India is the third hardest hit country in the coronavirus pandemic, but World Challenge partners are reaching out to pastors to help.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raced through the world like a firestorm, presenting challenges that none of us expected to face. The virus has mercilessly infected and killed both young and old alike. It has reached every nation on earth and touched and changed lifestyles like never before.
In the wake of such widespread disaster, people, especially the poor, are struggling to make ends meet. Daily wage earners and migrant workers were the worst hit and continue to suffer. Lockdowns and quarantines have resulted in hundreds and thousands of people stranded without food and essential supplies.
World Challenge decided in this unprecedented time to offer emergency grants to our partners. In India, church leaders were able to distribute relief kits in 15 villages with church families struggling to meet the needs of their loved ones. Relief kits consisted of essential items like rice, onion, potato, lentil, cooking oil, wheat, bathing bar, detergent powder, masks, salt, sugar and handwash.
The Testimonies of the Times
One pastor shared, “I am ministering to a church with 40 people…all the believers were agriculture and fishing laborers, dependent on daily wages for their survival. Due to the lockdown and an off season for fishing, they were all financially suffering.
“I could not conduct church services for 12 weeks, but my wife and I were praying for the believers and strengthened them through Word during home visits. However, this has affected the church offerings on which my family is dependent. We are living in a rented home, so paying the rent was difficult. When we received groceries and provisions and rice from World Challenge partners, this met the food needs of my family for one month. This has strengthened our faith in God since we had experienced his miraculous provision during the time of crisis.
“We are very thankful to World Challenge for their support. Now, slowly we are conducting worship services and people slowly coming back and participating. Brother [name omitted*] shared World Challenge’s vision of reaching the community through holistic ministry, so we invited him to visit our church and give this vision to the church. We want to see that the disciple making ministry initiated through my church.”
Another pastor added, “We were struggling with economic crisis and lack of food in the home. For four days, all the stocks in our home were gone, and we were praying as a family for God’s help.
“As I was travelling to our office, my wife asked me to bring back provisions for home. It was timely help that we received from World Challenge’s partners. It was God’s miraculous provision to us, and God took care of my family. We thank World Challenge and the church for supporting us.”
A pastor’s wife said, “My husband Pastor [name omitted] has been bedridden for many months before lockdown; he had had an accident and undergone surgery. The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of lockdown has affected our family a lot. We have been taking care of small congregation of 20 people, but our congregation are agriculture laborers and economically vulnerable.
“At the right time, God took care of my family miraculously by providing rice, provisions from World Challenge’s partners. We were fed for one month with the materials provided. In faith, we reopened the worship services, and people are coming, though not as many as used to come. We are praying God to take away the pandemic situation and release us from the fear of this infection. We thank World Challenge and [our partners] for helping us during this crisis, and we are praying for the supporters.”
Encouraging Believers Through to Pandemic
Originally, local church leaders whom we partner with were planned to distribute to 65 families with a month’s worth of food, using the grant money. Their negotiations with suppliers, however made them able to provide for 85 pastors and their families.
The church team was able to meet with pastors and their families, pray with them and encourage them in their faith as they are confronted by this terrible crisis. Our partners were able to share the vision of reaching communities through holistic ministry, as well as offering disciple-making advice to pastors. Most of all, though, they wanted to encourage these pastors to continue praying for the Lord’s provision and to be comforted by the very present work of the Holy Spirit.
Many of the pastors testified about how God met their needs at just the right time, when their families were experienced lack of food stocks at home and were praying for their daily needs. Truly God is Jehovah Jireh!
*For safety reasons, we don’t release names or specific locations in highly sensitive areas.