“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Philippians 1:3-5 (ESV)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May I take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense part played by our Christian brothers and sisters with their prayers and practical support in our time of need. Our churches are full of gratitude. Click below to listen to a thankyou message from Christopher who pastors the churches in Karadiyanaru and Urugamam.
The government has promised relief to the poor and some food items have been sent out. Sadly, however, for the people who need it most they are empty promises. Corrupt government and political officials hijack this food for their own families and favourites. They have even resorted to playing the religion game so Christians have very little chance of receiving any government relief.
Much-needed help provided by LEFC
Up to 18th April we have distributed food parcels to around 2,430 LEFC Christian families as well as to more than 1,000 non-Christians at the request of the local government. Food parcels contain rice, wheat flour, red lentils, soya protein, tea leaves and sugar, which would cover around half the average family’s weekly needs and cost about £10. A big or needy family receives more. We have had a request to help feed an additional 300 non-Christian families.
We will help where we can but we are prioritising the 1,500 most needy Christian families as we realise that this level of support will be hard to sustain for long.
If you would like to help, you can donate using the button below:
A special pass which opens doors
By the grace of God, through my contacts, we have obtained a special pass from the police so we can travel and distribute food during the curfew. Ps. Aloysius and Br. Ravi purchase food items from shops that are closed to the public during the curfew but whose owners are well disposed to us as we have been buying from them for many years. Due to the curfew people can’t go to the roadsides but once inside the village they can move house to house. So they are distributing food items in this way.
A brief window in the curfew to buy food
The government is continuing to take draconian measures to halt the coronavirus. Most people consider them necessary, but very harsh. Although only 10 people have died as of 19th April, they have imposed an island-wide curfew, because the limited medical facilities could be swamped. The curfew is only lifted for 8 hours (6am to 2pm) roughly every 5/6 days, to enable people to go out to buy what they need. However, there are long queues and congestion in the shops which sell food. Many have had to return home empty handed after standing in a queue for a long time as they are afraid of being caught outside during curfew hours. The rich have been able to build up a stock of some provisions, but those who need to buy food on a daily basis are helpless. The government has lifted the curfew in some areas from 19th April.
Manual labourers and fishermen have no income
Most of our LEFC members depend for their income on manual labour and fishing. The majority of men go to big cities to do labouring and have all been sent home. These people are worst affected as there is no hope of pursuing their normal livelihood without incurring punishment for being caught outside during curfew. So far 22,000 people have been arrested for breaking the curfew. Most of the labourers and fishermen have not been able to go to work for nearly four weeks. There is simply not enough time outside the curfew for fishermen to go out in their boats, catch the fish, bring them ashore and sell them. As a result their families are starving.
There are spiritual encouragements among the trials
Pastors and church workers are individually doing house visits, praying and teaching the word of God. In spite of the troubles and trials, most of our believers are confident that God will bring them safely through this pandemic. Some look at the enforced stay at home as an opportunity to spend more time in prayer and Bible study. Our gospel workers visit the homes of the believers to check on their well-being (observing social distancing). I’m able to share God’s word – via WhatsApp – with the workers on a daily basis.
The LEFC office at 6 Mile Post is busy
At 6 Mile Post all the gates are closed, but inside the office staff who live there are working. They are packing food items, putting tracts inside the parcels, catching up with filing, reports and histories, preparing translations, sharing messages, counselling over the phone and making face masks.
Thank you for all your prayers and support!
Yours in Christ,
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