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Stepping out of our comfort zones


Although lockdown orders kept people home and churches and businesses closed for weeks or months during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry of Jesus never stopped. Many individuals and congregations were able to engage their neighbors in new ways and serve as the hands and feet of Christ with tangible expressions of love.

Small groups met via video conferencing platforms; worship services were broadcast online, and volunteers coordinated food distribution for people in need all around the globe. The global pandemic pushed some people out of their comfort zones and necessitated that they engage in ministry in new ways.

Arthur and Mary Alice Ivey have served with TMS Global in Peru for 19 years. During that time, God has worked through the Iveys to impact thousands of people. Arthur and Mary Alice created a program to train Peruvians to disciple others, which has resulted in more than 8,500 people being discipled in following Jesus. These discipleship groups have multiplied all over Peru, and now Peruvian missionaries are ministering in the jungle regions of the country.

Arthur and Mary Alice shared several stories of ministry that occurred during the pandemic.

Arthur discipled Alberto (pictured above) for years, and he has become a leader, deeply investing his life in discipling others. Alberto leads Bible studies, trains leaders in Inductive Bible Study, and leads prayer groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Peruvians have been put under a strict lockdown. Instead of meeting in person, Alberto moved the prayer and Bible study groups online. On Wednesdays during quarantine, he meets with more than 60 people in five countries on a video conference to share resources related to prayer.

Rut participated in the prayer group and had been praying for her sister to come to faith in Christ. Her sister accepted the Lord during quarantine! Mary Alice said, “We know of at least 15 people who have prayed to receive Christ during this time.”

Clelia was also part of the prayer group and was a very unhappy person. She prayed to accept Jesus as Lord of her life, and her demeanor changed. She became tranquil, the Iveys said, and sought to know more about following Jesus.

Marita participates in one of Alberto’s discipleship groups and is learning about Inductive Bible Study. Her son, Edvard, fell from the second floor of their home. Due to the government-enforced curfew, she was not allowed to take Edvard to the hospital. Marita called Alberto, and they prayed together for Edvard over the phone. The next day, she took her son to the hospital and was relieved to discover that he did not have any broken bones or serious injuries.

While at the hospital, Marita met a woman whose son was in critical condition because he had been robbed and assaulted. The woman was already a follower of Jesus, but she was heartbroken and in need of ministry. Marita prayed with the woman using some of the prayer techniques Marita had learned from Alberto’s group on healing prayer. She was so excited that God used her to minister to someone else in a time of need.

“During this time of quarantine, we have been reminded by God to be thankful for everything,” said Mary Alice. “We are most thankful for Jesus, who is always with us and gives us peace. We don’t know what the future holds, but we are going to depend on Jesus and follow Him, no matter what happens.”