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April 8, 2020

COVID-19 Unable to Halt Ministry in Asia

COVID-19 isn’t able to stop the spread of Christ’s love from touching people’s lives. Even though the pandemic has shut down schools and businesses deemed “non-essential,” is keeping friends and loved ones at a socially acceptable distance, and has forced churches to close their doors, Gospel for Asia-supported workers are still being God’s hands and feet to the poorest and most disadvantaged people in their communities.

GFA-supported workers are working with local governing authorities and putting together food packets to give to men and women in desperate need of help. Many of these people are daily labourers who depended on working every day for their very survival. The nationwide shelter-in-place order has halted many opportunities for these labourers to earn the necessary income to provide essential needs, such as food, for their families—and has left them in precarious situations, wondering how they will make it through the crisis.

Providing Food Shows God’s Care

Food packets have been a dose of hope, providing recipients with enough staple items to last a few weeks to a month, in some places. But these food packets are also providing recipients with the valuable realization that God is taking care of them.

“We did not have anything to eat during this lockdown situation,” said Sahira, who received a month’s supply of groceries. “God sent you at the right time to us. … I am crying and thankful because God is so gracious to me and my family.”

Prita, a widow, said, “My son could not go for work due to the lockdown, and we did not have food to eat, but Pastor Lagan helped us to get food for one month. We have a God who cares for us in our time of need. I am thankful to [the church] and the Almighty God.”

Masks for Those in Need

Another way GFA-supported workers are spreading hope in a time of fear and anxiety is by providing people with personal protective equipment. A Women’s Fellowship group in Chhattisgarh, India, spent four days sewing masks because of the massive shortage in their area. The ladies gave away 2,000 masks to villagers, health care workers and the local police.

A government official saw their initiative to provide a necessary need and instructed shopkeepers to provide the local pastor with as much fabric as his congregation needs to continue sewing these masks.

Creative Ministry Initiatives Springing Up Throughout Asia

Across South Asia, GFA-supported workers are doing all they can to help those in need, and these reports are just a glimpse of many we receive each day of unique initiatives to minister to the needy.

In Uttar Pradesh, a pastor and the believers in his congregation organized an awareness rally in the village. Their goal was to teach people how to properly wash their hands and how to stay protected from catching and spreading COVID-19.

One GFA-supported pastor in Hyderabad distributed food packets to widows, who are especially struggling during this time. He also shared how people can protect themselves from COVID-19 by washing hands, practicing social distancing, staying at home and wearing masks.

Another pastor traveled to an interior village near Hyderabad with the help of two local police officers to provide food to 200 tribal people.

“[The church] has taken a good initiative to help poor people to get food during the lockdown of COVID-19,” said one of the police officers.

After sharing food with 15 impoverished families in Gujarat, India, a GFA-supported field correspondent reported, “The plight of these people is miserable, as they are struggling financially and also lack groceries to feed their children. They [also] do not have a proper place to stay, so they are living on the footpath [alongside the road], which makes them more susceptible to catching the virus.”

Field correspondents in regions all across India are sending numerous reports of how GFA-supported workers are organizing food distributions and awareness programs, and of how they are providing personal protective equipment like masks to people in need. Our field partners plan to help as many people as possible in the days ahead.

Please keep GFA’s field partners in your prayers as they continue to help people suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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