A message about COVID-19 from the General-Secretary of the Kale Heywot Church in Ethiopia: Dr. Semeon Mulatu
At this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are praying for the whole world. When we look at how this crisis is affecting well-develop countries like the US, Italy and Spain, it is hard to even imagine what kind of devastation this could cause if the virus starts spreading in Ethiopia and most of the developing countries of the world. When we consider our poor medical services, how people live close to each other in small houses, the kind of public transportation most people use, and how crowded our cities are etc. unless the Lord shows us mercy, we are going to face a gruesome reality.
It has become very difficult for our government to impose a lock down even for few weeks because many people cannot buy enough food that lasts them for few days. Many people have to earn their daily meal by working daily. Even if a lock down is declared people may decide to go out anyway and do whatever they need to do to survive instead of dying of hunger in their homes. It is going to be tough for the government to reinforce such a decision.
As people of God, our hope is only in Him. Ps. 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” We believe that God is in control and he is our refuge, our strength and help and we believe that he is with us as we face the circumstances that may come our way in the coming days.
We, at the Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church (EKHC), have asked all our local churches to cancel all big gatherings including Sunday worship services, conferences, trainings etc. It is difficult to assess how far this is being implemented everywhere because communicating with all the 9800+ churches all over the country is very challenging. There was some opposition at the beginning because people didn’t see the seriousness of the situation. Now they are slowly accepting it after the growing awareness created by the media. We have also told our churches to take care of their members and people in their neighborhood that are being affected by the crisis, specially the poor.
We just finished three weeks of fasting and prayer in all EKHC churches regarding the Covid-19 crisis. All evangelical churches in the country also came together and declared a prayer and fasting program for a whole week. In addition to that all the leaders of all the major religious groups in the country including Orthodox, Muslims, evangelicals, Adventists, Pentecostals etc. came together and declared a one month prayer for all their people to ask forgiveness from God and to ask for his protection from the Covid-19 crisis. Our government officials have acknowledged that praying to God is the only hope we have as a country at this time of dire circumstances.
The local and federal government offices are also asking us to contribute to their efforts of tackling this crisis. We are also preparing to help our local and international missionaries at this time of crisis. It has become very difficult to mobilize our churches to contribute financially at this time because we are unable to call a board meeting. Board members come from different parts of the country and traveling is very restricted at this time. Doing a virtual meeting is not possible here because of our limited infrastructure. We are asking each of our zonal offices to do their best to prepare for all possibilities.