It has been emotional keeping up with the many covid-19 related requests coming from our brothers and sisters in East Africa. Through God’s blessing, we have been able to send multiple contributions, on behalf of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, to those in real need, and our brothers and sisters want us to say “thank you”! This is a message from some of our members in Uganda:
“thanks for the support towards the widows in our area. We as area elders we appreciate what you did in our area especially in covid19 lockdown, you have done something helpful to our sisters (widows) in Jesus name. Thanks to our country secretary many times I call him asking for help whatever needed, l also thank him in some two days back when two of our sister (widows) were affected by the floods I called him and he had to buy to them one bedsheet and 5 kg of maize flour each family for the beginning I appreciate in Jesus name. Thanks that the support fund for widows 1,550,000 was clearly given to us we also appreciate that. We as area elders we have done our level best but now we have seen that it is too much, so we call upon your help you also to be involved in on the side of help. There are 43 families (widows) and non widows which needs help in the whole area, more especially widows of Madowa ecclesia. Much support to those who were affected by the floods, I had made this research for almost a month and above in the whole area, many calls from different ecclesia but I have discovered that are only 43 families who are badly off. Thanks in Jesus name”
Not just Covid-19
Not only has half of East Africa been locked down, but since the end of 2019, our brothers and sisters there have also been affected by locusts and flooding as well as drought. It is the poorest of the poor who are most at risk; the widows who have been discarded by their families and who are unable to communicate in English and have no access to communications; the orphans who have nowhere to sleep; the struggling young brother who has no land to fall back to and is made homeless because his meagre paid job is not there anymore – these are our brothers and sisters who do not have the resources to make contact via social media, these are the ones who we need to help.
There is a lot of suffering, there is no doubt; there is fear, but also a hope. Many of our brothers and sisters view this as another sign that Jesus’ return is near. It may well be, but the point is the only real hope is having both God and Jesus in our lives – all the time, not just in crises!
We urgently review every request that comes in to ensure fairness and that the right brothers and sisters are being assisted. Many will say that they are “suffering”, so in love and with as much research as we can, we try to enable help for the “poorest of the poor” and encourage all that we all have to be “good Samaritans” and to help each other as best as we can.
Not only money
Not only have we been blessed to provide significant amounts of assistance via welfare, we have also been providing and encouraging spiritual contact via email, zoom and social media. Bible Classes and Breaking of Breads via one of the conferencing programmes are being run; brothers and sisters have been using the district radio stations to get messages across; past contacts and lost brothers and sisters have returned or made contact with active brothers and sisters. Even though visits are not taking place and many Christadelphian ecclesias are not meeting, brothers and sisters in all countries are working to encourage and to teach others, for example, meeting via the internet for 40 mins each evening, giving public talks, translation work, and countries are being sent regular exhortations, whilst some are joining Bible Classes and services in the UK.
Another message sent from Uganda:
“thanks for all you’re doing in this lock down. In Uganda we are going on with prayers in our homes and also conducting preaching on this local radios at trading centres and our members have been encouraged and I also record myself when I am exhorting and I send to brothers and sisters who have WhatsApp and they also send me how they have understood which is keeping us to God. However, the situation is not OK because we are not working and getting food is not easy members end up eating one meal in a day and you can see some photos of Buvuma but most of them were interrupted by the virus and I will go back and take others, thanks waiting to hear from you. Yours Henry.”
There are other positives too
The lockdown has increased the time that we spend together at a slower pace, albeit virtual; there has been time to do work that doesn’t normally get done when we are rushing around.
“It’s God’s blessings to the elders of Lango area for the continued support both spiritually and materially that you are giving to us to see that God’s people are supported during this pandemic corona. In Akokoro ecclesia, we have divided the brothers into small groups, so that on Sundays we have service one after another so as to reduce the number of people during the service and have been the method to keep us united and strong. We remain pray for God’s blessings and healing during this pandemic upon you all in UK. Thanks, Julius.”
Bro John Mathias