The situation in India continues to unfold slowly as with many hard-hit nations around the globe. Because of the pandemic crisis our partners, have had to make many difficult and heartrending choices.
After talking to Nirmala and Sudhir Kumar, the reality is that the Pandemic continues to affect the people and ministries in India in ways no one could have predicted. All schools and homes including orphanages have been required to close for the time being and all the children forced to be sent back to their families. The hope is they will be allowed to reopen and reassemble by November, but they are still awaiting confirmation for this.
As you may know, many of our students, though not all, have at least one parent still living, though usually in abject poverty. The Home for Children (Orphanage) allows those very kids to gain access to medical, educational, and social resources - opportunities we often take for granted as a basic right. While Nirmala had no choice to but obey the laws handed down from the government, she continues to care for the children by sending out funds, groceries, and supplies for them and their families. This is a critical and vital ministry because many poorer people and families are now on the very brink of starvation, especially in the hard-labor industries most work in. Village Pastors are feeling this as well because they are bi-vocational and are now receiving very little outside employment. Sadly, during this time the ministry lost 2 pastors, a teacher, and more than a few in the many congregations spread throughout Andre Pradesh.
Although the circumstances are dire, there is still hope to be poured out. The ministry received dollars for help from the relief fund which they continue to use to reach out to help churches and people with food, supplies, and more. The two main urban churches in Rajahmundry and Visak continue to use online tools for members to connect in with for messages, prayer, and love. Nirmala has also started meeting with many in the congregation online for hours of prayer. When possible, the church meets using guidelines for social distance including temperature checks, hand sanitizers, seating to allow as many as possible to join in worship and prayer. While many are not ready to venture out, others have begun to return looking for fellowship and communion with one another and Christ.
Please continue praying for our partners in India. The crisis has been hard on all and left many feeling hopeless. Yet hope remains because of the boundless love of Christ our Lord and the prayers of the saints around the world.