Local missionaries in the Philippines are facing steep challenges to help people afflicted by the new coronavirus even as the pandemic threatens their own lives and families.
First Manilla and then the rest of the country went into a state of emergency in March, with the accompanying lock-down and travel restrictions. Most ministry workers have temporarily curtailed activities, while others are in areas so remote the virus hasn’t slowed them.
Those who are able are striving to meet physical needs while bringing the message of hope in Christ.
“Many people are worried due to daily needs – food, income and health – and we have encouraged everyone to stay alert and trust God for everything,” the leader of one native ministry said. “We remain busy doing what God’s servants like us have to do in such a time as this.”
With vitamins in short supply and wide-ranging medical needs, any assistance is appreciated, he said.
Amid the disruption and distress that so many are suffering around the world, the ministry leader also has suffered; quarantine kept him in one location and relatives in another in the midst of the tragic loss of an adopted child.
“This morning my adopted daughter died of acute leukemia, only 20 years old,” the ministry leader wrote last month. “I cannot visit her funeral and comfort the family, for we are in lockdown. Hold us in your prayers, as we pray also to God for you all.”
The leader of another native ministry said the government’s declaration of emergency has driven people to panic-buying of food, face masks and personal hygiene items – at least those who can afford to.
“Rich people can buy them, but how about the poor people and us living by faith?” the leader said. “Pray that through this the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be spread as we deliver rubbing [isopropyl] alcohol for disinfection and face masks.”
As symptoms of COVID-19 may not show for several days, workers are at risk of contracting it from those they are serving.
“My wife is not feeling well for the past three days and is under observation,” another ministry leader said. “We are praying that she is not infected by the said virus.”
Faith amid Despair
President Rodrigo Duterte on March 24 won special, temporary powers to manage the COVID-19 outbreak at a time where there were 552 confirmed cases and 35 deaths in the country of 110 million people.
A nationwide state of emergency then went into effect. As in many parts of the world, churches are not allowed to meet in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
Christian leaders in the Philippines have stated that they will obey the directives of the government.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Aid Mission