PODCAST: Pandemic Takes Toll on Mental Health (Whyte House Report 3.2.21)

This is Whyte House Report podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to Mission Network News, The pandemic is taking a toll on mental health across the U.S. Experts say your kids may be most at-risk. Suicide hotlines are ringing off the hook; call volume rose 65-percent last year. Most callers were teens and senior citizens. Trips to the emergency room escalated almost immediately following lockdown orders. “Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits for children aged 5-11 and 12-17 years increased approximately 24-percent and 31-percent, respectively,” the CDC reports. Dean Vander Mey leads Set Free Ministries, a biblical counseling ministry based in West Michigan. He says their caseload is rising, too. “We’re seeing a lot of increase with children having anxiety issues, depression issues; more and more moms and dads are calling. I had a couple in here yesterday with a 10-year-old, [the] day before that it was a 16-year-old,” Vander Mey says. Set Free helps kids and their parents bring each problem to the foot of the cross. “You bring faith into the equation, and that changes everything. [We have seen] lots of success by pointing to the Scriptures and letting them know there’s a different way out, instead of just having anxiety,” Vander Mey says.

According to Assist News Service, On 13 February 2017, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted in broad daylight by secret state police in Malaysia. Four years on, after fighting tirelessly for answers, his wife, Susanna, and her family are no closer to finding out where he is – but she is not ready to give up yet. In an interview with Open Doors she talks about how prayers and support have sustained her. In April 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia concluded that Raymond Koh was a victim of enforced disappearance by the state, namely the Special Branch of the Malaysian Police Department. The government then formed a special task force to establish Raymond Koh’s whereabouts. The task force was scheduled to publish a report with the findings of its investigations within six months but, in January 2020, the government said that the task force needed more time to complete the report. They have yet to publish this report. Susanna Koh, Pastor Raymond’s wife has been actively campaigning to find him since he disappeared. Although the case has gained a lot of international attention, the family still don’t have firm answers about what happened to Raymond or where he is now. They also still don’t know why he was taken. It’s been four years since Pastor Raymond Koh from Malaysia was inexplicably abducted, leaving Susanna and her family still searching for answers.

According to to Mission Network News, At the beginning of the pandemic, e3 Partners had to reevaluate its strategy for mission trips. So they connected groups in the US with Christians in other countries via digital technology. This allowed people to pray for ministry work happening in real-time around the world. E3 Partners has hosted over 100 virtual trips so far. Now, with some travel available, e3 Partners Church Partnership Specialist Joshua Spinx says the ministry is mixing things up. “We have a short-term team who is actually able to go and participate on the ground in another country. But at the same time, we marry with them a virtual team that’s back here in the States that’s serving as prayer support, serving as an advocate, serving as someone who can just relay the story back to their churches and wherever they’re plugged in.” e3 Partners calls this approach, “One Team, two locations.” Visit the e3 Partners website for more information about how to join one of these hybrid trips or one that is fully online. E3 Partners has trips planned to locations like Nigeria, Greece, and Lebanon.

According to Charisma News, What is being called the Snowpocalypse of 2021 continues as another winter storm slams into the eastern U.S. Following more than a week of bitter cold and snow, some Western and Southern states are still digging their way out, and more than a half-million people in Texas are still waiting for their power to be restored. But as freezing conditions continue, various ministries have stepped up to help. Charisma News highlights a few of these here along with ways you can come alongside them with donations to support those most in need. Today, Feb. 18, Convoy of Hope deployed several tractor trailers full of water and emergency relief supplies to help affected communities around Dallas and Houston. The trucks left for Texas from Convoy’s World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri, early this morning. The Salvation Army, Mercy Chefs USA, and Houston-based ministry Somebody Cares also responded with emergency relief supplies.

According to Mission Network News, Global food prices soared for the eighth consecutive month in January, says the Food and Agriculture Organization. Prices reached the highest level since 2014, creating another wave of food insecurity. AMG International’s Tasos Ioannides says food security will be a crucial issue in 2021. “The World Bank put out a report [stating] food prices increased close to 20-percent last year. That results in a lot more people being undernourished, and a reduction in both the quality and the quantity of food that people consume,” Ioannides says. A COVID-19 consequence is partly to blame. “Part of the reason for the food shortages is the supply chain disruption because of COVID,” he explains. “While people may not die from COVID, they might die by the disruptions that COVID brings in food supply and job loss.” AMG serves communities in more than 35 nations. These families already struggle to get food on the table, and the task becomes even more complicated when prices go up. “We have seen a greater need for basic materials and food supplies. A lot of it has to do with job loss; many of the people we serve have gone for months without any income,” Ioannides explains. “We have an opportunity to tell them about Jesus’s love and tangibly express Jesus’s love by providing the supplies they need.”

According to Assist News Service, With new COVID social restrictions in force in many countries, a just-released report reveals the loneliness and despair of people living with another “disease of isolation”—leprosy. Sixty percent of disabled leprosy patients surveyed in Bangladesh said life was “totally meaningless,” says the report by missions agency Gospel for Asia, who recently marked World Leprosy Day. Being confined to home for extended periods due to pandemic restrictions might be uncomfortable, but “it doesn’t compare to being isolated for the rest of one’s life in a leprosy colony,” says the report. “Right now, many of us are having a difficult time in isolation due to the pandemic,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan. “But what a privilege we have to take our eyes off ourselves and become the hands and feet of Jesus, helping to bring hope and God’s love to someone who’s forgotten and who believes their life is meaningless.” In the report, GFA World highlights the remarkable work of local teams visiting leprosy colonies in Asia—where the disease is most prevalent—and bringing hope and healing to those forgotten by the outside world.

According Mission Network News, Two-thirds of the world’s population learns through oral communication. Unfortunately, this means that many Gospel initiatives relying on written content stop short of reaching the unreached. Spoken Worldwide hopes to combat this, by equipping successful ministries to translate their efforts for oral learners. This initiative is called Orality Coaching. Since 2015, Spoken Worldwide has been partnering with other Christian organizations and hosting Orality Coaching workshops. By God’s grace they have seen great success. These workshops give Christian individuals and organizations the tools and strategies needed to help share their Bible studies, messages, and literature with an oral audience. These workshops happen all over the world in partnership with large and small Christian ministries.

You can read these stories and more at Whytehousereport.com

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless you.

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