Coronavirus has forced us all to confront life and death head on. It has impacted every part of our lives. We have been fed a constant stream of heartbreaking stories in the news and on social media. Many of us know those who have been sick or passed away. One result is that people really want to talk about life and faith. Two months ago BCM’s Missionaries went back out into the city centre to share the Christian message of hope over sickness and death.
Over the last two months we have seen that many people have been living in fear of Covid-19 and have started asking questions about the purpose of life. It’s strange wearing a mask to talk to people. We see an openness as people show interest in the Christian message. There have also been angry people who blame God.
I’ve met a lot of people going through difficult times, perhaps needing a food parcel, who are asking questions. It is a very strange time but we see the power of the gospel changing people’s hearts.
There seem to be lots of Christian groups, as well as of other faiths, out there on the streets. Coronavirus hasn’t put people off. We are having good conversations; people are taking booklets; and some are listening to the preaching. The challenge is to share the gospel message in less than one minute!
One man asked: “Where is God in all this?” He was afraid to die because he was not sure of his salvation. He thought it will depend on how many good deeds he does. I told him the good news of salvation through Jesus, how the blood of Jesus cleans us and takes away our sin.
We are largely back to business as usual in the Open Air. The markets are pretty busy, with about a third of shoppers wearing face masks but not especially socially distancing. Just today a man walks slowly in my direction, so I offer him a leaflet. From the start he listens attentively: he’s clearly hearing the message of Christ for the first time. As I halt at intervals to gauge his understanding, he is strangely silent, but then, aware of this, he says, “I’m stunned, I had no idea about Jesus and that God is such a loving God who did so much.” This young Egyptian man came to the UK just a week ago to look for accommodation and prepare for his studies! He takes a New Testament, along with a ‘Turn to God’ booklet, and he promises to keep in touch.