Myanmar is experiencing similar challenges as much of South Asia. The country had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 23. Though some essential shops remain open, the government has implemented increasingly stringent policies, including a “stay at home” program and local curfews, to mitigate the rise of confirmed cases.
The COVID-related mitigation efforts in Myanmar and many other places in Asia have greatly impaired the local economy. More than 25,000 garment workers in Myanmar have been laid off. 1 Multitudes are unable to earn an income, while grocery prices have risen, adding to their bleak situation. In the midst of this crisis, GFA-workers continue to show the love of Christ in various tangible forms.
Love in the Form of a Face Mask
While the necessity of food is critical, villagers also need basic items to preserve their health as the virus spreads. Officials have recommended wearing face masks to prevent spreading the disease. But many cannot afford a face mask when what little they have is spent on food for their day-to-day survival.
One of the district leaders serving in Myanmar,Bishop Nochhum mor Abraham, responded to this need and arranged to distribute face masks to villagers in several districts who could not afford them. Recipients were grateful for this loving act. It was just one way believers have been able to show the love of Christ in the midst of this difficult season.
Several other GFA pastors, such as Pastor Kaleb serving in Andhra Pradesh, India, have also given guidance on best practices to maintain health, such as encouraging villagers to wear face masks, frequently wash their hands and practice social distancing. This has often accompanied food distribution.
Love by Way of Rickshaw
Similarly, Pastor Obadiah and members of his church loaded up an auto rickshaw to distribute essential items such as toothpaste, soap, oil, rice and sugar to 200 families in a village in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Other families, made up of daily wage labourers living in huts in a slum, received bags of rice. The lockdown exasperated their scant supplies, and many had not been able to eat a good meal for many days.
Love Serves the Public Servant
While the rest of the population is on lockdown, the duty of policemen and government cleaning workers continues, and these individuals often work long hours. In recognition of their tireless service, GFA pastor Tajim and his congregation prepared cooked meals to give to these public servants. They distributed 100 curd rice packages, 150 vegetable packets and water bottles. Another pastor gave masks, soap and sanitizer to the local police station.
The forms are varied, but the singular message remains: Jesus loves and cares about their needs. This love is shown through the caring acts of His dedicated servants.