Supported Ministries and COVID-19
As a world-wide pandemic, COVID-19 not only affects all of us at Good Samaritan, it also affects the lives and ministries of the more than 20 missionaries and ministries we support through prayer and/or financial assistance. We've heard from a few of those recently. All request our support, especially in prayer for themselves and their ministries. Sometimes we might not realize the importance of our prayers to those ministries. But as we hear from these ministries, it is obvious that with our Prayers of the People and our private prayers they receive a most meaningful sense of support and assurance.
St. James School: We've heard from David Kasievich (Head of School) of this Episcopal school in Philadelphia. Although now closed, they continue to offer services to their students and families, many from the poorest neighborhoods of the city. Their "Welcome Table" team provides over 95 meals per day from tables set up on Clearfield Street between 9 am and 1 pm. Students and families can pick up breakfast, a hot lunch, and a full grocery bag for dinner.
St. James teachers, working from home, contact every student every day by phone, text, or email. Some, employing physical distancing, try to visit a few homes every day. There is also a "homework" assistance staff member on the street each day. The school's cook, Chef Brooks, comes in and cooks in isolation, and a limited number of staff are on site and managing operations so others can work from home.
Please pray for not only the staff at St. James as they continue their services, but also for the many students. Please check the school's website to see more and to learn how you might directly support them through food and other donations. On their website, there is a message from David Kasievich about how you might help.
Ron Irene: Last week in Missions News, we gave a full report from Ron Irene regarding his ministries in Asuncion, Paraguay. If you missed that report and Ron's prayer requests, please see it here.
Phillip and Julie S. in Asia: Although we no longer provide Phillip and Julie financial support, they very much appreciate our continuing prayer support. Late fall 2019, they returned to the states for some rest and a chance to visit. They had planned to return to Asia in mid-April. Due to the virus, they've already cancelled their return flight and are uncertain when they'd be able to return to their work. They request our prayers not only for support while they wait until they can return, but also for their children as they cope with all of this along with being away from many of their friends. Phillip and Julie also ask that we pray for their discernment regarding the future of their tourism business as well as a neighboring business near their home that depend on tourism to sustain them financially.
Amnion in Drexel Hill: They want us to know that they are open and continuing their services to women and families who find themselves faced with unplanned pregnancies. Many families are very anxious due not only to their pregnancy situation, but also the fact that many have lost jobs because of the virus. They ask that we pray for the Amnion staff and especially for those young women and families they work with.
Ninos con Valor in Bolivia: Tyson Malo sends along a letter to all of us:
Hello Dear Friends at the Church of the Good Samaritan. … We hope that you are safe and taking precautions to stay well during this scary time. All of us here at Ninos con Valor are very grateful for your financial support and your prayers on our behalf. Because of your support, all of us are safe and being well-cared for by our loving tia's (aunties or caregivers). We are now staying in our homes and avoiding contact with outside people to avoid catching the new coronavirus and, as always, eating the very nutritious food prepared by our cooks. If you are interested, you can follow us on our Facebook page for Ninos con Valor. Please take care of yourself and your families. We care about you. … Sincerely and with love, The Children and Staff of Ninos con Valor."
Frank and Anne B. in North Africa: Frank writes: "Self-Isolate With Me: The entire world is in a very strange place these days. Life in North Africa is pretty similar to everywhere else; people are mostly just staying at home and working if they can. So far, our team and friends in [our home city in Africa] are doing as well as can be expected." Although they are very much in touch with their friends, colleagues, and new Christians in Africa, Frank and Anne are now in Pittsburgh, where they came to visit their children in college just before all foreign air travel was shut down.
Last month, in Pittsburgh, Frank was rear-ended by a semi-truck and their minivan was totaled, with insurance not near enough to replace what they lost. He says in his upbeat spirit, "Fortunately, we have nowhere to go these days, so that has worked out well!" Because of the pandemic, their businesses (in North Africa) are not going well and they've had to lay off some employees, and they are faced with the possibility of making further cuts. One bright spot is that Anne's language center has done an amazing job of offering language learning online, and this has helped keep some employees working.
For the most part, they report that they are in good spirits, but their daughter Amina is a high school senior and upset that she'll miss graduation, prom, and her final dance performance. Their son Asher is scheduled to get married on June 6. Frank writes, mirroring the feelings of probably most people in the world: "Will Asher's wedding be a beautiful ceremony with two hundred people in a church as planned … or will it be ten people in his fiancée's living room? We just don't know." He and Anne ask us to hold them, their family, and their businesses and ministry among Muslims in North Africa in prayer.