“That they may live” – helping to keep the Church alive in the time of Covid-19

8 April 2020

Tragedy and triumph 

This is the time of year when Christians think especially of the tragedy of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and the triumph of His resurrection on the first Easter morning. 

But we are also in a time of global tragedy – a tragedy of unbelievable proportions as coronavirus rampages through country after country. Across the world, we are all suffering, whether it is sickness, bereavement, lockdown and its deprivations, or fear of what is to come. 

A deeply grieving British Barnabas Fund supporter wrote to us recently to tell us of the death of her husband, aged 86, from Covid-19. “I and one of our sons who lives at home, are self isolated....it is so hard to accept this bereavement.” How many others will echo her words, whether in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand or any part of the world. 

For the Church is now one, united in suffering. In the Body of Christ, “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). 

Let us remember in particular our brothers and sisters in Africa, where the Covid-19 pandemic is coming on top of many other threats to life. In East Africa, the second generation of locusts have hatched weeks earlier than expected, and are predicted to cause even more devastation than the first generation did. Meanwhile West African Christians continue to suffer death and destruction at the hands of Boko Haram terrorists. 

In the midst of this tragedy, your gifts are making a real difference.

What your gifts have achieved so far 

The generous giving of Barnabas Fund supporters has enabled us already to help 29,183 Christians in coronavirus situations in eight countries. Add to that the 79,896 locust-affected Christians whom your gifts have also helped in recent weeks and that is a total of 109,079 believers in desperate and life-threatening situations whose hunger and anxiety have been turned to rejoicing, peace and hope.

Please accept our heartfelt thanks for making this possible. 

But huge need remains.

Cries for help from India

Krishnappa and his wife Mallamma are both blind. They live in a small, rented tenement in Bangalore, India. Krishnappa supports the family by working at a garment factory but now his work and wages have stopped because of the lockdown. “I am unable to provide food for my two children,” said Krishnappa. Mallamma worries also how to get her husband the medicine he needs. At their church there are about 75 other poor Christian families. “We are earnestly praying that God will help all our congregation members,” said the pastor.

Krishnappa and Mallamma, who are both blind, worry about providing food for their children, and medicine

“Who will help us, I don’t know? But we trust in God.” 

Murugesh is an Indian pastor whose congregation are mostly daily wage earners, who are only paid on the days when they can get work. The lockdown has severely hit the people in his small town and they have lost their work. Pastor Murugesh depends for his own support on donations from his church members, but now they have nothing to give. “I have four daughters and I need to feed my family, I also help the needy in my congregation,” he said. “Who will help us, I don’t know? But we trust in God.”

Botoli and her husband know God will never let them down

“We are living by faith. God will never let us down.”

Many migrant workers from north-east India work in Bangalore, including a large number of Christians. “We are living by faith. God will never let us down. He will send us help,” said Botoli, who can no longer earn anything from her job as a saleswoman at a health store. Her husband used to teach at a small Bible college in Bangalore but last year was diagnosed with cancer of the colon. The medical treatment forced him to give up his job and Botoli is the family breadwinner. 

“I am glad I can eat one meal a day” 

Another Christian migrant from north-east India, Temsukala, has also lost her income because of the lockdown. “I have no parents. God is my all in all. I am glad I can eat at least one full meal a day,” she said.

God is my all in all," said Temsukala, who lost her income in lockdown

A group of 30 migrants from Nagaland, who had been earning their living in roadside eateries or small restaurants in Bangalore, are now stranded and without money. “The lockdown is a terrible thing that has happened to us. We have no work. No place to stay and no money to buy food,” said one called Esther. “We are from a distant place and we don’t know how long this lockdown will prolong. We are very worried,” she added. The group are living huddled together in a small space. No masks or sanitiser are available for them. “This is not the best for us at this time of isolation but what do we do?” asked Esther. “We are praying for God to send us help.”

Resurrection power

As we remember, over the next few days, how our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ died and rose again to life, please pray that His resurrection power will be at work in all these desperate situations. 

We know that many Barnabas Fund supporters have already given generously and sacrificially to help poor and persecuted Christians affected by Covid-19 and lockdown around the world. We know that there are many Covid-19 needs in our own countries. Your prayers are the most important thing you can give, but if you would like to make a financial donation again, it will be quickly and effectively used to help more Christians affected by the coronavirus. 

Barnabas Coronavirus Emergency Network

We at Barnabas Fund are immensely thankful to God for the privilege of having a network of over 90 Christian organisations and ministries through whom we can work. 

The ever-expanding network is providing grassroots information on the effects of the virus and of the measures taken to contain its spread, in particular government lockdowns and their impact on vulnerable Christian communities. This provides Barnabas Fund with reliable up-to-date information, from a Christian perspective, and guides our response in terms of practical support for coronavirus-affected Christians. This in turn ensures that funds given are used as effectively as possible in this unprecedented and fast-changing global emergency.

Current needs

If you are moved to help again, for example, our Indian brothers and sisters who have told their stories above:

  • £3.50 ($4.50; €4) could buy a hygiene kit (soap, sanitiser, masks) for a poor Christian family in India
  • £10 ($12.50; €11.50) could help sustain an Indian pastor of a poor congregation, while his locked down church members are unable to support him
  • £12 ($15; €14) could provide a food parcel (basics such as rice, wheat flour, lentils, cooking oil, tea, sugar and salt) for a poor Christian family in India
  • Also:
  • £14.50 ($18; €16.50) could provide food for a Nigerian Christian family for a month
  • £20 ($25; €23) could help a poor Christian family in Albania, suffering under lockdown
  • £39 ($48; €44) could provide 5 protective surgical gowns for a Christian hospital in Nigeria