Asia, moved to Europe, then to North America, and now Africa. The WHO predicts 3 million cases in Africa with 300,000 deaths.
I spent two full days this past week, with Zoom call after Zoom call, listening to our partners in Africa and how the COVID-19 virus was affecting them personally, as well as their community, city, and nation.
To say that those conversations were heavy and difficult would be an understatement. They were disturbing and discouraging, despite how delightful and beautiful our partners are. [Our partners are so positive – seeing what God is doing to the Church, to people’s faith, and seeing how He is bringing good despite the pain! I love each and every one of these dear brothers and sisters.]
We heard stories of food insecurity, significant increases in prices, police brutality in enforcing the lockdown, corruption in the distribution of food by governments, lack of water, and danger to our own teams who were distributing food by those desperate for food. There is a lack of testing, lack of ventilators, lack of ICU beds, and a lack of resources to flatten the curve and keep the virus from spreading. Many believe that the reported numbers are a fraction of what is truly occurring. Our teams tell us that people continue to say that they would rather risk dying from COVID-19 than dying of hunger. And amidst these challenges, other challenges don’t stop. The son of one of our partners was kidnapped this past week and threatened with death, and three church members of one family in one of our partner churches were raped. Our heart aches for the on-going trauma that people have to survive, day after day.
We are encouraged by the number of churches and organizations who have signed on to our Coalition for Action: COVID 19 in Africa, and this week we tried to raise the bar further by requesting all those in the coalition to work towards having all of their church members wear masks outside of their homes.
This is a global health crisis with a global economic crisis on top of it, and the latter crisis may cost more lives than the former in the poorest nations.
And this is unlike other times, because we are being called to remember the poor while dealing with our own crisis. This is a time of real treasure-testing for us. We are reminded in Matthew 6:19-21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This is the time to remember the poor and the most vulnerable. We can’t let ourselves be shut down because of how overwhelming it is and escape in Netflix, while they parish.
Government officials in Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and Malawi have voted to forego their April salaries to combat COVID-19.
I have decided to join them and put my April salary toward the continued fight of COVID-19 as well. Michael, my husband, and I have chosen to put our stimulus funds towards helping people in Africa purchase food and sanitation supplies in order to stay home.
We understand that everyone is at a different place in terms of their ability to give. We would like to challenge you, our brothers and sisters in North America, to prayerfully consider what God would have you do during this unprecedented time. Join with us in helping African families have a choice to stay home and wait out the crisis as directed. All donations until the end of April will be given to help the fight against COVID-19 in Africa.
For more information, as well as some excellent resources about COVID-19 in Africa, please go here.