To all our brother and sisters at Grace Sasolburg.

We are living in an uncertain time which will probably be remembered in history for various reasons. How it will be remembered is up to us and how we react. The question now is this: “How should a Christian think and react to the whole Corona-Virus pandemic?”

This question should be answered on two levels, personal and socially.  

The personal level is probably the hardest, because it will force us to really examine our trust and faith in Jesus and His saving work on the cross, and expose in what our trust and hope is really placed in. Why do we say this?

Hope in uncertain times

In our modern western civilisation we maybe have come to a point where we think that we have mastered sickness and we can to a certain point control our fates. It is only in a situation like this, or other natural disasters that we come face to face with the reality: in spite of all the advances in technology and social structures, we are no more in control of these things than we were 1000 years ago. But the reality is that our trust is placed in medical science, the good infrastructure to take care of us when we are ill, our governments, our healthy lifestyles etc. Unfortunately these things can only help us up to a point, eventually we all have to face death at some point and in facing this reality, you can see where your trust is placed. There are just two options, either you trust in Gods promises and Christ’s redemptive work and your hope is found in them, or you do not. We are not saying that if you are saved and trust in God, that you will have no fear of death. It is an unknown and unnatural condition, and every human will have some fear of death. But a true believer will have the knowledge that our Father is waiting at the other side of deaths door, and Jesus walked this road before us. And though we might be afraid of the unknown, we are never without hope. Being without hope is maybe the most terrifying condition to face death in.

Let’s spend time in God’s word, concentrating on His promises and assurances regarding death and what is on the other side, and remember that Christ has defeated death and the terror it held for us on our behalf and we can rest assured in this.

If you are still unsure about this, please contact one of us.

Social responsibility

On a social level there are certain practical things we can do in order to be salt and light to our communities. The president has instituted a nationwide lockdown from Thursday midnight until Thursday 16 April midnight. This means that we all must stay at home unless we are buying food, medicine or other essential goods, seeking medical attention or we are working in what is deemed an essential service as determined by the government. These include:

• Health workers, emergency personnel, security services.

• Persons involved in distributing and supplying food and other essential goods.

•Banking services.

• Supply and maintenance of basic services such as water, electricity & telecommunications.

• Persons involved in research, manufacture and distribution of medicine and hygiene products.

This is in no way a complete list and you should watch the media to understand the full implications and stay up to date with what is expected of us.

In this case loving our neighbour as ourselves means basically the following: not getting infected and if we are sick, and to not infect others. To do this we can do the following:

 As Christians we are expected and commanded by the Lord to be obedient to the leaders of our country. We should therefore stay in our homes, and plan ahead in order not to make unnecessary trips to shops etc.

Do not go and “panic shop”. This is not a loving act towards your neighbours to buy and hoard all essential goods because you can. People are working hard to stock shops with the essentials we need to live, and if we all remain calm and responsible there will be enough for everyone.

Do not go and shop with you entire household. One person per household can do this in order to limit our exposure.

When you are in public, practice social distancing. This means no hugging, handshaking and keeping about 2m apart. This will help limit the spreading of the virus between people.

Keep good personal hygiene and wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis.

Think about the elderly or vulnerable people in our church, and broader community. If we can assist them in a responsible manner we should do so. But remember that the elderly are a high risk group and we should NOT be in contact with them if we are sick ourselves, or even think we might have been exposed.

What is the purpose of all of this?

If in the following weeks you still see that the infection rate is climbing, and that deaths are being reported, in spite of all the measures we are taking, do not become panicked or anxious. These measures will not eradicate the spread of the virus immediately. People will get sick, and people will in all probability die. We need to limit the rate of infection in order to ensure that our health care workers and facilities do not get overburdened and collapse. This is currently the problem in Italy. The rate of infection was so high that the health care system could not cope. The eventual total number of infections is not as important as the rate of infection. Over a longer period of time we can cope with a lot of sick people, but not in a short space of time.

How does this affect Grace Sasolburg?

In light of all that has been said, we will not be having any services, bible hours or bible studies until at least the 16th of April 2020. This date is not fixed and the government might deem it necessary to extend the period of isolation.

We said in the beginning that history will remember this period of time, but the how will be determined by our actions today. We can be responsible and loving in our actions, respecting the medical personnel working in these trying conditions by giving our full cooperation during this time of isolation. The more we cooperate, the quicker this whole situation can be resolved.

Pray for the following:

• That God will protect us from this illness.

• For the medical personnel working during this time.

• For peace and order in the country.

• For the at risk groups.

• That God will use this situation to call the lost to repentance.

• That our trust in His promises will grow stronger through this trial.

 If you are in need of any assistance or more information during this time, please let us know.

Here is link to a podcast we found helpful to shape your thinking during this trial:

https://www.crossway.org/articles/podcast-a-christian-doctors-guide-to-thinking-about-coronavirus-bob-cutillo-md/?utm_source=Crossway+Marketing&utm_campaign=98bec68f9f-20200319+-+General+-+Free+Resources+COVID-19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0275bcaa4b-98bec68f9f-303158833

With love and devotion

GFS Leadership