Around the world, we continue to receive news and reports of how our partners are weathering the storm of crisis during the Pandemic. Some have reported that, while the quarantine has been tough, they are doing well. Many have adapted to new ways of handling worship and work. However, the stark reality is the quarantine has put an incredible strain on millions, perhaps billions of people who typically survived before on a hand to mouth existence. Around the world, people with little to no access to medical help have been exposed to the virus with no relief other than God's grace, or death. If that sounds a little heavy-handed or guilt-inducing, it's reality. The truth is, life in many regions where the Brethren Church and partners exist is not back to some semblance of normal. The fallout, both medically and economically, has yet to be seen or felt here in the U.S. The reality is, people are now struggling not just from the disease, but from the inability to work, which in turn leads to no income, no way to provide for their families, and in many cases, is leading to starvation.
Yet, hope remains because of the love and willingness of God's people to step up as best as they can continues even while the storm rages on. People are finding hope and life and are holding on because of Brethren churches and people, who around the world continue to act as the hands, feet, and heart of Christ.
Read our story from Elena Prado Effio our partner in Pucusana, Peru. Discover for yourself the stark realities of life that are true, not just in Pucusana, but throughout the entire country and most of South America, Africa, the Philippines, and India.
“In Peru, we remain in quarantine until June 30. Here we have not yet reached the peak and decline as in other countries due to the poor health system we have. We have never been prepared to serve so many patients, so there is a lack of beds, equipment, medicines, doctors, nurses, hospitals. It is all too few for the number of people who go to hospitals for help. Often, they are returned to their homes without treatment and many die there. Some die even at the doors of the hospitals because they are not allowed to enter. The panorama in Peru is very sad.
In Pucusana, there is no hospital for COVID-19 patients, there is one clinic that is mainly for maternal issues and children. Those who have been identified as infected patients must hire a car to go to Lima to receive attention. Typically, most of them end up returning without attention and quite a few die at home. One of the biggest issues in the hospitals themselves is that there is not enough oxygen to save lives. Oxygen has become such an expensive product that no poor can afford it.
Pucusana has had many deaths, even a doctor has died by the coronavirus.
Our work, (my son and I) in the last few months, has been very intense. We have organized donations for very poor people and thanks to the money that Allison Wallace and The Pucusana Project, sent we have donated bags of food to two human settlements to feed them for several weeks. By God's grace, we have been able for over a month to prepare and give nutritious breakfasts to 168 people who live near the school building in Cerro Colorado (The building the Brethren Church has in Pucusana). We have also donated protective equipment for doctors thanks to the contribution of some relatives and friends. We have also raised food donations for another group of 168 very poor people. Everything is received with great thanks and always making it clear that we are only instruments of God.
One of the biggest difficulties in this has been dealing with financial issues at the same time. Much of the time we have had to do without entering the money to the bank account of our association. It is because to get the money we must do it in a bank and by check. Pucusana does not have banks, nor does any nearby. The nearest place is in Lima. This is very far and with the quarantine it usually it was not possible to go out Pucusana. These have been very difficult times! Additionally, even if I take the money from the bank, I still need to present invoices for the purchases to the taxpayer's office, but in Pucusana they do not give invoices because most of the stores and markets are informal, so they only give tickets and those are not recognized by the tax office.
The tax system here is very complex. In other words, since March we have not been able to deposit money into the association's account because the bank is far from making transactions and Pucusana does not have formal businesses to issue invoices that we can present to SUNAT (tax collector)
It is very difficult to leave Pucusana, there are weeks that people cannot leave because there are many infected and other nearby districts close their entrances, so we are locked in the district. Some may leave but risk their lives because in the few buses there are too many infected people. Two days ago the pier was closed in Pucusana for 10 days, the market, 5 days and the transport company, 5 days as well. They tested them at these sites and found many people infected. This is what I am doing every day. Trying to help others in this "Emergency State" This is the way Jesus uses me. I am so grateful for this task.
This is what I am doing every day. Trying to help others in this "Emergency State" This is the way Jesus uses me. I am so grateful for this task.
Brothers and sisters, our partners all over the world are facing unprecedented and unparalleled difficulty. Even with all our current problems, we have access to so many resources and help. Most of our partners do not have that luxury.
You can help though! You can make a difference! Please consider giving to our COVID-19 Relief Funds today to help our churches worldwide, continue to change lives daily. Your gift will help feed families, give access to people to medicine and protective equipment, and basic supplies for their homes. This is the call of Christ to the church. You can help our partners change the world, one family, at a time!
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27