Swine Flu Updates
As some of you may know, MFM is also in charge of the Disaster Response area of MorningStar. We wanted to share some information and research with you concerning the swine flu. One of our MFC Pastors, Bill Perry, wrote the following letter to his congregation in regards to the swine flu, and we have also been preparing different flyers and notes to handout to the congregation here at MorningStar (these documents are attached to this email). We are sending this in effort to not only give you more information about the current Pandemic Phase we are in, but also to let you know how you should be preparing your household as well as helping those around you.
You are all more than welcome to reproduce the letter below or the attached documents to distribute to your congregations, friends, and family. We will also be updating MorningStar's Disaster Response website frequently as we receive more information. You can visit the Disaster Response page by clicking the following link:
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are trying to stay as informed on this as we can.
MorningStar Fellowship of Ministries
803-802-5544 Ext. 256 Fax: 803-548-8438
A number of you have inquired concerning the current flu situation that has emerged out of Mexico. We've been watching the situation closely, praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom. The question has been raised, "is this the pandemic we've been hearing about, and been encouraged to prepare for?". The answer is a resounding, "maybe." I believe that this is serious, but I don't believe that we are in imminent danger, and I will explain that after we look briefly at the present situation.
Here are the facts that have emerged since Monday:
The World Health Organization raised the Pandemic Level to "5" this afternoon. That's just 48 hours after they moved it to "4" on Monday. The move to "4" on Monday was unprecedented. Level 5 by definition indicates that a pandemic is imminent. This means that whatever plans you currently have in place to protect your household should be reviewed and readied for execution if the flu continues to spread.
The following definition of level 5 is taken from the WHO website:
"Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short."
This sounds worse than the situation as it currently exists. We've actually been at level 5 since last week based on the stated definition. The WHO is traditionally conservative in their announcements due to the economic and social impact of such a move.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- To this point, the flu has been relatively mild everywhere except Mexico (the only US death was a child who had been infected in Mexico).
- There are still only a limited number of cases in the US. Begin now to educate yourself about how to limit exposure to the virus and prepare your household if this situation should change, but do so in faith, not in fear.
- We've been praying against pandemic flu since August, 2005. Stand confident that our prayers are effective. Believe Psalm 91!
Here's what I believe we are experiencing:
I believe this is a "shakedown cruise". That's a naval term for the process of commissioning a new ship. The ship is built and then sent out for a brief tour to test all the systems, look for any potential deficiencies or bugs, and then brought back into port for final preparation before being released on an actual mission. I asked the Lord yesterday what this season was. I believe He told me this is a "checkride". This is a test to see if we are prepared on a personal level to confront both a real threat and the fears that accompany such threats, real or perceived. I would expect that we will not go to Level 6 (actual pandemic) at this time.
Your preparation for any crisis on a personal level will provide a foundation for confidence and faith in the face of circumstances that could easily become overwhelming. Making preparation for your household will free you to make decisions and take action in faith, instead of responding from a reactionary position. It's like the announcement on commercial airlines... "if the plane experiences decompression, oxygen masks will be released. Put your own mask on first before helping others." The reason for this is simple. In the event of a crisis all of our response systems change. The confidence afforded you by some simple steps of preparation will insulate you from some of the immediate pressures associated with a crisis. If you take time to plan and provide for your household before a crisis occurs, you will be free to think and hear more clearly on behalf of the community we're called to serve in the event of an actual crisis.
The next several days could present some significant opportunities for people to experience a great deal of fear depending on how the media represents today's announcement from the WHO. The main thing we need to address in prayer immediately is the fear that the enemy would seek to aggressively sow in this season. Remember Paul's encouragement to Timothy, "for God did not give to us a spirit of fearfulness but of power and of a divine and self-sacrificial love and of a sound mind." II Tim. 1:7
Intercession and the prayers of God's people have stopped the advance of plagues and disease before. We should stand in faith and expect nothing less for our community.
I am including a couple of good websites that detail preparations for a typical household in the event of a pandemic. Again, the issue for us is that we move forward to prepare in faith, not motivated by panic or fear. Our mandate is to position ourselves to be a resource for the community we are called to serve.
Bill & Heather
Prov 22:3 A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. (TLB)
Here's a declaration for agreement as we pray:
"We declare according to Mark 11:22-24 that this mountain of sickness and it's associated fear be removed from our community even before it has opportunity to present itself. We stand in faith, based on Psalm 91, and decree that no plague or calamity will come near our dwellings. Fear will not influence our hearts or the decisions of our community leaders. We believe that the household of faith in Hartsville and the surrounding region is a city of refuge and will be a marked by a supernatural resistance to plagues and pandemics. We will stand prepared to serve a community of people who are destined to experience the amazing kindness of God in the face of calamity, both real and perceived. In Jesus' Name, Amen!"
Websites for your consideration: