Merry Christmas! The preparatory season of Advent, with its emphasis on waiting and hopeful expectation, seems pointedly relevant this year.
We, including our brothers and sisters in Asia, are wearily waiting for the Covid-19 pandemic to subside. We wait for vaccines to be distributed, ushering in some new form of normalcy in 2021. Our US-based staff wait for international borders to reopen, so we can resume field visits to have in-person fellowship with our Asian partners.
As we wait on these and other concerns, I pray that you and I would be encouraged by the ways God has brought good out of evil (Gen. 50:20) this year; both in our personal lives, and through the vital role you have played in equipping Harvest Bridge’s missionaries to advance the Lord’s work in and through 2020’s many trials.
Perhaps more than any year since Harvest Bridge was founded, 2020 has clearly demonstrated the vital necessity of our ministry model.
With one fell swoop, the closing of borders made international travel next to impossible, severely hindering humanitarian NGOs that rely on sending outsiders to respond to crises. Most foreign missionaries were forced to evacuate or felt compelled to return home. Of those that remained abroad, many Westerners in particular were stigmatized as vectors of Covid-19. However, Harvest Bridge faced virtually none of these problems because all of our partners are native to the countries where they serve.
Thanks to your generosity and our missionaries’ long track records of fruitful ministry and credibility in their communities, we were superbly positioned to respond with swiftness and adaptability to the needs precipitated by Covid-19.
To date, through your help, our missionaries have provided life-saving aid for well over 13,000 of the poorest, most vulnerable, and most overlooked people in their nations – those who lacked safety nets and saw their livelihoods wiped out due to lockdowns and economic downturns caused by the virus.
As the pandemic has drawn on, our partners have also pivoted to address other context-specific needs – such as helping hundreds of families impoverished by the Covid crisis to afford their children’s school fees, counseling those in distress, and launching several dozen economic development projects to enable those worst-affected to recover and build resilience against future shocks.
There are certainly still settings where non-local, cross-cultural missionaries and Christian NGO workers have important roles to play in advancing God’s work. I myself recently transitioned to a part-time advisory role with Harvest Bridge to pursue a Master’s degree for internationally-focused relief and development professionals.
But for Christians, partnering with local believers wherever possible is critical. History shows that it is ultimately through raising up and equipping a thriving local church that nations like those where Harvest Bridge works will be reached with the Gospel – such that all would have the opportunity to hear and respond to God’s call of repentance, faith, and flourishing new life in Christ.
Our approach has always been, and always will be, to partner with and build up the local church in challenging contexts rather than sending others to do the work. Your support will continue to go extremely far, as our talented missionaries keep putting it to use in highly cost-effective ways.
We at Harvest Bridge clearly saw God’s goodness this year through your partnership – your prayers and generosity have enabled our Asian partners to live the Gospel and advance God’s work as frontline responders to the Covid-19 crisis. We can’t thank you enough for standing with your Asian brothers and sisters in Christ as they continue to take on this challenging work.
As the world’s most difficult year in recent memory draws to a close, we hope you will also have the opportunity to take time to reflect on where the Lord has met you and how He has demonstrated His goodness, despite 2020’s many hardships.
Thank you again for your partnership – we wish you a most blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Andrew David, Senior Adviser