As the world moves into an unprecedented time of crises our Partners in the work of the Lord worldwide also prepare to meet this unseen enemy head-on with prayer, precaution, and peace.
In Argentina, the government has moved to extreme measures closing its borders while restricting air and sea travel for the next 15 or more days. Worship continues in smaller capacities with church members hosting small gatherings in their homes.
In Peru the government has likewise closed their borders, for the time being, restricting air and sea travel as well. The church in Lima was perhaps the hardest hit as a major source of income for the church and pastoral family comes from a daycare/ pre-school and Friday night feasts where they grill food outside for sale to the community. The Peruvian government has required all such services to cease for at least 15 days, ordering much of the population to stay indoors. Our office was able to release some emergency funds to relieve some stress during this time of crisis.
As many of you may have heard, Chyann Mackey, daughter of John and Caryn Mackey (Mount Olive Brethren Church) has been on a short-term trip to Peru. She spent several weeks in Lima, working alongside Luis and the church, then went south to spend time with the Abuid family and Segundo in Puerto Maldonado. The speed at which this virus moved took all by surprise. Despite the best efforts of many, Chyann was unable to get home before the shutdown. She will be riding out the remainder of this storm in Puerto Maldonado. Please keep Chyann and her parents in prayer especially during this season.
Colombia, Chile, and Paraguay have all reported similar circumstances. They are praying for our churches and Brethren around the world. That the church would rise to the occasion as a beacon of hope, light, and calm reminding us of Jesus' words as he stood in the ship while the storm raged all around. "Peace! Be still!" This time may be one of the great trials, but ultimately God is in control and has power over all things including this storm.
In the Philippines, the church faces similar issues of governmental shutdowns. Many there are struggling to confine themselves. Pastor Gary Castro took to social media platforms to help allay fears and answer many hard questions. Likewise, the call is for peace, clarity, and that the church finds ways to help neighbors out while keeping from spreading this virus further.
The Spanish government has also moved into a state of emergency requiring residents to stay in their homes. All sports, cultural activities and schools have been canceled or suspended for the time being. The current timeline is 15 days but may be extended. Our partners have added their prayers to others around the world.
India has had a bit of a different take. Although it is one of the most populated countries in the world the effect of Covid-19 has to much surprise, been minimal. In larger cities like Delhi, the government has moved to cancel large scale gatherings. However, Nirmala Kumar has reported "So far the Indian government is not imposing restrictions against our worshipping the lord in the churches. From the time of the inception of our Brethren churches in India, we have had regular fasting and sunrise devotions of the cross early in the morning beginning in our church in Rajahmundry followed by mini-revival cottage prayer meetings at our church members homes and in the streets near our village churches in the evenings from ASH Wednesday until Easter for forty-six days. These are often life-changing messages and events. Powerful praise and worship take place every single day. These will be followed by many baptisms in the communities. Thank you for all your prayers. May our good Lord protect each one of us under the power of His Blood!
Though there is no doubt we will all feel the effects of this crisis for many years in many different ways, there is truth and power in realizing that our Lord and Savior has not and will not abandon his bride. Instead, we are called to give all things to him in prayer and petition. We are called to remember that because we are transformed by his spirit residing within each of us, we are not given over to the same rampant fear that plagues so many. At these moments we are called to peace, love, and compassion. Christ is expecting us each to reach out, however, we can, to our neighbors near and far in prayer and support.
Our Global Partners are in prayer at this very moment. Raising hearts, souls, and voices to praise God and ask for healing and mercy. They ask each of us to join with them, that our voices together would be a mighty song raising to the heavens. Asking for God to intervene and reminding the world itself that our God is mighty, merciful, and loving.
In Christ’s Love,
Brethren Global Partners Coordinator