Pastor Marut’s phone kept ringing. The prime minister had declared a lockdown over the whole nation, and a chorus of voices echoed from Pastor Marut’s phone, one-by-one, each with a similar concern: “I can’t get home, and my family doesn’t have enough food for the lockdown. Please help!”
Threatened and Jobless
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, it created a crisis not only in health care but also in the economy.
Concerned for their citizens’ health, governments in South Asia imposed lockdowns starting in late March. While preventing the spread of disease, these lockdowns hurled many people into a sea of financial uncertainty. Work stopped for millions of people, including daily wage labourers and other low-paid workers who already struggle to put food on the table. They, along with millions of homeless people and people who beg for a living, didn’t know how their families would survive.
During this pandemic, GFA workers in Asia have been ministering to the most vulnerable in their congregations and communities in every way possible. With the permission of government officials, GFA pastors and Sisters of Compassion have been working to provide food to hungry families, promote awareness about COVID-19, encourage social distancing and help those who are struggling for basic survival.
Prayer and Provision
Most of the people in Pastor Marut’s church work as domestic helpers, housekeeping staff, vegetable sellers or rickshaw drivers. When the lockdown began, many couldn’t get home, and they didn’t know if their families had enough food stocked.
When they asked for Pastor Marut’s help, he didn’t know what to do—except pray. He sat down with his wife and children, and they asked God to intervene.
Afterward, his wife contacted women in the Women’s Fellowship, and they gathered money to help the neediest in the church. A few days later, Pastor Marut and some of the believers provided groceries to 12 families, three families from the church and nine other needy families in the community. Each family received rice, flour, dal (lentils) and oil.
Driving to the Hungry
Pastor Tarik, who serves in a slum in the same city, saw many people living along the street with no food to eat during the lockdown. Like Pastor Marut, he wanted to help.
On April 1, Pastor Tarik and six church members cooked and packaged food. With police permission, they drove through the city to distribute food to the needy. First, they found people living under overpasses and along roadsides. Many begged for a living, and some suffered from mental illness, and they had no access to food or water. Pastor Tarik’s team handed them water and packets of food, and the grateful recipients blessed them for the help.
Afterward, as they entered a slum area, the team beheld wandering children. The pastor and believers called out to the hungry children and gave them food. Altogether, Pastor Tarik’s team distributed 300 packets of food.
A Team Effort
On the same day, GFA pastor Marty also shared food—and compassion—in this city’s slums. For years, he has served Christ in a hurting slum community like the one he grew up in.
In partnership with Christian leaders, a non-profit organization and the local police, Pastor Marty and his team distributed food to people living in the slums, many of whom are migrant labourers from other states. Together, while observing social distancing guidelines, the team helped 150 families.
These three pastors in one city represent thousands of GFA workers who have ministered the love of Christ in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your prayers and support have enabled them to bring physical and spiritual help to thousands of people—many of whom were in danger of starvation—during these challenging days. Thank you!