“I want to remind all of us what scripture says in Exodus 15:26,” said Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee. “‘For I am the Lord who heals you.’”
Floyd read this verse during a prayer and reporting conference call on Thursday, Feb. 13 about the new virus spreading quickly through China. Several Chinese pastors from across America joined with Floyd and other SBC leadership to pray for the health care crisis happening in China and shared stories of brothers and sisters in Christ who have been affected. This issue is of great importance to Southern Baptists, who are unified in their heart for global missions and who work together through the Cooperative Program.
COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Tens of thousands of people in China have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 1,000 Chinese people have died from the virus.
“I just received an email that requests prayer for two churches in Wuhan,” said Amos Lee, executive director of Chinese Baptist Fellowship of USA and Canada. “One church has many members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and are in serious condition. In another church, 20 were diagnosed with the same virus.
“A pastor told me of several ministers in Wuhan who have succumbed to the virus,” continued Lee. “So pray for these and their families during this time of great tribulation.”
Jeremy Sin, the national church planting catalyst at the North American Mission Board, works to promote church planting among Chinese and many different Asian people groups in the United States and Canada. Sin talked about the impact of the virus among Chinese college students who are unable to return to China to visit their families.
“Think about those students who study here,” said Sin. “They are young, and they are lonely. All their family is in China. They sometimes receive racist and derogatory remarks just because they are from China.”
Sin requested that the SBC pray for churches to “take this opportunity to reach out to people from China, to give them peace, to give them love and to encourage them through this difficult time with the love of Jesus Christ.”
Peter Yanes, executive director of Asian American relations and mobilization for the SBC Executive Committee, prayed that the 47,000 SBC churches would create intentional partnerships with Chinese churches and pray for them during this time.
“We need to remember that God is the ultimate healing, and He is the ultimate healer,” said Floyd. “We believe in the power of God and the power of healing. We believe that God can heal miraculously. We also believe that God can heal medicinally. There are times where people aren’t just healed miraculously or medicinally but through the combination of those things. I am praying that God will heal some people miraculously, but I’m also praying that God will give us breakthroughs medicinally.
“Don’t forget to pray not only for churches, not only for pastors, not only for those who are ill, but also pray as well for breakthroughs in medicine,” continued Floyd. “To pray for doctors, nurses and hospital people who are taking care of these people.
“I want all our Asian friends to know that in the Southern Baptist Convention we believe in this. We believe that we are here to empower all churches, all generations, all ethnicities, and all languages. And our common bond is in Jesus Christ and Him alone,” said Floyd.
When the world is affected by a crisis, Southern Baptists take note and take action. The SBC has a worldwide reach and impact and a heart for the gospel and nations. Through the Cooperative Program, all SBC churches are banded together in Cooperative Missions, giving of their time and resources and uniting in prayer over global missions issues like the coronavirus.