God is up to something new, even in the midst of COVID and in the lives of our friends

Crossview Rosa Parks co-pastor Sandi Asker (right) and her running partner Gretchen.

Brian and Sandi Asker moved to Mankato in February 2019 to partner with Crossview Covenant in planting a new network church. Sandi recently shared this encouraging story of interpersonal ministry as they work to launch Crossview Rosa Parks:

We had a wonderful realtor, Gretchen, who has now become one of my favorite running, swimming and biking partners. When the pandemic began, we decided to be in “each other’s COVID bubble,” along with another friend of Gretchen’s.

I love making new friends in a pandemic! This friend, Gretchen and I have had wonderful conversations as we run miles around the country in the wee hours. Spiritual things often come up and recently, this friend asked me questions about a book on meditation she had been reading.

Gretchen has also opened up a new set of relationships for both Brian and me. We swim with a group at a local high school, and Brian recently went biking with a group of adults who meet on Saturdays. She is a great networker.

These two women were my lifeline in the first months of the pandemic when I thought I would get depressed, slothful and dead in my ministry of starting a new church. Instead, I found these women encouraging—even joining in some of our online small group or prayer meetings.

Since we returned to in-person worship mid-summer, Gretchen has started to serve. She has helped as a greeter and is going to try her hat at Kids’ Ministry this weekend. She rarely attends church alone, always inviting a friend or relative along. We also write to a female inmate in prison, through a program at Crossview.

The best part, other than the 5 a.m. runs in the rain, is watching lightbulbs going off while she studies Scripture with our small group on Tuesday nights. We are studying the Kingdom of God in the Sermon on the Mount.

It can be easy to isolate in these days, assuming no one is interested. Or assuming new relationships cannot be formed. But God is up to something new, even in the midst of COVID and in the lives of our friends. I am happy to be along for the ride (or run, as such).

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

Sandi Asker
Network Church Pastor
Crossview Rosa Parks