Our Missionary in Residence Update by Kevin Avery

In the 1990s, I appreciated the song by Twila Paris called Cry for the Desert. But it wasn’t until recent months that I’ve fully grasped Twila’s cry. India has been in dire straits during a second wave of COVID-19. Experts are referring to it as India’s Tsunami Pandemic. Pastors, church members and even whole fellowships have been succumbing to the grips of the virus. 

When churches in Nagpur, India, asked for my help, I was eager to assist in any way I could. For the last few weeks, I have been supporting Indian churches in areas of bereavement and spiritual care. In our first Zoom gathering, I began teaching how we can live out the literal meaning of compassion, “to suffer together.” As God’s people, we want to be an extension of the Lord’s comfort and compassion. In other words, we pray and weep with those who weep. Soon, I will continue with this teaching, helping the churches live out their “Project Compassion.” 

Though we are far away geographically from India, I am brought to tears when I think of the Indian church members extending compassion, literally putting their lives at risk. I promised the pastors we would compassionately pray for them, and this is what we’re doing. On Monday, June 7, we even held a special Zoom conference call to pray for India and Nepal. 

Although in different circumstances, our friends in Tanzania and Pakistan also need help. Throughout Asia and Africa, so many churches, families and orphans are facing economic hardships due to COVID. Starvation is the biggest threat for them. I’m not exactly sure how, but we pray we can be involved in relieving the suffering of many. As Christ has shown us, our good news needs to be interwoven with compassionate care.

In addition to praying for and serving the nations as a “resident missionary,” I am serving as a communications manager in Lausanne’s Disability Concerns. I write newsletters focusing on global disability ministry, and I help edit the “Disability in Mission” blog hosted by Joni and Friends. Also, through Facebook and Zoom, I am able to keep teaching through Tender Creation, the devotional I wrote last year. Likewise, starting this week, I will be teaching youth critical thinking skills so that they won’t be knocked over when confronted by different worldviews. In all these ways of “resident” ministry, I am privileged to serve, pray, and love. Thank you for praying for us. May God uplift you all.

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