by Ofa Langi, Pastor of the Auburn City Adventist Church
We had originally planned to have meetings with Evangelist Brian McMahon April 16-May 9, 2020. As the world knows, Covid-19 hit and we have been altering our plans and adjusting as we go. With an alternative option to join It Is Written’s virtual meetings, we jumped on the opportunity to do evangelism. Our local Elders, Finance Committee along with the Church Board agreed to be a part of the virtual meetings. We set people in place and started picking out leaders and virtual Bible workers. As leaders, we watched and participated in the online training sessions as we prepared for the meetings.
The It Is Written meetings started as planned, but there were some major challenges. The server crashing opening night, the switching of the follow up and tracking participants program was challenging. Our most difficult issue was trying to train and transition our older volunteer virtual Bible workers to a new system. This really discouraged our volunteers. We struggled to stay connected with our online database participants and tracking was a major issue.
But there was the bright spot in all of this for our church. These issues helped us be intentional about prayer, outreach and evangelism. As a result we started praying. Our 40 Days of Prayer journey went from 40 days to a 100 days of praying and corporately fasting on Wednesdays. The church was better connected as a result of praying together.
The mindset shifted from taking care of our members to what can we do to bring hope to our city, which led to a community assessment where we learned that there was a need for covid testing and food security. As a matter of prayer, the Lord blessed us in partnership with Harborview Medical and UW Medical through our local mayors office to secure free covid testing at our church. We also were able to secure food for distribution. For the last 20 weeks or so, we have been able to provide free covid testing along with food distributions on Tuesdays. We have extended our food distributions at our location to Thursdays and Fridays and Mondays and Wednesdays at the Puyallup Adventist Church. Through our ministry to the community, we now have people who have joined our church and attend worship Sabbath morning as well as other activities.
As a result of community contacts and partnering with our local government, the mayor’s office paid to bring a dental van out to our church three times. The city of Auburn’s Health Director is currently looking over the NEW START health program. If approved, we will be leading out in teaching the NEW START health program to the whole city of Auburn. We are also collaborating with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to research the air quality here in Auburn. This study will benefit the church by building positive relations in our community by providing actual test numbers and ways we will be working to increase better air quality for our city. As a pastor, I recently was invited to and have accepted the position to be on the newly established Chief of Police Advisory Committee for the Auburn Police Department.