“He passed away fighting Covid,” said Pastor D to Barnabas Fund, recalling the death of a pastor colleague in Gujarat state, India. The two had studied together for four years as they trained for ministry. Now his friend, called Home so early, leaves behind not only a grieving family but also a congregation bereft of spiritual care – just at the time when India is being shaken by its worst emergency in living memory.
There are deaths in every church and deaths in every family, Pastor D told us. Many deaths bring destitution in their wake, as breadwinners pass away, leaving their dependents hungry and helpless.
A highly infectious strain of Covid-19 has overwhelmed India, now followed by the previously rare “black fungus” (mucormycosis) which poses an additional deadly threat to bodies weakened by the virus.
Pastor D himself survived Covid-19, but another of his pastor colleagues, recently recovered from Covid, has been struck down by what appears to be the dreaded black fungus that kills 50% of those it infects. Over 2,000 pastors in India have already died of Covid, leaving their congregations leaderless, just at the time they most need pastoral care.
To sickness, fear and bereavement are added back-breaking financial burdens as families, who have lost their income, struggle to pay for medical care. Many people are selling their possessions to raise money for the hospitalisation of loved ones. All of it is causing immense trauma, and even panic attacks amongst his congregation, said Pastor D.
You can help them
“Food is medicine” is an old saying but a very true one in Covid India. For well-nourished bodies are better able to fight off infection. A family food parcel to last about a month costs only £11 ($16; €13).
Then there is real medicine and medical care. A network of Christian hospitals across India is desperately struggling to cope in this unprecedented situation. Will you help Barnabas equip and strengthen Christian hospitals and health workers, that they may not sink under the weight of Covid needs? We are working through an emergency task force of Indian Christian medical ministries, which Barnabas has brought together, including the Christian Medical Association of India and the Emmanuel Hospital Association.
Some typical costs are:
- 1 PPE kit (for one medical staff person for one 8-hour shift) $6
- 1 family food parcel or rice, wheat flour, lentils and cooking oil $16
- 1 pulse oximeter for a home health worker $22
- 1 oxygen cylinder (type D) $230
Your Indian Christian brothers and sisters need you. Please give today