On a typical Monday evening we would be headed to our language exchange group. This is where we can practice our Spanish, and Spanish speakers can practice their English. We often play word games, or the leader of the evening will ask a specific question that everyone takes a turn answering. In this space we create an atmosphere of acceptance and care. Believers and non-believers grow in relationship while we encourage one another in our language development.
Monday nights are different now. With COVID-19 surrounding us all, this group has moved to an online forum. Our fellow international worker, Bob, was facilitating the evening and he asked the question, “What do you do when you are stressed?” He pointed out that we are in stressful times, so maybe we can learn some coping techniques from each other while we practice our second language.
People began to honestly share both the beneficial and not so beneficial, ways they are coping with the stress of being isolated in their homes (mostly apartments) – screaming into pillows, eating, reading, watching Netflix, or exercising were a few.
Out of the four Mexican participants this night, we would say that only one has a growing relationship with Jesus and she hit the question that Bob pitched right out of the park! Among other things, she said that when she is stressed, she prays and gives all her concerns to God, letting Him be the One to take care of them and her.
What an awesome opportunity to share what we know is the only way to truly experience peace in a difficult situation! What a reminder to us that, in these times, people have an increased sense of need for a real, caring, and present God.
Many of our friends and acquaintances are reaching out more than usual just to chat and talk about how they are feeling. We are challenged to not only connect, but to not miss the simple opportunities to point people to our God. He is still in control when it feels like our lives are out of control. He can be counted on to be present with us no matter how isolated we are from other people.
Let’s not miss this opportunity!