Weathering a Pandemic Far from Home

SOH Staff Video Call

In a season like this, we’re all filled with questions. When will life get back to normal? What does this mean for my job? What if my loved ones get sick? It can feel like a never-ending swirl of fears and threats far outside of our control.

Now imagine going through it all in a foreign country, far from home, and surrounded by the unfamiliar.

This is the case for many of our Seeds of Hope volunteers in Jericho. Weeks ago, as the news of the COVID-19 outbreak started to spread across the globe, our long-term volunteers were faced with a choice. They could return to the United States to wait out the outbreak at home, or they could stay, knowing that at some point they would be unable to leave the country. They chose to stay.

“There has never been a thought in our minds that we would leave… this is our home. This is our family. These are our neighbors.”
–Ranee Soeder, Seeds of Hope Volunteer

Our volunteers are a critical part of so many of our programs. They serve in the school and Cultural Center. They facilitate medical programs and work in our office. There’s hardly an aspect of Seeds of Hope that hasn’t been improved by our volunteers. 

Under normal circumstances, they invest months, even years, of their time, leaving behind family and friends, putting careers on hold, and moving across the world to make Jericho their home—all in the name of spreading the hope and love of our Savior in the Middle East.

“We were called to Jericho to be salt and light, to try our best to show the love Jesus modeled during his time on earth,” explains Kelly Smith. Kelly moved to Jericho in January to invest in Seeds of Hope having no idea what would develop over her first few months. “The pandemic has been challenging as it has kept us physically away from our dear friends. We have stayed in touch via video chats and texts, but nothing replaces laughter and warm embraces over coffee and tea.”

SOH Staff Video Call

PHOTO: Seeds of Hope directors and volunteers connect over a video call to pray and discuss ways to continue serving the community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now, like the rest of our team in Jericho, they are on full lockdown. Confined to their homes. Waiting. Praying. And still trying to serve in any way they can. “We have turned instead to prayer,” says Kelly, “intentional prayer for wisdom in discerning how God is using this time for his glory, to prepare us for the “after,” which WILL come, and how best to share how his faithfulness continues to provide comfort during the darkest days.”

We would love for you to join us in these prayers: for wisdom, that God would be glorified, for ways to comfort our friends and neighbors as we all face the unknown.

Seeds of Hope continues to work toward long-term change in the Middle East. With your help, we are confident that our mission will continue to spread, both during and after this crisis.