Stories from the Mission Field

July 2020

Meetings, People, Masks

We’re not running out of stories. In June we again received dozens of interim reports from our many projects, impressively describing how our employees at all levels have made a huge difference in recent months. This year, for the first time, we held a second partner meeting in India. A beautiful new digital world. The EBM regional representative for India, Dr. Judson Pothuraju, had invited to this online meeting to provide important updates on the project work. In addition, the project partners were able to report briefly on their current situation and there was a short presentation by a professor of medicine on how to deal with the pandemic and corresponding protective measures. It was impressive to get involved from Elstal and to get a perspective from India where the pandemic is now progressing rapidly.

Dr. Benjamin of Bridge of Hope briefly shared how the projects on the Gotlam campus are responding to the challenges now that the educational work has been scaled down and many children have had to return from the home to their family environments. His team responded quickly to the announced lockdown and provided food for hundreds of migrant workers who had to return from their jobs to their home villages. With no chance of earning an income, they set off for home and passed right in front of the campus gate in Gotlam where they could get food packages. In addition, the Bridge of Hope team increased their efforts to help the leprosy colony in Phoolbagh. Here, people have been receiving monthly care and attention for a long time. During the lockdown their situation has worsened and so additional medication and food supplies were needed. At the sewing school masks and complete protective suits are sewn to equip medical staff.

Incredible things are also being done in Cuba: Our church planting coordinator Yosvany Padrón told us months ago that there is almost nothing left to buy. Now, in addition to the emergency financial aid that EBM INTERNATIONAL provided for the villages, the church in La Perla has started its own initiative called “Bridges of Mercy”: People from the community share goods or food that they can spare themselves. Then they consider who can use and need what and who is heavily dependent on help. A real example to remain merciful even in such difficult times and to see where there is even more need. The congregation in Zaldo has also asked themselves what to do in the pandemic. Pastor Rolando García writes: “The question we asked ourselves as a church was how we can be instruments of God in the midst of the tribulation. The answer was clear: we must help the weakest in their isolation with time and food. So we helped the elderly with money, food, and toiletries.” In addition to the help from EBM INTERNATIONAL, the people also always share what they have themselves.

In all our relief efforts we bear a high responsibility for the self protection of our countless employees. In addition to the constant request that protective measures and hygiene rules be observed there is continuous educational work at all possible levels. And even here in Elstal we try to listen, pray, and help as much as possible. Sometimes as concretely as in the last days when we were able to launch 6000 professional protective masks for various medical projects in Africa. A great financial and logistical effort but really worthwhile to help missionary hospitals.

This “Corona Year” will bring many challenges. Long before we decided to collect for medical projects at Thanksgiving. You are welcome to support this with your donations now over the summer and also at Thanksgiving. May we all share what we can and thus be “bridges of mercy”.