“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13
Like all of you, our lives at Rosedale International are changing day by day—sometimes even hour by hour—as we respond to the spread of COVID-19. We’ve been monitoring the situation closely for weeks, knowing that the global nature of our mission creates some greater challenges than some will experience.
Three weeks ago, we began the process of bringing one of our REACH teams home from Asia, and that team is now finishing up a fourteen-day self-quarantine here in Columbus. Things have escalated greatly here in the US since then, and we made the decision to ask all RI office staff to work remotely, except for a few needed at the RIC. Further, we began working to bring the rest of our international REACH teams home as soon as possible. Lord willing, five more teams will arrive within the next ten days to be quarantined at the RIC for two weeks.
Some of our long term workers are in countries with now-closed borders. Some are caught with expiring visas but are unable to take the necessary actions to renew them. Some are high-risk in terms of age or health. Here in the US, we continue to pay close attention to developments and are following protocols to help keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy.
We urge you to pray with us for God to show mercy. I’ve included some prayer requests below and will be updating items as things progress. These updates will also be available on Facebook and Instagram if you would like to follow us there.
I’ve been thinking about what new or increased opportunities are before us as a result of this pandemic. Today I video-chatted with a group of Anabaptist mission leaders to discuss the church’s response to the crisis. The church has often led the way in caring for the harassed and helpless of the world, and today is a new opportunity for us to step up with faith and courage. God is calling us to respond in this time of deep uncertainty with both words and actions of love, peace, and hope. Though travel is limited, we are blessed to be able to connect virtually with people all over the world. And we all live in communities where people need extra support and assistance. This is the time to be people of prayer, people of compassion, people who lay our lives down for others.
We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. What are you doing to bring God’s kingdom to your corner of the world in this time of crisis? How are you helping your church respond in your community? Share your stories and let’s encourage one another.
Prayer Request and Updates
Monday – March 23, 2020 | REACH Team Indochina & Thailand
- The last two REACH teams – Indochina and Thailand – arrived just after midnight. Aside from one cancelled flight, they had smooth travels and made it through their health checks.
- We are so grateful for your prayers and for the ways God provided for all of our teams and workers over the last few weeks as they made their way back to the U.S.
Sunday – March 22, 2020 | REACH Team Phoenix & Zambia
- Team Phoenix arrived bright and early this morning, just a little before 5am!
- Team Zambia landed around 10:00 PM and have safely arrive at the RIC.
- Spain and Ecuador have announced a state of emergency. Our workers in those countries cannot leave home except for the most essential needs. Pray especially for the 29 children at the Shekinah Foundation and the staff caring for them.
- Any of the REACH participants could be quarantined in transit or after health screenings upon arrival. Pray for good health, wisdom, and good communication as the teams travel. Pray that teams will be able to stay together, and will not be separated at any health screening checkpoints.
- Pray for our Security Coordinator and the Short-Term Program Staff as they have to remain alert to ever-changing circumstances and make quick decisions as the REACH teams travel.
- Several workers on the field are considered higher risk because of present or ongoing health conditions. Please pray special protection and peace over them and their families.
Saturday – March 20, 2020 | Three REACH Teams
- Update to yesterday’s urgent prayer request: Praise God, everything is still scheduled! The first flight went as scheduled and the key flight takes off around 4pm EST today, so please continue to pray that the way out of this region remains clear! We know your prayers are making a difference!
- Today, the REACH teams in Thailand, Indochina, and Zambia will be on their way home. Please pray for safe travels, no issues at health checkpoints, and that they would make all of their connections. Flights are being cancelled without warning all over the world, but we believe that God is going to make a way for these teams.
Friday – March 20, 2020 | Requests & Updates
- Please pray for an urgent situation involving a scheduled flight returning to the US. Indications are that it will be canceled, but we serve a God who can hold doors open even when governments are trying to close them. Pray that this route home remains open for 30 more hours!
- Update regarding the eight workers facing visa renewal issues: One worker is currently awaiting a flight back to the States, while the other seven will be able to remain in country. This was a very sudden and very difficult decision for the worker who is leaving, but to do otherwise might have risked their ability to serve in the region long-term. Pray for this worker as they temporarily relocate back to the States, especially for safe travels home and for peace during a season of much upheaval. Pray that God will water and grow the seeds that have been planted while this worker is away.
- Please pray for REACH Team Phoenix. Due to the rapidly developing situation in the US, the decision was made this afternoon to have them return to Ohio. They had two hours to say goodbyes and pack. Please pray for safety as they spend two very long days driving. Ask that they would have no car trouble and that roads between Arizona and Ohio will remain open and clear.
- J & D arrived from Asia this afternoon and they are setting in for a time of self-quarantine.
Thursday – March 19, 2020 | Return from Asia
- J & D are returning from Asia today due to uncertainties that their school will reopen for regular classes. Pray for safety and protection as they make their way home.
Thursday – March 19, 2020 | REACH Team Albania & Israel
- REACH Team Albania has arrived safe and sound! Thank you so much for all your prayers as they made the journey! Everything went smoothly and they passed their health checks in record time. We are thankful for God’s provision for them these last few days.
- Please pray for REACH Team Israel as they begin their trek back to the States tonight. One of their connections is tight, so please pray that they have no problems getting from one flight to the next. Continue to ask for good health, no problems during health screenings, and a safe journey. We will update you when they arrive in Ohio!
Wednesday – March 18, 2020 | Visa Renewals
- Please pray for eight workers who found out today that visa renewal issues may force them to temporarily leave their country of service. The next two days are critical as we assess options, including whether it is even possible for them to fly back to North America. Global travel restrictions and the suspension of government services are complicating the lives of many people serving abroad. We serve a big God; ask that he will lead us as we seek a way forward!
Tuesday – March 17, 2020 | REACH Team Albania
- Please pray for the Albania REACH team today as they head to the airport for their flight home. Their country has placed extreme restrictions on public and private transportation, and all cars traveling to the airport must have special approval and documentation. The team has been unable to obtain this approval, despite trying for several days. Pray that they have no problems and do not get stopped at any checkpoints. They are on one of the last flights before their airline suspends all operations, so pray that they make their connections, for good health to pass all health screenings, and for protection as they transit through different airports.
Monday – March 16, 2020 | REACH Teams Returning
- We have made the decision to bring all of our overseas REACH teams back to the states. This was a very difficult decision, and one which we did not make lightly. Understandably, our teams are sad to be leaving their different locations and the people they have come to know and love. This will not be an easy transition for them. Please pray for each team as they travel back to the U.S. International travel is unpredictable at this time, so pray that each team would be given grace and safety, that they would make their connections, and finally for their readjustment to life in the states. Pray for the leaders as they lead their teams, that they would have clear minds and wisdom as they journey home. Please lift up the entire REACH program at this time as we seek God and his purposes during a time of fear and frustration. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Friday – March 13, 2020 | Ride for Missions Florida
- RI and the Ride for Missions Florida coordinators have decided to cancel this year’s event set to take place March 27-29. We are deeply grateful to all of the participants, individuals, and businesses that have partnered with RI to make the ride a success – despite not being able to be together.
Today I went to the MinuteClinic at CVS because of a persistent cough that has been keeping me up at night. It turns out that I “only” have pneumonia. I don’t think that I’ve ever been so glad to receive bad news!
I wore my Rosedale Bible College sweatshirt to the appointment, which caught the interest of the nurse. I learned that her name is Kemi, that she is a mother of four, and that she is a Christian from Nigeria. She is struggling to discern whether she should continue working as a nurse in this season. She recognizes that she is performing a valuable service, but she also recognizes that she is especially vulnerable; she is pregnant with twins, and so her immune system is suppressed.
I prayed with Kemi in the tiny “MinuteClinic” room, that the Lord would protect her and give her strength, that the Holy Spirit would guide her and empower her for kingdom witness, and that any spirit of fear would be cast out from her home. Although she was wearing a face-mask, her eyes were smiling when we finished. “No one has prayed for me like that in a long time!”
When you leave home to meet your own needs, pray that God will create opportunities to strengthen and encourage others. He will!
Please be alert to the needs of Single Parent families especially Single moms in your communities. We invite you ask them how you can help. Many of them are working 2 jobs or more and now may have little to no income at all. Please reach with the Father’s love and compassion to literally millions in this country, many in our own neighborhoods.
Thank you for this reminder to reach out and care for the single parents in our lives. Lord, prompt us to know how to love these families during this time.