Here's how your prayers and gifts are helping persecuted Christians in Asia during the Covid-19 crisis.
Thanks to your continuing incredible prayers and support, persecuted Christians in Asia are receiving the aid they need during this Covid-19 crisis, many of whom have lost incomes due to national lockdowns and restrictions. Other means of support, such as training, ‘presence’ ministry and encouragement, are being provided over the internet for those with access to it.
If you’re struggling to keep track, here’s how Open Doors partners have been at work in Asia recently:
You might have heard Usha’s* desperate phone call to an Open Doors partner when we shared it earlier in the month – with the news that our partners were able to bring her and her Christian community the food they needed. Our partners recently went back to see how Usha and her small community are doing – the video below includes part of the original phone call, and a brief interview with Usha.
Thanks to your prayers and support, vulnerable Christians in Vietnam have received food aid from Open Doors partners. This distribution didn't happen without risk, though. Local authorities tried to stop the distribution – but it got through in the end, praise God!
Through a video message sent by Pastor Foom, after all the families have safely collected their rations, one of the recipients expressed his gratitude towards those who helped them:
Sara* is a believer from a Muslim background and a single mother of three in the Southern Philippines. On 20 March, Sara’s entire city was placed under lockdown. All forms of public transport were suspended. Business establishments were not allowed to operate unless they were providing for basic needs. School lessons were already suspended even before the lockdown was declared.
Within the first two weeks of the lockdown, Sara and her children received food aid from Open Doors, which greatly helped Sara and other believers from Muslim backgrounds during this difficult time.
But as the community quarantine continued and strict observation of lockdown ordinances were imposed in the city, sending and getting help became very challenging. Sara tried her best to make both ends meet. There were times when they skipped one meal in order to extend their food supply, but even though they scrimped, they began to run out of food.
"The Lord is indeed good. His provision is always on time." Sara, Southern Philippines
During this time, Sara’s trust and confidence in the Lord was put to the test. Even though she had no assurance of when this situation would end, Sara resolved to put her hope and trust in the Lord alone.
The Lord has never failed Sara and her family. His provision is unexpected, but always timely. “The Lord is indeed good,” Sara shared with an Open Doors partner over the phone. “His provision is always on time. Every time we run out of food, His provision would come, just in time for our next meal.”
Like Sara, other believers from Muslim backgrounds are also experiencing the same thing. Most of them don’t receive much help from the government. If they do, the relief goods only last for a week or a few days. But their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is sustaining them during this difficult time.
Despite the Bangladesh government announcing a huge aid package for the poor during the Covid-19 crisis, Christians are unlikely to receive much of this help. Locally elected chairmen, members of the government party, and ruling political leaders have been appointed as representatives to identify needy people in various areas and distribute aid among them. Unfortunately, most of the local representatives and agents have taken the goods for themselves. Though many of them have been arrested, and others fined, misappropriation is still taking place.
But, thanks to your support, Open Doors partners have been able to reach hundreds of families so far, providing non-perishables such as rice, potatoes, salt, oil, and dahl. A local partner said, “Some of them asked me who donated these goods. When I told them that they are believers like us and they are praying for us every day, tears ran down their faces. They become very emotional and very happy.”
The Christians hit hardest are believers from Muslim backgrounds who meet in house churches and discipleship groups. The members of these groups are highly dependent on one another, as families and communities often reject or abuse converts from Islam, leaving them unsupported and reliant on their new family in Christ. Through our partners, and thanks to your gifts, Open Doors has provided hundreds of believers with non-perishable food items, such as rice, sugar, oil, salt, tea, flour and instant noodles.
House group leader Ayu* was deeply moved by the support. “Your help is God’s answer and confirmation to our prayers, especially for our members who have been in dire need of daily support for the last two weeks,” she says.
And finally, thanks to Open Doors supporters, a church in Sri Lanka that was attacked last September has provided food for its neighbours – including the attackers.
Pastor Shiyanth shares essential aid with his community, including those who recently attacked Christians
With the assistance of Open Doors, Pastor Shiyanth’s church was able to provide dry rations for 100 families through the local government representative in the village. Even the people who had attacked believers from the church, last September, received packs of essential goods and were deeply moved by the gesture. They later discussed this amongst themselves. “The church could have just helped their own believers. They didn’t have to help us, but they did. Why did we do so much against them?” they asked.
This act of love has opened new doors to reach out to that community. Pastor Shiyanth shared, “Doing this gave us more opportunities to share the gospel and show the love of Christ to people. More people are eager to know the Lord.
“I see a great renewal within the church. Even the local government representative in the village has changed in his attitude towards the Christian community. We are building better relationships with the people now. Thank you so much for your partnership.”
*Names changed for security reasons
None of this would be possible without your continued support and prayers – thank you. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are far from over, but you can find more ways to stay connected to and support your persecuted church family on our Covid-19 page.
Every £56 could mean a Rapid Response team can courageously bring emergency aid to a family of persecuted believers.