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Always Ready

Dear Friends,

When the opportunity comes, it is too late to get ready.

This was not the first time Maia Stoitseva had received a phone call from the media. The primary focus of Maia’s ministry is serving alongside her husband Tsvetan as he trains youth leaders for churches in Bulgaria as part of the Josiah Venture team. However, a particular trial has given Maia a unique platform in the country. One of her children was born with a significant mental handicap, and in the process of caring for his needs, Maia has become a spokesperson for special needs children across Bulgaria.

Still, this time the request had a different tone. “Can you come into our studio and tell us how you are responding to the COVID-19 crisis?” Without hesitation, Maia agreed and made the 40-minute drive to the city where the TV station was located. Only then did she discover the bigger context. A full 10 minutes of the broadcast on the national evening news was to be filled with questions about how faith can help a person facing difficulty. A high ranking Muslim Imam had been asked to represent the perspective of Islam, and she had been chosen to speak for the entire evangelical community in Bulgaria.

There was no time to prepare. “What difference does your faith make when you face a destructive force like COVID-19?” the news anchor asked.

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Taking a big breath, Maia began. “My relationship with God gives me faith and hope,” she answered. “In the midst of crisis, believers know that God is in control, that he knows everything. This is our chance to be like Jesus. When he was on the earth, he gave hope and help to people and responded in practical ways to their needs.”  

“In 1 Cor 13,” Maia continued, “the Bible says that three things are important—faith, hope, and love. But, the greatest is love. Our challenge is to show this love to others as Christ has shown it to us.”

“How do you practice your religion when church buildings are closed and worship services are canceled?” the TV host asked. “We turn churches into TV studios so we can turn homes into churches,” Maia responded. “The message is now online and each home is a church.”

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Non-believers who watched the show told her, “Your faith is real; we can tell that by the way you speak.” But, Maia was even more surprised when the Imam gave her his business card. He asked if they could meet for coffee and speak more about faith and hope when Ramadan was finished.

Maia was ready because her faith was real. It had been tested and proven through years of trusting God in spite of difficulty.  

May you allow COVID-19 to refine your faith as well.

President, Josiah Venture



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