Cedric C

During this two-year pandemic a lot of us have been working remotely from home. But what about a work from home overseas worker? Can an overseas worker do the work of missions effectively without physically being on the field? While many workers have managed to get back to their fields of service, what should the large number of workers who still cannot get back do in the meantime? The apostle Paul is the most well-known example of a missionary in the Bible who was sometimes a remote worker.

Have you ever stopped to think that just about all of Paul’s letters were correspondence with the churches that he planted over the course of his missionary journeys? These letters were a very important part of Paul’s missionary work. When Paul could not be on site, he kept up deep communication: discipling them, building up the church leaders, answering specific theological questions, confronting conflicts, and taking time to personally greet individuals—all from afar. Secondly, he constantly prayed for them. Thirdly, he sent his missionary coworkers who were able to serve in person; for example Timothy who Paul sent the Ephesians while he was in prison. Still, even though remote missions was effective, there is no doubt that many things could not be done well remotely, and so he longed to see each church in person and made plans to visit them.

Because of the pandemic, for the last 18 months I have become a remote worker. Besides providing administrative, financial, strategic, and spiritual support to our coworkers in China, I am also still intimately involved in the Zhaojue HIV project. The HIV peer counsellor group that I helped form while in China is thriving and even expanding their outreach to bring their message of HIV prevention to one of Zhaojue’s largest high schools. In preparation for this training, I helped to create the teaching materials and met with the peer counselling team over Zoom. For the last 2 years, I have been keeping in touch by WeChat, praying for them and mobilising others to pray for them.

While I can do all this remotely, like Paul, I long to go back and be able to see them in person. In the meantime, during this season of physical separation, I will continue to use any means of communication and prayer to support them.