By Dan Ballast
In March, my wife, Dina, and I traveled from our home in the Philippines to the United States leaving behind our two boys, Josiah (15) and Jeremiah (12), and the intentional community of 21 people where we live at Shepherd’s Home of Servant Leadership. During our trip, the world dramatically changed due to COVID19, and our flights back to the Philippines were repeatedly cancelled. We entered a time of lock down, waiting and uncertainty. We felt cut off from our family and our ministry, but God opened our eyes to new ways to live out His call in our lives.
Dina is called to make a safe place for women – and her dream was being lived out primarily through a community center and café back at Shepherd’s Home. But we are learning that just because we are not there, her call continues. Instead of the community center in one specific place, she has created an on-line group of 20 women from all around the Philippines who are coming together. Conversation and connection continue. God is using this group to richly bless these women, many of whom are struggling. God has shown Dina another way.
In my case, God has called me to walk with men who face struggles with sexual addictions. Usually this has taken the form of face to face meetings and times of conversation and prayer. This did not seem possible being half a world away. But God put two young men in the Philippines on my heart during this time and I reached out. We were able to connect by Zoom, to share our lives and our struggles, and I now communicate with them every couple of days. Even from a distance we work to keep each other accountable.
So, we are learning it is possible to live the life we are called to, even during a pandemic. Technology can be used for great good. But I am also aware of how a world connected by social media, constant news streams, and all kinds of digital “entertainment” can be a very dark place. Yet, for God’s children, I really believe this is the great challenge of this time – to use the tools at our disposal to continue to build relationships, be ministers of reconciliation and to love as He loves. It may be in new and unexpected ways, but if we will respond to God’s call in each of our lives, He will make the way.