Ten months into 2020, the headlines are at once overwhelming and redundant. A public health disaster. Economic peril. Political disruption. Those who did not pay close attention to the news before this year are now looking to scientists, doctors, economists, and political leaders for guidance like never before.

Pastor Serge Andre

Suriname, a South American country just north of Brazil, faced a unique predicament when the pandemic hit. With a small population and proximity to hotspot countries, Suriname was particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. As a result, they enacted one of the strictest lockdowns on the continent. October marks the first time since March that limited international travel is permitted. Most of the country still remains under curfew.

Through this season, Pastor Serge Andre, a Haggai leader in Suriname, observed an unsettling trend in himself and those around him. In his effort to stay safe and informed, he was forgetting the security and hope of the Gospel.

“With so much of worldly thinking and philosophies flooding the billboards and daily papers, sometimes our black and white turns grey before we know what has happened.”

Pastor Serge Andre

While national leaders steered the country to “flatten the curve,” Pastor Serge Andre knew his role was to spiritually care for his congregation and use digital tools to continue his evangelistic efforts. He moved ministry efforts online and challenged his church to pray.

“In the past, God challenged His people to trust in Him through catastrophe; and faith grew among believers in Church history when there were global disasters. It is always good to learn and get encouraged through Church history. You discover that at the global level, there was always only one thing people could do – pray. When we unite with others in prayer, we achieve more. Only one voice is heard rather than a cacophony.”

As of October, Suriname has weathered COVID-19 with a lower infection rate than most of their neighbors, and return to normalcy is in sight. As they hopefully look ahead, Pastor Serge credits his congregation’s eternal perspective for their endurance of this difficult season.

“See challenges as opportunities, not threats. Goliath was a threat for Israel, but David did not back off because he knew the giant was puny before our great God. We are able to set ourselves apart from worldly people who panic at any threat to their earthly security. However, we are leaders who have the perspective of eternity.”