The 2021 Mission Council of EBM INTERNATIONAL took place online on May 8th with more than 75 participants. Delegates and guests from almost all EBM member countries took part. In Brazil, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, India, Turkey and the European countries, the digital meeting format allowed for basic and efficient communication across continental borders. A report.
“What is Rufus actually doing? How is he?” asks Thembelani Jentile, the general secretary of the Baptist Convention in South Africa. He had met Rufus Kamalakar from India in previous mission councils. Both have a big heart for people on the fringes of society and an inspiring sense of humor. Rufus’ family is badly affected by the corona pandemic and so it goes without saying that the Mission Council will think of him.
“Rufus is doing well,” reports the EBM regional representative for India, Dr. Judson Pothuraju. But he also says that Rufus often speaks of funerals. Due to the uncertainty, the distance and hygiene rules and the frequency with which suffering strikes, it has become even more difficult to give consolation and hope. Dr. Esther from Vuyyuru Hospital, Dr. Santosh from Ludhiana and David Sudhir, are three other key people from EBM INTERNATIONAL projects in India. Emergency aid will be provided in their projects. That gives a little hope – just like the many prayers and good wishes that go to India from all over the world at this online mission council. This is how connectedness works.
This time, more than 75 people from almost all member countries tuned in. It is impressive how we can communicate with one another across the continents. Without a visa, travel or quarantine requirements. But it also becomes painfully clear that many with whom we are connected cannot be there: there are constant power outages in the Central African Republic. Nobody can dial in. We don’t know whether electricity or the internet connection is possible at this time. In any case, it is obvious that even in the digital age, the poorest countries have the greatest problems.
In addition to the agenda and the corona pandemic in India, we are concerned with many other prayer issues: the sluggish vaccination campaign in Brazil and the many pastors who fell ill or even died with Covid-19. The ongoing terror of the Boko-Haram sect in the extreme north of Cameroon and the terror in the north of Mozambique which has claimed many lives – causing people to flee to neighbouring countries, including Malawi. On behalf of the great suffering and the many deceased, we thought of Jutta Pauls from Germany and Samuel Johnson from Cameroon at this mission council. Both were closely connected to EBM INTERNATIONAL for many years. Jutta has worked as a translator at many mission councils and has thus had contact with a wide variety of people in the EBM INTERNATIONAL family. Pastor Samuel Johnson was a pillar of the Cameroon Baptist Union (UEBC). Through his studies in Germany, he was also connected to many churches here in Germany. He last worked in France, where he died of Covid-19 in March.
Andrea Wiedner from the Committee for World Mission writes: “I was happy to be at the Mission Council again because it is an encouragement to share faith with Christians all over the world and to experience how God is relentlessly building his kingdom – even in Corona -Time! We are all called upon to pass on God’s love in our setting.”
Perhaps this place is for you in Sierra Leone: along with the Baptist Convention there, we are looking for medical and theological staff in the country. These requests were also presented to the Mission Council. More information can be found here.
Matthias Dichristin and Andrea Wiedner