Tensions continue rising around the world in the midst of Covid-19 and economic uncertainty for many. Some countries are still in lock-down, some are resuming life, for some people life has completely changed as a result of lost loved ones and/or lost jobs and homes. It is easy to become either consumed with our own personal circumstance or to be overwhelmed by the masses and world-wide fear and chaos. However, it is times like these when God calls us to be attentive to our neighbors, loving and generous to those whom we are capable of helping. Yes, material needs are in high demand right now for every community. But let us not forget that prayer is the most powerful and greatest act of service that anyone can offer. Prayer is not dependant on economic position, location, age, spiritual maturity, or any other limiting factor. But what makes prayer so efficient and powerful is the one we connect to in prayer, the almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign God, creator of the universe, whom by Him and through Him all things are possible through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Here is an update of how Covid-19 is affecting our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus throughout Africa and how we can best partner with them in prayer and support.
“In Rwanda, because of the total lock-down that the Government adopted in March and which lasted until mid-May, the spread of the virus was curbed. So far (by May 21) we have 320 cases confirmed positive; among them 217 have recovered and until now we thank God that there is no death!”
“In Kenya, the Government did not opt for total lock-down, but for a curfew and all schools are closed. Today there are 1109 cases confirmed positive in Kenya; 375 have recovered and 50 patients have lost their lives.”
“In Goma, D. R. Congo, there is now 7 cases confirmed positive; they are being treated. Most of the cases in the DR Congo are in far West, in Kinshasa, the Capital City of the D. R. Congo.”
Effects & Response of COVID-19 in Rwanda
- Transportation is limited. We are only allowed to travel in our own district. Those in Kigali cannot travel to Musanze, for example the meeting of the President and Cabinet Ministers of Rwanda decided that traveling within the whole country will start on June 1st. Two weeks ago, the Rwandan government allowed people to go back to their offices, as long as they wear masks.
- Churches are still closed. Even small meetings are not allowed. Churches without on-line systems are not ministering to their members. We hold Sunday service in our homes. Salome and I and Gaudence, a young lady whom Salome led to Christ some time in the past, meet on Sunday and we sing, share testimonies and hear the Word of God! That is what is happening almost everywhere – families meeting in their homes.
- Starvation is all over. Everyday we get more than ten mothers carrying small babies and young children coming to knock at our gate and ask for food. We have done our best to help but it’s overwhelming. Last week a young lady came to knock at our gate and the baby was crying bitterly. When we gave the baby a banana the baby kept quiet. We gave to the mother some money to buy food and she went smiling! I wish our poultry project was ready so we may give eggs to such children who are suffering during this time! There is a friend who sent to TLAfrica $300 to buy food for the needy; we bought food and distributed it to 24 families that were starving; it was relieving!
- there was flooding during the time we were in total lockdown. The report indicated that 11,600 people were affected by flood; 65 died as a result of flood; 1,000 hectares of land of crop were destroyed and 348 houses were destroyed. Kenya was also affected by flood. Reports indicated that 200 people lost their lives and 100,000 people were displaced.
- Almost every day I receive calls from Pastors we’ve trained in the past asking me advice on how to minister to their congregation during this time, and also asking how TLAfrica could help their families with food. I don’t have an answer to their requests about assistance, and of course I feel bad! In Rwanda, every village has a way of contributing to help the needy, but despite that, the needs continue to be overwhelming.
- The economy all over the world is in bad shape. It is more difficult for a country like Rwanda which depends on tourism. The Government’s projection of economic growth early January was 10%; but with Covid-19, it’s now projected to only 3.5%. It’s going to be very difficult!
- All the TLAfrica staff (Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo) have devotions on Monday through Zoom platform, as well as other meetings. We have worked on a business plan deriving from the strategic plan using Zoom meetings. I would like to appreciate the USA Staff who also have started meeting on Zoom to share updates and pray together. My Assistant and I will be joining them at least once a month;
How to help
Flooding: A friend sent $ 300 to help those who had been affected by flood, but when I went to the Mayor’s Office I was told that the Government is working with the Red Cross to help the affected with food and other house items, and that the Government is constructing them new houses. The staff I met with advised me to wait until when Red Cross brings food to the affected people. Then we could also bring some food together with the Government. So far, they haven’t called me.
General Starvation: I am very touched by people who are suffering for lack of food, for I have seen many coming to ask for food. Also, when we offered food with the $300 that I mentioned above, immediately the local leadership mobilized people and within some few hours we had already distributed the food. Furthermore, I feel bad for pastors and women we have trained in the past and who call me every day asking for help. I wish we could help these ones too.
Dilemma: My dilemma is that I see the need for this short term need (food), but I also want to keep our focus on sustainability projects. If you send me money to buy food I will do it today, but if you send me money to finish the poultry and bring in layers, we will provide eggs to children tomorrow and after tomorrow. I wish we could have money to help now with food, and to finish our sustainability projects!
1. Please pray that the Lord would protect our families (in USA, Africa, Hong-Kong, Europe) and give us peace. We refuse to live under fear and despair because of COVID-19 in the name of Jesus! Our Lord is the Prince of Peace; He has conquered!
2. That the Lord may give us wisdom and discernment to lead TLAfrica and to give wise advice to church leaders who are calling me for counseling during this difficult time;
3. That the Lord would continue to reveal to us His purposes through this COVID-19 time and how we can partner with Him to make His name glorified during this time of trials;
4. That the Lord would reveal to us new strategies to lead the organization in such an unusual time;
5. That the Lord would continue to meet the needs of our organization. We thank God that so far our staff have been fully paid for the last 4 months. I also thank God that we received funds to finish the Poultry Project (a family donated $ 2,000 toward the Sabbath Egg Project), and we have funds to resume the building of the Training Center/THIU (a Church donated $ 5,000 last month and recently a family donated $15,000). With the funds we already had in the account, building work will go for June and July. I am VERY ENCOURAGED!
6. That the Lord would provide for the funds we need to buy layers for our Sabbath Egg project (we still need $ 13,000 following our budget for 2020) and Pig Project, Kenya (from our 2020 budget, we still need $8,000) and also food for those who are in need either through TLAfrica or other organizations.
With gratitude do the Lord Jesus Christ,