COVID-19 Prayer Update- May 1, 2020
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults, and with my song, I shall thank Him.
Dr. Howse* Serving in a Secure Area:
The country in which we serve has used some of the strictest measures in the world to combat the virus. The leaders directed the country to take early and drastic action. We have been under total lockdown since mid-March, with the armed forces joining the police to enforce that curfew. Initially, they mandated that people would not be allowed to go out for food and water, but initiated a process of delivering basic goods. The strategy did not work and resulted in chaos and, in some cases violence, so they quickly adopted a new plan. So our new normal is that from Sunday-Thursday between the hours of 10am-6pm one person from the family can go out on foot (no driving allowed) to get groceries. At 6, the air raid sirens go off to remind everyone the curfew is in place. Then they have consistently enforced a comprehensive lockdown on Friday and Saturday where no one is allowed outside of the home for any reason. Only small grocery markets, bakeries and pharmacies have been permitted to remain open. This week they began to roll back some of the restrictions on non-essential businesses, although we are yet to see that take effect in our city. The lockdown has taken a significant economic toll on the community. Our neighbors, speaking from the roof of their home, confessed to us that they had no food. This family of six relies on daily labor wages from their head of household to provide for all their needs, but without any work for a month, you can imagine how dire their situation had become. We were able to help them, but can’t help but think how they are only a small representation of the level of need in the city (or for that matter, the world).
- A woman has made a decision to trust in Him! She has a simple faith, and we would love you to join us and ask for her to grow in her relationship with Him.
- Please lift up the hospital as they are required to implement significant procedural changes due to COVID-19. It has also impacted the way we can minister to those in need so please be asking that we can find creative and effective ways to minister during this time.
- Patience in dealing with one another and also in dealing with disappointments and/or not knowing the answer to many questions.
- RAMADAN. People of the local faith will observe their holy month in 2-3 days time. This Ramadan (which is celebrated by frequent gatherings to break the daily fast) will be unlike any other. We can already sense that people are weary, now add to that the need for them to earn their salvation through a month of prayer and fasting. Our desire is that they will go to Him who can give them rest. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28
From Dr. Jacobs* in a closed country in Central Asia:
Everyone has been affected by this virus. We want to report we are safe, healthy and prepared.
Just like most countries of the world the government here has taken precautions against the spread of the virus. This came into full effect last week and has even become stricter since. We are not allowed out unless it is for food or medicine and then only within 1.5km (<1mile) of our residence, with a mask on. Obviously, we can leave for health emergencies. Strict curfew, no one is allowed out from 8pm until 7am. Roadblocks have been set up in the city and within the country, restricting travel. All borders are closed. No flights are coming in or out. So far, we have 270 reported cases in country.
The [medical] center remains open but with reduced staff due to less patients coming into the clinic. We have implemented phone consults and if needed home visits.
Effects on the Medical Outreaches
All outreaches have been canceled until further notice.
Less than 3 weeks ago we had over 18 requests for mobile clinics for 2020. These types of opportunities are what we have been praying for. With great care, we had prayerfully planned out our calendar for the year. It was difficult for us to cancel but we trust in God’s plan not our own.
From M.C.*, serving in a closed country:
One thing I love and appreciate about the area we serve is that people know how to deal with crises. Most everyone I’ve spoken with has been calm, hopeful, and doing well. People are staying at home and riding the storm. With that said, around the world, this affects the poor most deeply. Migrant workers around this country have been shut out of the areas they work and are having to walk to their villages, which are often hundreds of miles away. Please pray for their health and protection as they travel. Pray for those who already were struggling to have enough food in these times where any shortage will affect them deeply.
With everyone locked down indoors, several of our projects have taken off! We have been working on getting a healthcare training series translated for quite some time now. This lockdown has meant that seven of the first twelve lessons are being translated, along with a pamphlet with selected scripture passages, have been transliterated into the local language. Our teammate has been managing a countrywide media effort and that work has been able to continue as well. We are really blessed and encouraged by these developments.
This pandemic has changed our entire world. I am praying that this pause on life gives us time to develop emotional resilience- to pray, mourn, grieve and celebrate what we have. Will you join with us in mourning the loss of what we anticipated for this year? Praying for the suffering of the poor? Reflecting on how we want to move forward when this is over? Celebrating the healing effects this pause is having on beautiful creation? Giving thanks for the wonderful blessings we do have?
We have been reflecting a lot on what we can do to help and I love that, in this season, for many people, one of the greatest ways we can love is by being still. In our overactive western culture, we often think doing more is loving, and this is an opportunity to lean into discomfort and learn about loving through stillness. May we all lean in well and be transformed.
From Dr. J.*, serving in Asia:
These days, the acronym PPE has become almost as famous as the name coronavirus. It has become a frequently used name in non-medical households, grocery stores, churches, and even places of government.
Indeed, even in hospitals and medical clinics, PPE is almost always the topic of conversation. Why is that? Simply put, without PPE, healthcare workers are completely exposed (naked) to the Covid-19 virus and any other communicable disease. The other reason PPE is a hot topic is that in many places there isn’t enough of it to completely protect healthcare workers during this special worldwide pandemic time.
In order to take care of patients with Covid-19, a healthcare worker must frequently wash hands, and in very meticulous order, put on the required PPE (which is a gown, mask, face visor, cap, boots or shoe covers, and gloves). Taking it off is even more meticulous in order to stay as safe as possible.
While working on hospital contingency plans here at the Hospital, I am continually prompted to think about the God-given PPE described in Ephesians 6. When I put on my PPE in the hospital, I want to remember to put on the Whole Armor of God! For without it, believers are exposed (naked) to the evil forces that surround us. Now, more than ever, we should be remembering as we put on our gown, mask, face visor, cap, boots, and gloves, that we also need to be continually wearing our “Belt of Truth”, “Breastplate of Righteousness”, “Gospel of Peace” shoes for our feet, “Shield of Faith”, “Helmet of Salvation”, and “Sword of the Spirit”! Now more than ever, as we are frequently washing our hands, we should be “Praying at All Times”.
We can all be thankful that unlike our physical PPE, our Godly Armor will never run out! There isn’t a short supply. We don’t have to be exposed or contaminated. As healthcare workers are soldiers fighting against Covid-19 (and every other non-pandemic illness/affliction), Christ-followers are soldiers fighting against evil, “Ambassadors in Chains” to go out and be bold for the gospel. If PPE can give protection, courage, and confidence to healthcare workers, how much more can the Whole Armor of God give? So, let us put it all on, “stand firm”, pray for our broken world, and go to battle!
From C.*, serving in a closed country in Africa:
At this point we are not under any lockdown orders, but the government continues to add restrictions to try to prevent the spread of the virus. We have a curfew from 8pm-6am, and all group activities have been canceled. Of course, this means that our village Bible study is unable to meet and is on hold for the time being. We recently finished a study with them called The Story of Hope which follows the redemption story from Genesis through Revelation. We have been encouraged by the faithful attendance of about 20 adults and their attentiveness and level of engagement. (In addition, we had 30-50 kids each week.) Please pray that those who had been attending our study will read or listen to scripture even while we cannot meet together. Technology has been a blessing for believers around the world but is a challenge here where computers are unheard of and many are illiterate. So please pray that we’ll have wisdom in knowing how to encourage believers during this time.
We are so thankful to know that we are held by the God who loves us more deeply than we can imagine and knows the number of our days! These days we are even more aware than usual of the fact that we live in a resource-poor country where health care is bare bones. And given the circumstances on the world stage, we are also aware that the likelihood of us being about to get out of the country we serve in if we contracted a serious case of COVID-19 would be nigh unto impossible. We knew this coming back. But though there have been moments of fear, God has given us great peace in the decision to stay. No amount of advanced, western medical care can save us if it is our time to go HOME, and no illness will take us if it not in God’s plan. God holds our days and in that we rest with great peace! We came to the mission field to meet the medical and spiritual needs of the region we serve, and there has never been a more important time to continue in that work.
Please continue praying for us as we seek to bring physical and spiritual hope to the people of our region, especially during this time of great need. Pray that God would move in hearts and lives all over the world, as people seek to find true and lasting hope in the midst of a troubling time.
Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.
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