This week we get to hear from Greg and Laura Hamilton about their life and ministry in this season of COVID-19.
What is your current location and missions work?
We are living just north of Calgary, Alberta, close to our Canada office. We are serving with InterAct Ministries which has three fields serving Indigenous people across the North Pacific Crescent: Western Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. I (Greg) serve on the leadership team for Canada as the assistant field director, primarily giving oversight to Human Resources and new appointees to the Canada field and supervising Indigenous ministry staff in Saskatchewan and the BC Interior. We also are part of the teaching and coaching team for our summer missions' program, and Laura oversees and implements the vulnerable sector protection policy.
How is God working in and through you during this unique and challenging season?
I will not soon forget the weekend of March 15th. We were just returning from a weekend retreat with our BC staff in Kamloops. Our kids texted and let us know that the church service here was canceled! That Monday, as I returned to the office, it seemed like it was a waterfall of news from one area or another that was being closed. The world had suddenly changed!
The Lord has given me several opportunities to teach and preach during this season. Using technology has become the means by which we have stayed in touch with our staff and ministry partners. I have continued to be challenged by the level of fear that so many are facing during this time. Though I have had many different reactions, when I remain focused on the faithfulness of the Lord rather than on the fear of the circumstances around me, I am able to continue to move forward in obedience and service.
How have you been impacted by COVID-19?
Our work in most of our communities has been deeply impacted. We are a highly relational ministry that relies on the opportunity to be side by side with people. Being totally locked out of communities has brought a new level of isolation and loneliness to our staff and an even deeper level of being cut off from the people we love. Though not talked about, suicide and abuse have continued to increase because of the lack of safe places in many of our communities.
COVID-19 has also brought challenges to our leadership team as we have had to figure out how to best encourage our missionaries who were isolated, many in remote communities. Again, technology has been a way for us to connect our staff from Siberia and Alaska to Canada. Online prayer meetings continue to be a way to connect and hear from each other. We are in the midst of planning a virtual staff conference this year as a way to maintain the fellowship amongst our staff. Extended times for training have been utilized.
Along with that, as we begin to see a relaxing of physical distancing, we are seeing brand new opportunities arise. The change in tempo and different patterns of life have allowed for new relationships to develop. Praise the Lord!
How can we pray for you?
We have two key items that I would ask prayer for. The first would be BOLDNESS; that we would have the boldness to proclaim the gospel! We do not know what lies ahead and this is an important time to give people who live in fear everlasting hope.
Second, I would ask for creativity. There are many methods of ministry that we return to often. I believe both generational and societal norms are in upheaval. We need to change as well. The message does not change, but our ways of communicating need to adapt. May we find creative ways to proclaim the true message of salvation.
Finally, as always, we are grateful for our church in South Delta. You commissioned us to service TWENTY years ago and have been a faithful partner in so many ways!
Please remember to pray for Greg and Laura this week as they continue to serve and love their community. You can send encouragement to the Hamiltons by emailing them.