For widows in many countries, life is hard enough, but now that COVID has been thrown into the mix, it’s become harder. Still, God is providing for these dear ladies in incredible ways.
One brother conducts literacy classes in five different villages, but this was put on hold during the lockdowns since these classes would be considered “public gatherings.” In the meantime, though, he has kept busy caring for the elderly in these communities, visiting them whenever possible with food so they don’t have to go out into the public marketplaces.
Another brother had his town completely locked down twice, and the third time, his house was included in a “red zone” because of COVID cases near his house. His area of widows ministry is at least a one hour motorcycle journey away; so all of his troubles have limited his opportunities to visit the dear ladies that the church supports.
Those times he has been able to leave town, he’ll rush to see the widows to give their monthly support, pay for any medical expenses they’ve had and help get materials for a few house repairs.
A Testimony to the Goodness of God
Chandani* is one of the widows who attends one of World Challenge’s partner churches and has been a long-standing member of 14 years. Years ago, she had suffered from a skin disease. Her daughter’s in-laws brought her to the church where God healed her completely of her illness. Since then, she has faithfully attended to worship the Lord who has also healed her heart.
“My husband died in 2003,” Chandani said, as she shared her story. “My son is still not saved, and he is not caring for me because I go to church…. As I am getting older, it has become difficult to meet all my needs. I began to face many health problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, gastric problem, back and knee pains. Soon I was no longer able to work. I struggled with poverty in many areas, but I was praying and trusting GOD for my needs.
“About that time, the Lord led Brother [name omitted] and [name omitted] to me, which resulted in me receiving monthly support from World Challenge…. I am getting help with my monthly medical needs. That is so helpful. I am thanking GOD for the support I receive from World Challenge!”
The church leaders have helped Chandani sign up and qualify for a government pension and some rations so that her situation is less precarious. Having World Challenge funds as a safety net for herself in times of medical needs or house repairs is comforting to her.
For the people who send money to support her and other widows, she added, “Even though they haven’t seen me directly, the Lord put his love in their heart for me. I pray for them every day. GOD bless you.”
Working Within COVID Restrictions
The church leaders in India have asked for prayer as they look forward to the next season. Many of the villages where they travel to minister and help widows have blocked outsiders from coming in as a result of fear about COVID. Many of their opportunities to visit and help provide for the widows have been badly limited in recent months.
For some like Chandani, this is less of an issue. Some widows are connected with churches that have continued to be vibrant even in the midst of all this recent trouble and upheaval.
Many of the widows, however, are in villages where there is no local church, the church is still new or where it has particularly suffered as a result of COVID. In some places, church leaders have been completely prohibited from gathering the people. These situations are causing quite a lot of strain and concern for those widows whom the team cannot reach.
On the bright side, some of the COVID relief work has opened doors for new ministries, and as a result, they have been able to follow up with sharing the Word and having prayer services in five new villages where they were not doing weekly ministry previously. We praise God for that!
*Not real name. For our ministry partners’ security, we don’t release names or locations in highly sensitive areas.