Covid-19 Relief Update


Early in May the coronavirus crisis was particularly devastating in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Both the impact of the virus itself as well as the strict lockdowns made life particularly challenging for so many in South Asia.

We sent out an urgent appeal for help and so many of you responded promptly and generously. Since May 6th we’ve been able to send over $70,000 to 15 of our partners for relief needs.

However, getting relief to our partners was not without much challenge. In India, the government made changes in late September 2020 as to how our partners could receive funds from us. Those changes took effect during the height of the recent Covid-19 crisis, causing delays in the delivery of the urgently needed help. For example, we sent funds to one partner on May 7th but they only received the support on June 4th, due to the backlog and closures of banks and government offices in light of the pandemic.

In Nepal, the lockdown was so severe that one of our partners could not even go to the bank to withdraw the relief we sent. Many of you were praying with us for this situation but it was so difficult to hear this knowing that so many were suffering. Our partner, Philemon, shared with us that many people were not able to give food to their family and children. “They eat some vegetables and drink water … They did not even get any githa and bhyakur (kind of yams) in their jungle. They tried to borrow food from the shopkeeper who did not want to give goods with no money.” It’s difficult for us to imagine how hard the situation has been for so many people.

The month of July was very difficult in Bangladesh. The government imposed a “shutdown” which was more severe than the lockdowns have been. Thankfully our partners there were given permission to conduct relief work despite the severity of the restrictions. Now the shutdown has been lifted even though Covid-19 cases remain high. The government realized that the vast majority of people simply could not continue on with severe restrictions in place.

The relief that we have been able to send to our partners has been so gratefully received. Just to be clear, the issues in India with transferring funds appear to be running more smoothly and the lockdown in Nepal was eased so that our partner could distribute the relief that was sent.

Pastor Kirit sent us a wonderful message that they were able to help 208 poor families with the relief. He said that “every beneficiary invited our ministers to visit their house” in follow up. “Many families are expressing to receive Christ.” The missionaries have been returning to these areas and have been able to share the eternal hope of the gospel. Kirit shares that this has been a very fruitful effort.

In Nepal the relief was distributed among 961 families. The families were so relieved to receive the emergency food relief as most of the “sons could not go out to get any jobs due to Corona and the lockdowns”.

We are grateful that the Lord has enabled Engage Today to be an avenue of blessing through your generosity.

The needs do remain significant in the churches connected to our partners. Many church members are out of work which also means that support for the pastors has been reduced significantly. Our mission will continue receive resources for this ongoing need. Thank you for helping us to demonstrate love and compassion to the Body of Christ around the world.