It’s not easy overseeing churches in Latin America, a new “hot spot” for the spread of COVID-19 that is crushing already troubled economies. Latin America surpassed Europe last week as the region with the highest COVID-19 death toll.
Christian Aid Mission reports the director of a ministry based in Chile had already seen thousands of people in need — including pastors without income in churches his ministry had planted — when he learned that five people in one church were infected with the novel coronavirus.
Then he received more bad news.
“I was just told that a young church couple has COVID-19, and the wife in this family is six months pregnant,” he said. “She has just been hospitalized. God protect her.”
“We are seeing thousands of people who do not have food to eat, and there is so much need of all kinds. Without work, they are without money.”
In the church with five COVID-19 cases, three other members were infected and have recovered. The native ministry works in poorer areas. In Chile as in the rest of Latin America, the coronavirus is hitting the poor the hardest, as many are part of the informal labor sector that lacks protections while having limited access to health services, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said.
“The situation in Chile is difficult,” the native ministry leader said. “We are seeing thousands of people who do not have food to eat, and there is so much need of all kinds. Without work, they are without money.”
The capital, Santiago de Chile, has been in quarantine for weeks and people don’t know what to do, he said.
“Our pastors and workers are doing well but with great need,” he said. “The churches were closed by order of the government three months ago so as not to spread the virus, so there is no income, and the common expenses have to be paid.”
Assistance from Christian Aid Mission donors has helped pastors, other local missionaries and church members to survive during the crisis, he said.
“We appreciate the offering for COVID-19 relief,” the leader said. “We are helping those most in need.”
Church leaders are exhorting, encouraging and supporting members of their flocks through Facebook and other means of social media. The ministry director provides teaching materials online to the leaders, along with devotionals.
With church meetings prohibited, the ministry’s gospel radio program outreach is all the more crucial, he said.
“We deeply appreciate the help of Christian Aid Mission as it blesses us,” the leader said. “God is in control, and with all this the church will come out stronger. We are firm in prayer and fasting, trusting God to help us in this difficult time.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray for swift recovery for believers and others across Latin America infected with COVID-19.
- Ask God to use the Church in Latin America to stand out as a light for the Gospel.