Christian endeavor because our God, the One True God, is the God of reality, and the Gospel is God’s response to the real problem of sin and the destruction it produces.
I still remember when, what seems like a lifetime ago now, our US president announced a two-week shutdown of travel, business, and education. We all wondered how we would ever recover from such a shock to the world’s economic and social systems (Not casting blame here). Now, shutting down a nation and quarantining its population has become as routine as a three-day holiday weekend the world around.
That reality has become a real ball and chain to us here in Jamaica. We have been under national quarantine three days per week, including Sundays, for the last three weeks, and our Prime Minister just announced last week that it will be extended for another two weeks (Until September 19th)…at least. Five consecutive weeks without having an in-person church service, and we anticipate he will keep extending it without a real end in sight.
The first announcement, almost a month ago now, came on a Friday night before the first Sunday we had more than 10 people who had promised to be in church on a Sunday morning. Needless to say, it was a momentum killer. Nevertheless, we are applying ourselves to reaching out through facebook. We seem to have more Stateside friends and family than Jamaicans watching, but we finally had a very encouraging result this week.
We’ve been distributing business cards with our church facebook page location written on back, and this week a very sharp young lady (30s) responded immediately after the Sunday morning message by saying she loved the teaching, that she would be following us online every week, and is anxious to join us in person once the lockdown is over.
I am not a TV preacher! I would rather speak to an auditorium of 5,000 hostile strangers than to talk to a camera, but we’re doing our best to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit uses content, not cleverness or performance (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) to draw people to Christ. That said, our videos are most effective when the hearer turns them on and then listens while doing other things (Not a pretty picture!).
Please continue to pray that the Lord would give us people, one way or another, to minister to, and young men we can train for future ministry leadership.
We’ve no doubt that you get enough preaching/teaching, but if you would like to see what we are making available to our Jamaican followers, you can type Good News Baptist Ocho Rios into your facebook search and our page will come up with videos available.
Thank you again for your ministry to us, and we pray God would continue to bless your ministry to others.
John & Tammy Cooley