FROM THE FIELD
“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
“This is an undeniable fact: our world has turned upside down due to COVID-19, and we are in the process of reorienting ourselves to the new, harsh realities of life now.”
These words from Brother I, leader of one of our ministry partners in Pakistan, are true … people are hurting in a way never before seen in our lifetime, and it is only the love of God – expressed through His people – that offers them hope.
“As God’s people, how should we respond in times like these?” Bros. I asks before answering: “The most important thing we can do for ourselves and for each other is to remain a community, reaching out, caring, and supporting one another during this crisis.”
And as we shared with you in last month’s report, indigenous ministries throughout South Asia are doing just that by meeting the needs of thousands of Christians and others who are suffering so badly due to this horrific virus.
Another ministry in Pakistan has already supplied food packages to 279 families in 21 villages and small towns, and are preparing to help 361 more.
Ministries in India are also hard at work: “We are trying our best to supply food items and other help to the needy people, especially in rural areas, reports Brother Pradeep. “[Volunteers] come every day early in the morning, around 4 a.m. and collect the food from here and distribute it in different villages, especially to believers, by 7 a.m. I thank you for providing us with the van which is a big help for us to carry the maximum food items and other help to remote villages.” P and his wife, along with children from their ministry home, pack the van each morning with packages of rice, flour, lentils, oil, salt, soap, and more. The ministry is also purchasing bottles of sanitizer to add to the relief packages.
“We have been busy with relief distribution in both Pokhara and Lalitpur,” reports our partner ministry in Nepal. “The lockdown has shut many businesses and daily labourers are laid off work. We distributed food rations to 350 families. Each family received rice, flour, lentils, mix-masala, cooking oil, salt, sugar, beaten rice, and soap. Distributions went really well and we had full support of the local government authority.”
While the virus-induced lockdown is devastating families through the loss of jobs (and, subsequently, the inability to purchase needed foods), it’s affecting our brothers and sisters in other ways, as well. Church services have been shut down by government order, so ministries are video recording sermons and school classes, and posting these on the Internet. Unfortunately, many of the students
are from poor village families which can’t afford Internet service, so they are unable to keep up with their classes. However, the ministry is searching for teachers who may live in the area, so they can personally teach the children until the crisis is over.
Another aspect of the pandemic is that the lockdown is leading to more cases of suicide and domestic abuse worldwide. Please join with us in prayer that this insidious illness and its horrific consequences will soon end, in Jesus’ name!
To find out more about the work being done by these ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact us.