I thought it might be interesting to write a post from here in the midst of the pandemic of the corona virus, in the mayhem. And that maybe it would bring some hope. I have no idea what will happen in the next month, especially as the peak of the virus isn't meant to hit here until two weeks from now, but here we are.
The UK doesn't have as many sanctions as other nations in Europe, but starting next weekend, gatherings of more than 100 people will be discouraged (if not outright prohibited). We've decided that it would be prudent not to meet as a church or to do most of our church-wide activities throughout next week, so we are definitely giving it everything we've got this weekend, while we still can.
Let me tell you, the atmosphere over London is thick. As missionaries, it is always the crisis that make us think twice. While most people decide escape routes, we ask God for the wisdom in how to bring hope and light into situations. In the summer of the terror attacks, we had plans for if things went wrong, but we also decided not to evacuate London. We chose to stay, even had things escalated, to be where people needed Jesus most.
That leads us to corona virus. How can we be responsible, but not be afraid? Perfect love casts our fear, but God also asks us to be wise. So we scoured Camden for hand sanitiser and made signs to take out with us tonight that asked people if they wanted prayer for anxiety, health, mental health, worries, etc. And the turnout was more than we expected.
Before we even got outside, one of our longtime homeless friends stumbled into our shop, out of her mind with fear. We prayed and spoke with her for two hours as she said goodbye to things that had chained her and re-dedicated herself to Jesus. We even helped her get rid of some of a crystal that she was wearing to ward off evil spirits. Then we headed up to our yellow tent outside of Camden Town Station, where the rest of our Saturday night crew were spread out across the square, praying for people.
People are so open in London right now. Whether they want to lash out in anger or bravely admit their fear, they are open. So many people stopped who would normally have smiled and muttered something about the weather. We prayed, we invited them to church, and sometimes we even gave them a quick squeeze (and then doused ourselves in hand sanitiser). It's odd how people need so much reassurance when fear hangs so thickly in the air. And at the same time, it's a massive privilege to get to be the ones who reassure them. We have a hope (and an anchor...) that we can share with them, and here they are, ready to hear about him. Finally!
So yes, corona virus is a pandemic. It's frightening. But corona translates to crown, and I know exactly where I'm meant to put my crowns - at the feet of Jesus.