Matthew 1:23 ESV “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means God with us).
Prior to Jesus’ coming, the Jews were looking for the long-awaited Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression and bring back the glory days of King David. They had waited, and waited, and waited. Then, one night, angels appeared to shepherds in the field and announced that the Savior had come as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. A baby? How could a baby free them from Roman rule? But this baby grew up to be a perfect man, and instead of just freeing the Jews from Roman oppression, he freed all people from sin, death and the devil. Immanuel was with all who believed in Him.
As we look at 2020 in the rearview mirror, what do we see? Social unrest, a contentious election, or a world-wide pandemic and uncertainty? Or do we see new opportunities to connect with people via video conferencing, less hectic schedules, and more completed home projects? Chances are, it is a little bit of both. Our prayer is that you felt Immanuel in your lives this year. That even in the midst of challenges, you felt His presence and direction. We pray God was with you!
Initially, here at Field of Hope, we wondered how our mission would proceed during the pandemic. We hadn’t tried distance learning with the Ugandan staff and secondary teachers before. We hadn’t done a virtual fundraiser or a virtual annual board meeting. How was God going to move us forward during a pandemic?
But Immanuel, God with us, came through as He always does. Because we were not able to travel, we were able to take recommendations from a consultant and put them into practice in short order. We also realized that the pandemic had forced the world into a virtual world that would have otherwise taken years to attain. So, we went ahead with virtual teacher training in Uganda, which came off without a hitch. Our executive director, Alexa, did an amazing job of engaging the board virtually for three days as we set goals and a budget for 2021 and beyond. The virtual fundraiser exceeded our goal thanks to gracious donors. God was with us!
On a recent Zoom with our Ugandan staff members (Walter, Nikolas, and Agnes), we prayed together. While there were definitely health and economic concerns expressed, there were even more prayers of thanksgiving for God’s presence and provision. They were thankful for the success of the virtual teacher training and a new Ugandan office. They thanked God for the Field of Hope staff, board, and donors in the U.S. They asked Him to protect us all. They knew God was with them!
We invite you to join the Field of Hope family as we share Immanuel and agricultural knowledge and enthusiasm with Ugandans and Indians. To those of you who have partnered with us in the past, we say thank you. May we all experience ‘God with us’ in 2021.
Field of Hope Spiritual Director