A Call for Community Connection
Hebrews 10: 24-25: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
When my husband John, and I, along with our four-month-old son, Malcolm, moved to Afghanistan in 2005, I didn’t expect to find such a strong community of like-minded believers from across the globe. I should not have been surprised that just like the spirit of God had stirred our hearts to go and be a part of the rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, he had been stirring others’ hearts. God has a way of calling his church to work together. From the time that we landed at the Kabul International Airport, we met people from Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Australia, Holland, South Africa, Finland, and many more countries from the worldwide body of believers, who came to Afghanistan because of a stirring in their hearts.
Many of us were in similar phases of learning language and customs. Stumbling along and making mistakes like saying, “You are a camel,” instead of, “How are you?” Oops. The pronunciation is so close. Many had small children as we did, and we shared about the best places to buy diapers. Some people had been there longer, some had worked in the country many years earlier before the Soviet Union had invaded it. As we all faced struggles to live outside our home countries, there was an underlying current of encouragement and connectedness. To be cliquish, we were all in this together.
Mutual love and support were felt the most when we gathered in house churches once a week. We tried to learn the British melody to many hymns and together everyone tried to sing local worship songs when they only had basic language skills. I always marveled at the various church backgrounds that everyone came from, and yet we were able outside of our own countries to put doctrinal differences aside. I am not going to say there were never conflicts, because of course there were. But the overall focus became on what mattered, the work of love and good deeds that we were being called to as believers to bless the people of Afghanistan. I know without a doubt that John and I were able to be there for almost a decade, because of the weekly encouragement we received in our house church and the many prayers from members of our home church.
Covid has caused many of us to step back from physically attending a church, and many of us in the Rochester area, who are essential workers or married to essential workers, have become fatigued at the extra effort and hours that we have had to work because of the pandemic. The pandemic has emphasized our disconnectedness. As we crawl out of the long shadow it has cast, we need to begin to look around at those within our circle groups. We can share our hearts and listen to others’ hearts. Just like in Afghanistan, we will then find out that we are not alone in our struggles. As we begin to meet again, may we encourage each other to the fact that God does indeed have works of love and good deeds for us to do together in this place and at this time, not failing to meet together.