When the coronavirus started spreading across Europe, the country of Kosovo implemented a strict lockdown, assigning each individual a specific time slot that they could leave their homes each day. Cases were well-maintained and lessening when Kosovo gained an all-new government. When Kosovo finally opened back up, case numbers grew quickly, leading them to their current situation of re-evaluation during this unpredictable time. Our partners in Kosovo have been faced with the task of faithfulness among all these adjustments, as the original patterns of their lives and ministries are being modified daily.
Their church could choose to fret and despair, or rest and adapt. One of the missionaries said of the church’s experience, “We were very busy before, and it felt like the Lord was saying to just relax, to take a break from doing things ourselves, and trust Him to do His work. Even if it was just one meeting with one person, instead of many a week, He can use this.” The church community banded together to serve in the small ways that were available to them, trusting God to make use of the efforts.
Families of the church have been able to meet together online, show movies of Bible stories through Facebook watch parties, and were given permission to stop by homes to provide loads of flour and food to the community. (Flour in Kosovo was disappearing quickly, much like toilet paper in the US!) Perhaps one of the most impactful decisions they made was to begin a 24-hour prayer chain. The involvement was astounding. Two or three people began signing up per slot to pray every hour of every day, meaning the country of Kosovo had this church interceding for them every single hour, nonstop, for months.
The church would message the encouragements and lessons the Lord was teaching them through prayer to each other each week. One message that came in had a song attached, “How Can I Keep from Singing?” A comment that came with it was this: share one reason that you’re still singing. The thread was filled with responses, including:
“I sing because Jesus is alive and with us.”
“Because we trust that God is in control.”
“Because His throne and Kingdom will not be shaken.”
“I sing because Jesus is our shield, and my song.”
“Because Jesus is the Lord of heaven and of earth.”
“The blood of Jesus is the vaccine that has healed me from sin.”
“Because He is good.”
“I sing because He has opened the gates to the Holy of Holies, and I can come to the throne of the Father and be safe to worship.”
We sing because He is our song. We sing because Christ made it possible to sing bravely before the trustworthy throne of the Father. Reading these, notice that none of them are based on the progress of their circumstances. Their changes and challenges continued, but so did the truth of God. He is the only constant in a world that changes by the second, and what a great hope we have in that reliability. The question is compelling and remains open for all of us. Will we keep singing? Turn your thoughts onto the truth of God, and you may find yourself asking how you could ever resist.
– Haley Henson, Ten2 2020 Participant & Storyteller