How the pandemic is affecting the children we minister to

The overall situation

  • Generally speaking, all of the countries we work in are in a similar position to the UK, with most communities in a lockdown state to prevent the virus spreading. This includes schools, non-essential businesses, events, restaurants, etc, with borders typically being closed as well.
  • As a result, all of our schools are closed, and our residential sites are on lockdown.
  • This is obviously having a huge impact on our work, and we are having to adjust quickly in all of the regions and countries we work in.
  • In particular, we are hard at work ensuring our children are safe, reassured, and even galvanised to help their own communities by maintaining distance and practicing rigorous hygiene.
  • We are pleased to say we are not aware of any of our children or staff overseas having contracted the virus. Praise the Lord!

Some of the ways we are responding

We are responding in a range of different ways from country to country and to give you a flavour, here are some examples.

  • In Lebanon we’re contacting parents of our school kids with devotional texts, health information, and homework assignments. Our counsellor is working on sending short videos to the families and for children on how to handle stress and many other topics for parents, as well as videos of activities they can do with their kids.
  • In Kenya, our staff and kids took part in a National Day of Prayer for their country. 
  • In both Zambia and Kenya, health authorities came and spoke with our staff about how to effectively train our kids to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. 
  • In Guatemala, we’ve come up with a range of initiatives to get around various problems: getting the older girls to help with cooking when our own catering staff can’t get in – we’ve created a calendar of educational and fun events in the absence of school – created a new cleaning schedule and rota systems. And much more.
  • In Romania, we are helping kids with their homework over the internet, as well as providing healthy routine schedules, eg exercising in the yard, eating healthily, reading the Bible, praying, etc.
  • In Peru and Myanmar, we’re using posters in key areas, teaching the correct procedures for handwashing, precautions when sneezing and coughing. 
  • In Dominican Republic, we created a Coronavirus WhatsApp group of all ministry site directors to communicate and implement appropriate measures. It is especially difficult to adjust to the new measures in the DR, as theirs is a culture of hugging and handshakes, with sick people always being visited by friends, family and neighbours. Not ideal at this time!

Urgent prayer requests

We would be so grateful for your prayers, especially in the following areas. And please do not forget to let us know if we can pray for you – we get together regularly to pray and you are very much on our hearts! 

  1. Please pray for safety and well-being of all the children in our care; for their families and communities; for our staff; and for you, our partners and supporters.
  2. Please pray that the virus does not sweep through the countries and regions we are working in, especially the larger slum areas, which would be devastating.
  3. For urgent funds to help us cope - food, cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, soaps, etc. The widening threat of the coronavirus has caused severe food shortages and higher costs for the kids in every country we’re serving.
  4. Pray for our school kids as we figure out how to keep them safe, connected, educated, and nourished at their homes.
  5. Pray for the residential children and house parents that are quarantined without assistants, with some house parents having to do home school, meals and entertainment for as many as 32 kids!
  6. For protection for our children who may be stranded in their homes (we are especially anxious about child abuse escalating in times of lockdown).
  7. In Guatemala, that we are able to continue to provide legal representation for many of the girls in our care, most of whom have been referred to us by the courts (the court system is still open over there). We need this so we can protect them from further sexual exploitation
  8. Above all, please pray that the peace of God which passes all understanding is with us as we do the Lord’s work - that everything we do is in line with His will - and that we can honour and glorify Him  through our mission to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7 (NIV)

Posted on March 31st 2020

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