Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented struggle. One thing that is bringing hope is that we are facing this struggle together. We want to share with you some positive responses from our international and Australian partners:
In South Sudan, the children at Emmanuel School have been diligent in washing their hands. Paulino Malou Bol said, “They first learnt this skill at school by washing their hands before lunch time as instructed. Now, they are teaching their families to do the same and help keep them safe from the virus.”
Discipleship continues even in isolation. The students at the Christian Church Theological School of Indonesia (CCTSI) participate in Google classroom, upload their singing to YouTube and share encouraging Bible verses via WhatsApp and social media.
In Zimbabwe, pastors record their Sunday messages on their phones and send them to their congregations, while those who don’t have access to this technology spend their time praying.
In Vietnam, people have more time to reflect and pray, sharing their faith journey through Viber.
Families in Fiji are experiencing new connections to each other and God at home. Pastor Raj exclaims, “Like they have never done before.”
James Aru said, “The churches in Vanuatu are mobilising their prayer network for the whole nation. We commit to praying for one another.”
Here in Australia, we are seeing Indigenous Ministries Australia (IMA) church communities meeting online for the first time using platforms like Zoom or Facebook. Also, embody youth continue building their community online. Mitch Salmon told us, “We've been blessed to host online prayer gatherings, casual Zoom meet ups and mission discussions.”
Even in the face of this pandemic, we are seeing the common thread of love and care. For instance, theology and ministry students in Indonesia responded to this crisis by volunteering in the neighbourhood and spraying disinfectant. CCTSI Academic Dean, Hery Susanto, said “We also want to be a blessing for others.”
Daniel Trihandarkha, from Indonesia, has seen God’s goodness in fresh ways, “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.”
In Thailand, Rev. Sayam Muangsak has been demonstrating God’s goodness, providing rice and food for people in his local community who are unemployed, “We are concerned and care about human beings, who God created with dignity and value.”
Daniel Gaikwad reports “We made 50 food packets which included rice, dhal and salt. One food pack would help one family for a week. We plan to increase the food packets to 100.” Philem Pawar, also of India, responded to the GMP Board’s letter: “Beautiful words of encouragement and assurance of prayers.”
BJ Mpofu of Zimbabwe insightfully wrote, “This virus has brought to our world a reminder that we need each other.”
We will continue to keep you updated on news from our partners, as the COVID-19 situation keeps changing. You can read more news updates on the GMP website and Facebook page.