Thanks to your incredible support and continuing prayers, Open Doors partners have been able to distribute vital food aid to Christians in Asia who have lost incomes due to national lockdowns and restrictions in response to Covid-19. Other means of support, such as training, ‘presence’ ministry and encouragement, are being provided over the internet for those with access to it.
Larisa* from India is a believer who has received emergency aid. She says, “Due to the pandemic, it was getting difficult for us to survive. With no work and having small children at home, our brother (an Open Doors local partner) came with relief items and it was encouraging. I thank the organisation for providing us required grocery items.”
In some regions, Christians face discrimination as aid is distributed because of their faith, so they are relying on other believers for support. There are also cases of Christian health workers facing discrimination as protective equipment (PPE) is distributed, so our local partners have also helped to provide them with this essential equipment.
In India, Open Doors local partners have provided around 1,000 families with vital aid and are preparing to help thousands more – none of which would be possible without your prayers and gifts.
Saisha*, a believer who has been staying alone in her village, shares how the food aid came as an answer to her prayers.
Large families especially struggle to make sure there’s enough food to go around. Kabir* has five children. He says, “Thank you for remembering us in these tough times. During this tough time, it was challenging to provide food for the family. I am grateful for your kind and timely help.” Sadhil*, father of six children, also sends his thanks: “I thank God for rescuing us in this challenging time. Due to the lockdown we have no job and no food for the family. I thank you for the help given to us.”
In India and Nepal (where at least 200 families have been helped, with plans to help hundreds more), aid that is distributed may include wheat flour, rice, pulses, tea, cooking oil, turmeric powder, sugar, salt, matches, chili flakes, snacks, soap, masks and sanitizer. Families are given enough food to last between three and five weeks.
In Bangladesh, Open Doors have helped 850 families with aid so far. Bangladesh has been hit hard by the economic impact of global lockdowns – it has been reported that a million Bangladeshi garment workers have lost their jobs as Western nations cancel orders for clothes.
Christians, especially those from Muslim backgrounds, have been victims of discrimination when relief has been distributed by the government here. “The authorities think we (Christians) get support a lot from foreigners so they do not give us relief,” said Simon Chakma, a believer from the country.
An Open Doors local partner said, “We have been receiving phone calls every day from believers from different parts of Bangladesh, pleading for help in the midst of the crisis caused by coronavirus.”
Thanks to your support, Open Doors partners are preparing to help 2,000 more families with relief aid.
In Malaysia, Open Doors has helped 30 families with aid. Many here have the privilege of working from home and are still receiving a salary, so the lockdown hasn’t led to the same level of need as in a country like Bangladesh, but there are some who still struggle.
Sarah*, a believer from a Muslim background, is one of those who struggled financially during the lockdown. She and her husband were earning a reasonable income by doing freelance work for various companies, but their clients stopped paying them.
They have a one-year-old daughter and her expenses alone have made a significant dent in their savings. They could find no way out of this, except to pray to God.
Sarah and her husband prayed for a miracle, specifically for their finances in the next few months. Immediately after they said “Amen”, an Open Doors local partner called Sarah to ask her if she needed any basic necessities.
“Yes, we do!” she exclaimed. Thanks to your prayers and support, they were then able to send Sarah and her family enough groceries, baby food, and other essentials for the baby to last them for the next couple of weeks.
Sarah was incredibly grateful and praised God saying, “God is good!”
In the Southern Philippines, Open Doors has helped 172 families with aid.
The lockdowns here have made it difficult for believers to continue to work to support their families. One church leader, a believer from a Muslim background, shared, “We are concerned about our harvest of corn. We will be harvesting soon, but since the establishments are closed and people are in quarantine, we don’t expect to sell much during this time.”
Thanks to your prayers and support, Open Doors was also able to provide initial practical assistance for this leader and his family, including money to buy groceries and necessities during this pandemic.
HELPING THE CHURCH IN OTHER WAYS
Emotional and mental health and wellbeing is a top priority for the work of Open Doors in Asia, alongside aid distribution and online support. Persecuted believers are often incredibly isolated under normal circumstances, and the lockdown restrictions only increase the feeling that they are alone and forgotten. Using whatever means possible – the internet, phone calls, or visiting in person where it is safe to do so – Open Doors partners continue to show our persecuted brothers and sisters that, in this time of crisis, their global church family is still standing with them.
- Praise God that relief aid is being; pray that more struggling believers in Asia will be reached with everything they need
- For believers who are on their own, or keeping their faith secret from their families and who are unable to meet up with other Christians, that they would know God’s presence and comfort close to them
- For Open Doors partners who are distributing the aid and running online encouragement programmes, that God would keep them safe and give them wisdom in their work.
*Names changed for security reasons