2020 News

GMP Partner Responses to COVID-19

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented struggle. In Australia, we are seeing people having to work remotely, or stop working for the time being. We are seeing our hospitals and health workers become overwhelmed. In other countries around the world, people are seeing similar things.

But one thing that is bringing hope, is that we are facing this struggle together. We have been reaching out, to our partners overseas, and to our supporters like you. Even in the face of this pandemic, we are seeing the common thread of love and care. Despite their own struggle, the people around us are reaching out to support one another.

We want to share with you some of the things our partners have shared with us, so you can stay informed on how COVID-19 has been affecting them too.

India
Dr Philemon Pawar – Ashwood

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The situation in India is very tense. Our Prime minister Mr Modi has declared total Lockdown in whole Country since last night for 3 weeks. Unless we Indians follow it seriously , nothing good will happen.

Yes we here in India are partnering with you in the God's kingdom. We really appreciate

your support both in prayers and finances in past for more than 100 years. At this time we also give thanks to Almighty God for the lives of our dear brothers and sisters who are with Lord now for their selfless service in India for God's kingdom. We see many lives which are saved and in Salvation because of these missionaries.

Thank you very much for your beautiful words of encouragement and assurance of prayers to all of us in this critical situation of CORONA Virus.

Indonesia
Dr Hery Susanto from Salatiga

In Indonesia, the COVID-19 crisis also become a ghost for us. Some big cities are locked down, we are not allowed to travel unless it is emergency. We also do social distancing, and prohibited to gather for big events, such as wedding, funeral, worship service, even social meeting, seminars. We have to stay home and do home schoolings for our children. (They start get bored with it.)

But in our college, situation is little bit tricky because all of our students come from all over Indonesia and they could not go back to their origins. So we decide that we still doing many productive activities inside the campus, not going to the field.

Some lecturers do their class online, and some using Google classroom, and they start doing ministry virtually. I mean, they can post some messages from the Bible through WhatsApp and social media to their colleagues. They upload their singing by YouTube and do more positives things in this situation.

We also want to be a blessing for others by becoming volunteers spraying disinfectant to the neighbourhood. While the boys do that, the girls learn to make traditional dishes. Together we keep trying to be healthy and help others.

This situation is also impacting our financial conditions because they stay at the campus the whole week and the budget for their food rises significantly. But we keep praying that this condition will over soon.

We really appreciate and feel encouraged with this partnership. Thanks to all Australian churches who has been partners so far. Hope we could pass this situation and go back to normal. Together we win… united with one God of all the world.

Daniel Trihandarkha

Last Sunday was the last time we have service on site in our church here in Yogyakarta. We have given official statements from the conference to encourage churches nationwide to have online services. Some churches in remote still have limited meetings, but under strict orders.

Officially nationwide we have around 1,200 infected about 90 people died and 72 are healed or recuperating. In Jogja itself 16 people are infected. People are still ignorant and moving wherever they like.

Our family are fine by God's grace. And I have been teaching online in CCTSI. Though bit frustrated in the beginning due to tech and connection, praise God all went well.

Will pray for you and the families too. Just yesterday as I reflected on the Word of God and His goodness I saw a little hawk enjoying its meal. Such a view is rare nowadays, with so much poaching and deforestation, it just reminded me of how marvellous God's providence is while human being are in chaos, our Father still give the birds its food in its proper time. Halleluiah!

Thailand
Rev. Sayam  Muangsak – General Secretary, The Church of Christ in Thailand

Coronavirus is spreading fast, all around the world including Thailand, for instance, public services, schools and all non-essential shops are being shut down and pretty much all public life, including religious services have been suspended. Many events have also been cancelled. The governments all over the globe are working hard in an attempt to stop the pandemic.  

In Thailand, more and more people are infected. April is expected to be the peak point of infection. The Thai government has announced a curfew nationwide, from 22:00-04:00 hr. and has promoted a 'stay home to stop infection for the nation' campaign, in order to reduce the burden on medical services. However, please stay at home to be safe for our nation.

The Church of Christ in Thailand is committing to combat the Covid-19.   We in collaboration with other churches, and people of other faiths encourage our churches strictly follow sanitarian guidelines of the government. Midst of this critical situation, all our major events and programs have been postponed. The CCT encourages our churches to do Sunday worship through the electronic media, i.e. Facebook and online live, so that the church members who stay a home can have worship together. Furthermore, we also arrange a special life insurance to the staffs; reduced and rotated the working time of the staffs for reducing the risk of virus outbreak. In addition, we have had the opportunity to help the communities who live around our office by providing rice and food for people without income during the time that the government ordered to stay at home. 

This year, April 12 is an Easter Day; the resurrection day of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will celebrate an Easter without going to church, but silently cerebrate it at home. Easter reminds us of “the many times in history where the light of hope from the tomb has shone with dazzling brightness amidst dark times of infectious disease and societal upheaval.”

As an Ecumenical global partner and friend, who is living in this state of emergency, we, the CCT is concerned and care about human beings, who God created with dignity and value. We hope that the power of the resurrection and the peace of the powerful love of Jesus Christ will recover all humankind and all creation again.

South Sudan

We greet you all in the name of our lord Jesus Chris and we also pray that God protects you and everyone that need His protection. GOD love you and He will Always protect you.

We are fine, just worried of COVID-19 that is claiming tens of thousands lives and hundreds of thousands confirmed cases but it is not yet in our Country. The Government has issued last week a presidential decree on closure of schools, churches, mass gathering, motorbikes and shops that sells uneatable items for thirty days.

Offices operate half day and some shutdown for safety.

We are very sorry for this tragedy and we really plead that God protect our partners who are committed to bring peace among ethnic groups, you are our backbone and the reason we are able to help our societies so your safety is ours and we will always pray for you.

Vietnam

Fiona Briers

HCMC is today going into lockdown also. Getting harder to continue a routine. So far we are still working at BSol; regularly we have less than 10 people in the office at one time. We've talked about those who are not well or are concerned to stay at home or wear masks. So far they are fine, although I am preparing them daily for the uncertain future coming upon us much faster now.

Today cafes closed. This will be the hardest blow for me personally!!

In prayer together.

Fiona

Pastor Doan

I sincerely thank you and all of you in Church of Christ 's family in Australia . Because you have always cared, prayed , encouraged , and supported us, our family and the Church of Christ in VN .  

Our Faith and Trust in God has greatly increased and more matured through your service. May your hard work in serving God not become in vain. May God grant you all the things your heart’s desire in His Power Name.

May the Lord's eyes be attentive to you and your family night and day and He will always protect and keep you and your family in His Almighty Arm. Amen.

Currently, in VN the government orders a national isolation and does not allow the gathering of two people from  April 1, 2020 until April 15, 2020. So this Sunday and  next Sunday, we couldn't  meet together to worship God. 

Now, we only contact by Viber or phone to inform each other or share the Word of God. Thank God, because the Covid-19 has given a chance for people to slow down and care about their own spiritual life. Believers have more time to study the Bible and develop their relationship with God deeply. Then unbelievers have time to hear about God and to accept Him as Saviour of their lives.

Vanuatu
James Aru

I know the challenges that all our countries are facing now and everyone is restricted from movement, looking for safety and remedy for the Coronavirus.

I think as true strong Christians, we need to seek the help, protection, defender, healing, and wisdom from God to guide us through this disastrous situation affecting the world.

In Vanuatu on Thursday 26/3/20 all the business houses all closed down, schools, transportation by cars, buses, ships, planes, and limit the movement of people. Closing down church worships, social gatherings, sporting events, and many more activities. 

Churches are mobilising their prayer network and programs for the whole nation in praying to God for protection of the Virus that will not enter the shore of Vanuatu.  For us Partners we commit ourselves to pray for each other.

Vanuatu situation is still safe and people are committed to prayer. Church now gives warning, encouragement, training to adapt to medical advice and maintain cleanliness, distancing from each other. The challenges we are facing now is limitation of movement by people when comes to urgency matters for action is a disturbing issues.

Thank you for updating, sharing concern, advising, assistance, and way forward plans to support each other in time of crisis as such

Zimbabwe
BJ Mpofu

The challenges our world is facing are unprecedented in our lifetime. The global economy is definitely going to be terribly affected, so are our churches, and the lives of so many people in our world. The situation is way beyond our understanding.

Zimbabwe as you know, is a country that was already on its knees and if the virus attacks us in a big way, millions of our people are going to die. The one victim who died, was put into a hospital where there was virtually nothing to help him. It was as if they put him there just to die in peace. It’s really shocking, yet not surprising as our hospitals are all in that state, except our private hospitals which are for the rich few.

Our lockdown took effect at midnight on Sunday. We had been told essential services, banks, food stores etc. will be open, but there were closed. For a country like ours, where people do not have fridges to stores perishables it’s a nightmare. Then those who leave their homes, are tortured by the police. It’s shocking to see what African governments do to their citizens.

The church like all over the world has closed doors. Pastors use social media, especially WhatsApp which is easily available free of charge. So, people listen to sermon recording of their Pastors each Sunday. What is good is that people also listen to sermons from powerful preachers of churches they know. We, however, all miss the wonderful opportunity to meet as a church.

On a positive note, people pray a lot. This virus has brought to our world, a reminder that we need each other. No one nation can control our destiny but God the creator. Even our self-made prophets who believe they know what God is thinking, have clearly been exposed as liars. More than ever before, this is time to share the Good News of Jesus with our world.

We are worried about our new churches as the evangelists May not be able to receive sermons as most of them will not have social media. But I also know they have regular prayers in small groups. Overall, we wait to see the impact of this situation when things normalize. In the meantime, let’s all remain steadfast, pinning our hopes on Jesus.

Yes, these are tough times but those of us who are in Christ always have hope, for our trust is in Him always. We just have to remain faithful to Him.

KCV

There is a three week lockdown in Zimbabwe in the hope that this will beat the virus. For KCV children this means being confined to their houses. The house mothers are living with them for this time. School is online via the tablets in the KCV library. The farm workers are living on the farm and the office staff are working from home. Mrs Vuma is restricted to bringing things like hand sanitiser to the gate. People can go shopping but church meetings have been banned. Police are checking on people's activity and telling them to go home if they don't have a reason to be out.

Pray for the KCV board who really wants to meet but not all of them have computers for an online meeting.

Pray for the prevention workshop which has been postponed because of the lockdown, that interest will still be there afterward for community services to get together to brainstorm ideas on how to support families with vulnerable children before they are referred to home like KCV.

KCV has been supporting families who receive their children back by training them in running a small business and setting them up initially. Before the lockdown KCV purchased matches and candles and oil for some of these families to sell. With the lockdown, the price of matches and candles has gone up four times because the electricity supply is even worse than usual.

In this time, we ask you to continue standing together with GMP and our partners around the world. Join us in prayer for our partners, and the challenges they are facing. Continue to give, if and when that is possible for you.

The difficulties that we are all facing can be overwhelming. But by sharing our struggles together, we are also sharing the weight of them. As a global community, we can help everyone bear the load together.


We will continue to keep you updated on news from our partners, as the situations keep changing.

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