Challenges In Time Of Corona - Stories from the Mission Field
Encouragements And Challenges Are Close Together
Again and again these days we are receiving reports, testimonies, prayer requests, project applications, or brief information from the many projects we support. The tension can be clearly felt in many of the lines: the suffering and the challenges are almost overwhelming in many places. At the same time, however, our missionaries are also experiencing how God acts and intervenes. In the following, we give a brief insight into six different countries and start with reports from Regina Claas and Carlos Waldow, who are very closely connected with many churches in Germany.
Regina Claas writes how hard the situation is hitting many people in South Africa. In the media pictures were circulating from the Centurion area – between Johannesburg and Pretoria – where thousands of people are queuing for miles to get food. The parish in Mamelodi (in the east of Pretoria) has now started to provide a meal for about 250 people a day and to distribute food packages in their area in addition to the more than 50 people who have found a roof over their heads in the parish.
The church planting ministry in Cuba has also changed a lot now that no church services can take place. Many pastors maintain contact with church members through phone calls, WhatsApp, or visits without entering the houses. Larger congregations, such as Daniel González’, have been able to develop good online services like we have in Germany. Especially encouraging is an initiative of the church of our missionary Karrell Lescaille. With the help of EBM INTERNATIONAL he runs the agency “Cubans for the Nations”, which finds, trains, and sends out people for mission assignments in Central America. In his church face masks were sewn in which a Bible verse is written. Carlos Waldow writes: “I am always inspired by our brothers and sisters in Cuba and learn not to miss any chance to share our faith in Jesus Christ with others.”
Smaller communities in Turkey are particularly affected by the restrictions of not being able to meet. Pastor Sükrü from Adana talks about how they have visited some people from house to house while respecting the rules of distance. Some refugees from Iran were able to receive food parcels. They first lost their jobs in the crisis and now have no possibility to earn money.
Our project partners from Jesus Loves Ministries and Alma in Andra Pradesh in India are working with disadvantaged groups in different places. Samarparna Kumar and Rufus Kamalakar talk about the fact that many of these people earn an income from fruits and roots which they seek in the forest, partly drying and selling. Due to the restrictions on access, this has not been possible in the past weeks. Currently, many hundreds of people in both projects have already received help through food donations. Currently we have even more project applications on hand to provide food and hygiene products to another 700 families. In the past years many churches have been established in these villages and through our help in the crises people are experiencing that God has not forgotten them. State aid has not yet reached these places.
Sara Marcos writes in her last prayer circular from Mozambique that the team of the social center wants to continue bringing the love of God to the people. In this crisis this is done especially through regular visits to the children and families who otherwise come to the center. The team comes to work in groups of five to follow the safety rules. Besides distributing food in the villages the team prays a lot together in this situation and has started sewing protective masks. A special prayer request is for the children who are affected by chronic diseases like tuberculosis or who are HIV positive. They need special protection from the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
And joyful news at the end: On the last day before the lockdown in Argentina, the first baptisms could still take place in the newly founded community belonging to the social center in 12 de Mayo near Mendoza. Five young people joined the church which is led by Pastor Alberto and his wife. A great encouragement for the church and the pastor couple. It is a prayerful request that they experience God’s presence especially during this time and that they remain comforted.