How is Transform Europe Network responding to Covid-19?
3 April 2020
Transform Europe Network exists to empower our partners to see the gospel shared and lives transformed in Eastern Europe. Covid-19 does not change that.
In the last few weeks, the team have been busy working out what our mission looks like during this time of lockdown. Internally we have had to adjust how we operate and are now each working at home and using video calling software to get together. We are continuing to pray daily at 10.00am every day. Ken Millwood has been collecting daily prayer request from Partners to enable us to pray effectively for those who are part of our network. We are continuing to operate as normally as possible. Our latest magazine has just been published and you can keep up with what is going on, via our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Since the lockdown, Ken and I have been busy communicating with Partners, which has been good. I have spoken to lots of partners in the last couple of weeks just to see how they are doing and how they are responding to the crisis. On Tuesday 24th March we held our first ever Zoom Prayer gathering with over 30 partners and supporters from across Europe. It was an amazing experience. We are now planning the next such gathering for 16th April at 10.00am (GMT), 1100 (CET) and 1200 EET.
The main challenges for our partners are two-fold. Firstly, their concern and support for the most vulnerable. I have spoken to leaders in Albania, Romania and Bosnia & Herzegovina who are trying to support the poorest with food parcels and essential items. Those who work in the cash economy are already struggling financially. The second challenge is that as the crisis goes on, and churches do not meet together, the offerings are not taken (most do not have online giving as we do). The financial capacity to support pastor salaries and pay building rents is stretched. These are the main challenges our partners have told us about.
As I said at the start, TEN is about empowering our partners and walking alongside them. We have therefore taken the step of setting up a special fund to support those affected partners in the two areas of need outlined and have now made them aware of this temporary support.
We recognise that we are all in this together, but the inequalities of our world dictate that some communities are less financially resilient than we are. This is true for the nations that TEN has the privilege of working in. I have been reminded of the example of the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians 8:1-7. How wonderful that it should be a church in the Balkans that offers this challenge!
This passage asks an implied question of me. As we are tested in this nation, will I continue to live generously? You can do this in a couple of ways. Firstly, stay up to date via social media and our various communications so that you can be praying for Partners. We have also set up a specific appeal to enable us to support our partners. Some have already responded generously to our Covid-19 Relief Appeal. Thank you. If you think you can help you can go to www.ten-uk.org/give and make a gift at this time.
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NATIONAL TRAVEL ADVICE AND RESTRICTIONS
Official Travel advice from the UK to specific countries
Coronavirus Latest Statistics by Country
COVID-19 National Travel Restrictions – Latest Alerts
March 2020 Statement
Everyday life for millions of us has been turned upside down. Our thoughts and prayers are for those most affected by Covid-19, the elderly and vulnerable and the many thousands of families who have already lost loved ones as a result of this unprecedented pandemic. The national restrictions on movement and assembly are already disrupting not only our lives, but also limiting our partners’ vital ministries, church services and planned outreach events for Easter.
We thank God for our brave NHS nurses, doctors and carers who serve on the frontline. We pray God’s peace and protection over them as well as our many supporters who are learning to cope with isolation and lack of close contact with loved ones.
There is also an impact on TEN. We are having to rearrange planned visits to our partners in Albania and North Macedonia and review arrangements for teams from UK churches who plan to visit Eastern Europe in 2020.
• Please pray that each of the partners of TEN will know God’s wisdom
• Pray for the health and protection of their families and elderly relatives
There are also financial implications for partners and members of their congregations who have jobs to help provide for their families. Many jobs have already been lost and church income that supports our partners has fallen. At TEN we have provided a way for supporters to assist financially.
• Pray that God would replace any shortfall in regular income
• Pray that TEN’s partners will feel supported by TEN during the current crisis
• Pray for the UK church teams planning to visit Eastern Europe in 2020
• Please pray that God would reveal creative opportunities in the midst of change
• Pray that TEN’s elderly supporters will know God’s peace and protection
Clean Hands Photo Challenge
Would you show support for our partners in Europe by simply washing your hands and having a photo taken. Check out the photos so far…