The interruptions are our work.
Henri Nouwen wrote of a now-famous conversation which helped him think about interruptions as something other than a bother. He writes, “While visiting the University of Notre Dame, I met an older experienced professor who had spent most of his life there. While we strolled over the beautiful campus, he said with a certain melancholy in his voice, ‘You know… my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.’”
The coronavirus pandemic has been a major interruption to the work that APF had expected to be doing in 2020. Scaling-up the eVitabu app, training conferences, tree-planting, bike and Bible distributions and more… It has all been paused as various forms of lockdown, quarantine and curfew affect everyday life in Africa. Future planning and visits have been mothballed so, in addition to the anxiety and loss surrounding Covid-19, it has been a painful bother.
But in the space created by lockdown, APF has adapted. We’ve held regular Zoom conference calls connecting partners from across Africa for reflection, Bible study and prayer. Technology has been harnessed to bring UK supporters together too. Using social media, we set up a Covid-19 Relief Fund. Within two weeks of opening, your generous donations raised over £10,000 which we quickly passed to African partners who have set up local community-based responses to the triple threat of lockdown, locusts and landslides which have hit the region in recent months.
This edition of Impetus contains theological reflection on these calamities as understood by our partners in Africa and tells just a few of the stories of how the Covid-19 Relief Fund has been used to enable effective ministry in lockdown. APF’s plans have unquestionably been interrupted but the work continues: maybe we too have discovered that the interruptions are our work.
Thank you for your continued support.
Revd Dave Stedman