January – April 2021
As I write this in the first week of September 2020, there is very much a sense of the beginning of a new season. Children are going back to school, people are returning to work, and some churches are starting to open up for corporate worship services. I am also conscious that you will be reading this article at the start of a new calendar year, traditionally a time for looking back, but also looking ahead to a new year and what it may bring.
This year we have experienced change on a global scale as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some changes are temporary, but others will be permanent. Due to the continuing uncertainties at the moment, I wonder what will have changed by the time you read this article? I hope you will have had a good Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, and sung Christmas songs of worship, both old and new, even if it may have been behind a face covering.
In the light of these uncertainties, reading Psalm 68 this morning, I’ve been reminded of who our God is, how powerful he is, and how he rules over the universe. Verses 4 and 32–33 talk about him riding on the clouds or in the skies, this being symbolic of the Lord being above the physical world, yet verse 19 also refers to him as the Saviour ‘who daily bears our burdens’.
As I write, across the OMF world workers and finance teams are involved in the 2021 annual budget process amid a time of uncertainty that may not have been experienced for a generation. It’s a time of extra work but also a time to draw near to the Lord, and seek his guidance for the coming year. As an example, our Mobilisation team don’t know whether they will be able to hold in-person events or meetings, or how much travelling they need to budget for, since many more meetings are likely to be carried out digitally.
Please continue to pray for the trustees and OMF (UK)’s leadership team, for creativity in our thinking and strategic planning. In particular as we seek to use the funds received from the Lammermuir asset transfer (see my 2019 financial overview in the previous Billions edition for more details) to enable OMF (UK) to adapt to the current and future needs of the Church, helping it reach East Asians with the good news of Jesus.
We continue to be blessed by the Lord in the way he has continued to provide for OMF (UK) in these challenging times. All the three main categories of income (Member Support Gifts, General Fund and Legacies) are currently above the target amount. However, we are expecting a drop in regular gifts in the coming months, as the government’s furlough scheme winds down, and some supporters start to face more challenging financial conditions through the loss of jobs or reduced working hours. However, the Lord has shown many times in the China Inland Mission and OMF’s history that he will meet our needs.
Please continue to pray that the Lord will continue to meet both our supporters’ and OMF (UK)’s financial needs as we share together in the Lord’s work.
The financial situation for the first eight months of 2020 is:
Director for Finance & Corporate Services