Nearly a year ago we started hearing about a virus making its way through Asia. All of us hoped this crisis would come and go quickly, like most do. Little did we know that a year later the suffering would still be ravaging the world, in some places more than ever before.
While lockdowns have eased in certain parts of the world, new restrictions have been enacted in others. Contacts in Lebanon recently wrote, “We just learned yesterday that the government is extending the lockdown.” Similar reports are coming from other areas.
While most of us are aggravated at the inconvenience of restrictions and lockdowns, much of the world faces them with fear and desperation. As factories close, country borders are locked, and people are asked to stay home, the world’s needy encounter a huge set of new problems on top of their already difficult lives. How can we live without income and food?
In this mailing, we will share some of the many reports from our staff and contacts around the world.
Asia: “This COVID-19 pandemic is killing the poor”
“The official border is closed, and the natural border is tightly sealed by soldiers using barbed wire,” a contact in Asia reported. “Any attempt to cross the border illegally is punished by harsh prison terms. [In this area] most businesses have no work, so they are forced to shut down . . . The suicide rate is increasing at an alarming speed! This COVID-19 pandemic is killing the poor!”
Our contacts in this area provided food for a family of orphans struggling to survive. “I am the older sister of four orphaned children,” wrote one of the family. “Our mother died five years ago. After mother died, our father left us . . . I work to support my siblings. Since the COVID lockdowns, it is tough for me to find work, so we could not buy food. It made me so sad to see my siblings go hungry. It was a great surprise to receive food, which will last for one full month . . . Now I see the love of the Christian God and I know the love of Christians. Christians care for suffering people.”
Yemen: “I stayed at home waiting for death”
On top of the civil war, soaring food prices, and the outbreak of COVID-19, Azima* also lost her husband. “Our suffering has increased with the death of my husband,” she said. “I stayed at home waiting for death, but God returned hope to me through the generosity of the team who gave me [food, hygiene items, and other aid]. Hope has returned to my life and to my children.”
Kazakhstan: “Small and medium-sized businesses went bankrupt”
“With the COVID-19 lockdowns, small and medium-sized businesses went bankrupt. As a result, many people lost their jobs and the ability to provide for themselves,” stated a recent report from Kazakhstan. “Food is still the most urgent need.”
Restricted Country: “I want to believe in Him”
In one country where Christians often suffer for their faith, our contacts delivered food to an elderly woman who lives alone and is paralyzed and blind. When the Christians arrived with food, the neighbors came to see what was happening. The contacts told this woman that the food was a gift from Jesus.
As the neighbors looked on, the elderly woman cried and said, “A long time ago I heard about [Jesus], but nobody ever shared to me about Him. Is He still alive? If so, I will not go to hell. I want to believe in Him.”
“Thank you very much to the donors,” our contacts from this restricted country wrote. “To believers, the food aid was a great sign of not being alone. God has not forsaken them. Some others were overwhelmed by the love of God coming alive before their eyes in the form of a food pack.” As a result of this love, various people in this location made the life-changing decision to follow Jesus.
Thank you, supporters, for your generosity throughout the past year. You have opened your hearts to the cries of the poor. As we go through 2021, we anticipate continued needs around the world resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to this point, your funds have blessed needy people in 60 countries. God bless you for your important part in the work.
Christian Aid Ministries | February 2021
*Name changed to protect identity