In the age of COVID, every day people ask the question: Is going out in society worth the risk? Some have chosen to take the gamble for a vacation -- others for a party. We who work in ministry must ask the same question and the stakes are high.
HOPE Literacy's site at World Relief North Texas reopened this week with ESL, citizenship, and digital literacy classes because "some things are just worth taking a risk for," World Relief Volunteer Coordinator, Russell Chun, explains.
Like all schools and public venues, the HOPE site at Ladera Palms Apartments, operated by World Relief North Texas, was forced to shut down last March as the threat of COVID-19 spread through our nation. And while the virus has attacked some people's health, it has impacted the emotional and spiritual well-being of many more. People need the classes to build their future, but even more so, they need the connection to others that the classes bring.
Is it worth the physical health risk to meet the emotional and spiritual needs?
Russell explains that in the early church, there was a group of people known as the "parabolani" or "gamblers." In times of plague when the governing officials had given up and all the healthy had fled a contaminated city, the sick were left to die alone and uncared for. These Christians, known as "gamblers," were willing to take the risk to go in and nurse them, love them, and share Christ -- gambling with their own lives.
"A fearful world needs a fearless church," Russell quotes AW Tozer, and he's lived up to his words, never slowing down during the pandemic. He managed the distribution of over $1 million in food to the needy across Tarrant County in the past five months, organized online school assistance for refugee children, and now he is ready to mobilize his team to begin again teaching language and literacy with the love of Christ.
"We are being smart about reopening, taking reasonable precautions with masks and handwash, but we will not let fear rule us," Russell commented. Having lost friends to the pandemic, he knows the threat is real, but he believes the risk is worth it.
Other HOPE sites plan to open again in January.
In this unique time in history, we all must figure out how to be a fearless church in the face of a fearful world. Some will do it through food distribution, others through ESL, and still others can be the ones who support it through their prayers and financial support.
If you would like to be fearless in your support of HOPE Literacy, you can do so here: https://www.hopeliteracy.org/donate