International (MNN) — The fallout from COVID-19 lockdowns is severe. See our full coronavirus coverage here. Millions have been forced into extreme poverty. Suicide and domestic abuse rates hit record-setting highs across the globe.
And yet, hope remains. Galen* with Global Disciples says, “We’ve seen it in many places where the lockdown allowed people to focus on their neighborhoods and provide a powerful witness of hope, and the kind of joy that has [transformed] many of their lives.”
One believer in Ethiopia used Global Disciples’ training resources to disciple five women from a Muslim background. More about Global Disciples’ approach here.
“While it’s not traditional in Islam for women to provide leadership, these women were willing to step forward,” Galen says.
“They started small house fellowships and within three months, those small house fellowships had multiplied into hundreds. Now, they are a significant network of house churches all across the region.”
In South Asia, lockdowns gave believers opportunities to share the hope and joy that comes only from Christ. Global Disciples partners with a large Christian church in a metropolitan area. “When the [COVID-19] restrictions came, they decided to multiply their church into 97 small house fellowships and committed to meet twice a week,” Galen says.
“The neighbors, most of them Hindus, would hear them singing and praising God and they couldn’t understand it. They said, ‘Don’t you realize what’s going on with this pandemic? How can you be joyful?’”
Believers told their neighbors about Christ, the source of their hope and joy. Then, the Christians invited their Hindu neighbors to join their meetings.
“When the restrictions lifted, many of these house churches had at least one Hindu family who had come to faith in Christ, and were now worshiping in this home fellowship. They started a couple of new fellowships of about 50 new believers where God had moved in a very significant way,” Galen says.
“In these few months of being locked down, their church had grown more rapidly than any time in the last several years.”
You can hear more powerful stories like this when you join Global Disciples’ upcoming virtual event. Learn more here.
“Join us on April 20 and 25 where we will be talking about how many of these people – who are unreached with the Gospel – are within reach of those who know Christ,” Galen says.
*– Name changed for security purposes.
Header image courtesy of Global Disciples.