The Impact of COVID-19
The situation that we are experiencing in our countries, and throughout the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic is something that we have never previously experienced. It is also new to those in positions of leadership in our governments. Many restrictions have been put in place to try to prevent the spread of this virus and to keep people safe. As a result, people have been living through a difficult time with many challenges, including financial difficulties for many.
As believers, we have experienced these challenges in our daily lives. In addition, we have felt the absence of fellowship and gathering at our churches for services and other occasions. We long for the opportunity to again freely gather. At the same time, this has served to remind us of how important and precious the fellowship of God’s children is in our lives. We also can be thankful that, through the means of technology, God has provided the possibilities for us to hear His word and to connect with loved ones.
As individuals, we can have many different thoughts and viewpoints on the approach that has been taken in dealing with this situation and on the current restrictions that the government has put in place. Certainly, we can each have our own opinions, which we can peacefully express. At the same time, we want to respect the opinions of others and, in particular, we do not want to allow our differing opinions to break the love between believers.
God’s Word teaches us how we should conduct ourselves with regard to our country, government, and leaders. Apostle Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Rom. 13:1) He goes on to encourage the believers not to resist our government but to respect it “for conscience sake.” Paul says of someone in a position of authority, “For he is the minister of God to thee for good.” (Rom. 13:4) It is good for us to remember that, as parents and elders, how we speak about our government and those in authority sets an example for our children and youth.
Again quoting Apostle Paul, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:1,2). Paul did not say to pray only for those whose positions we support. God can effect good from our government regardless of who may be in positions of power.We may think that some current guidelines of the government are unnecessary or may have other thoughts as to what should be done. However, it seems that the proper and safe way to respond is to follow the instructions of the government. These guidelines vary between countries, States, and Provinces. Local congregations can freely follow those guidelines that are applicable to them and also be free to decide on their best course as restrictions are lifted.
We want to remember that God, who allows those in our government to serve, also knows all that is happening in the world, in our countries, and in our lives. We can encourage each other to trust in God. He knows our needs and will take care of His children. We want to be patient and remember to pray to God that He who is almighty would take care of us and His kingdom and also guide our countries and our leaders.
The Board and staff of the LLC are continuing to monitor the current situation and restrictions and their impact on all aspects of our work and planned events. We also are doing this together with our sister organizations in Finland, Sweden, and other countries where the believers are served. Thus far, our Winter and Summer Services have been moved to online events, our May camp activities have been cancelled, and the LLC Language Camp has been cancelled. By mid-May, a decision will be made regarding June camp activities. A special priority will be given to our Confirmation Camps and contingency plans will be prepared in case changes must be made in these special events. We will keep the congregations informed of any developments and changes as we go forward.
May God continue to bless us and keep us all in His care.
Jim Frantti, LLC Board Chairman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Jurmu, LLC Executive Director, email@example.com