A Summer Like No Other
Jul 10, 2020 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
“Houston, we have a problem.”
Remember those famous words from Apollo 13? As the crew was hurtling through space toward a landing on the moon, a routine stirring of the oxygen tanks sparked an explosion, leaving the spacecraft crippled and far from home. Yet despite the difficulty, there was still a mission to complete. Houston needed to find a way to get Apollo safely back to earth, otherwise, precious lives would be lost.
A key scene in the movie showed the team at mission control piling a table with an odd collection of supplies. “You have to fix the problem with what is on this table,” one of them said, “because that is all they have up there.”
None of us has called Houston lately, but we have experienced an explosion of another sort as Covid-19 spread across China, then Europe, then around the world. As we head into the summer, normally one of the most fruitful times of ministry for the Josiah Venture team, this is the reality we face:
- 60 summer interns from the US and Canada—canceled
- 900 short term workers from churches to serve at JV summer camps—canceled
- Certainty about the future—nonexistent
Yet, young people still need to be reached with the gospel. There is still a mission to complete, and we have to solve the problem with what is on the table. Over the last months, the Josiah Venture team has been working hard to develop outreach plans for a summer without the help of the almost 1,000 people who normally join us.
In the months of July and August, a number of bold experiments are underway, including:
- Online training for small group leaders in Slovakia
- Fishing trips in Albania to teach youth leaders how to fish for men
- A nationwide “Amazing Race” in Ukraine and Romania designed to help young people share the gospel with their peers
- “Reconnect” city festivals in Slovenia to gather bored and restless young people who are longing for human connection—in a safer outside environment
- Soccer outreach in villages in Estonia
- 46 week-long evangelistic camps that will still take place with our team and volunteers from Europe.
Just like the Apollo 13 mission, there is no guarantee of success. Conditions are still unstable and our best plans could end up discarded. But, we have a much better “mission control” than Houston, and we are trusting our commander, who knows how to complete HIS mission.
In this time, more than ever, we are grateful for your prayers.
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