Pandemic lockdowns have caused physical and financial struggles as well as isolation, which has been felt especially among believers in South Asia who have been unable to meet with fellow believers and spiritual leaders. But this challenge has also presented opportunity for spiritual growth.
Though some believers may feel like an island of faith among their families or communities, pastors have remained connected to their church members via phone and have encouraged them to use this time to draw nearer to God.
Kaksi’s pastor encouraged her to trust God during the lockdown and led the church in chain prayer.
“I have learned to depend on God more than ever before,” Kaksi said. “Although the lockdown period has been very hard for all of us, the Lord has been very good, and He has been teaching us during this lockdown time.”
Madhur, a widow with two teenage boys at home, has learned about faith and trusting in God from her pastor, who often sends text messages with prayer requests, Bible verses and photos of how to worship at home.
“He told us that … the Lord has designed this lockdown period so that we will spend more time in the presence of God, because we are at home all the time,” Madhur said. “So during this lockdown period I was also able to bring my sons together in prayer and fasting. … So our prayer fellowship pictures we used to send to [our pastor] and he used to send his pictures to us. That’s how … we started to experience God’s blessings even though we were not allowed to gather together for worship service.”
GFA Workers Funnel God’s Provision
Seeing the need to help provide much-needed provisions to families in Madhur’s village, GFA workers distributed 100 food packets on May 17. Madhur viewed the gift as God Himself providing for them in this difficult time; she expects the food to last her family 15 days.
“Amazingly, God has been providing our needs,” said Madhur. “Sometimes when I needed to buy … but I didn’t have money, somehow God sent people with groceries, that included the thing like cooking oil or rice that I needed. … God has been good and gracious to us and provided all our needs.”
Kaksi, who is blind, depends on a small government stipend and the generosity of others to make ends meet.
“When I received the packet, I was so glad and I thanked the Lord immediately for giving me this beautiful gift, because it … tells me how much Jesus loves me,” said Kaksi.
A local GFA Bridge of Hope centre has been actively involved in helping the community during the lockdown. Keturah, a Bridge of Hope staff member who had been particularly concerned about the children during this lockdown, joyfully helped with the food distribution.
“I feel very, very satisfied and happy when I see a smile on the face of those children, when they received a biscuit packet or a little food that we hand over to the family,” Keturah said. “That is the greatest joy I have, to help the children. This lockdown has become an opportunity for me to exercise my love and my care for those who are in need, especially the children.”
This sense of community has pervaded the local Body of Christ. Though physically isolated, believers are reaching out to others and encouraging one another in this tough season. Many are finding new strength as their faith grows deeper roots. Part of this growth has come from seeing God’s provision for their physical needs through others.
“I’d like to thank all those who have provided us this grocery,” Madhur said. “I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. I don’t have words good enough to express my gratitude and thankfulness to them.”