1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.………10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
COVID-19: a summary
Some of our missionaries are back in Australia – either because home assignment had been planned or because of a decision to return due to the virus. Some have chosen to stay in their host country. Some are staying there because it has become impossible to return to Australia at this stage. Every situation comes with its positives and negatives for missionaries, their families and those they serve. Please hold each of them in your prayers.
As we pray for the COVID-19 situation in Australia, please pray for the developing nations. With no welfare, fragile medical services and no health insurance, most have no support. As more businesses, schools and tourist destinations shut down, more people are out of work. Children who would normally be at school are often left to their own devices without adult supervision. Everyone is vulnerable. Pray for new opportunities to share the Gospel of Light and Hope in a dark, fearful world.
Trevor and Manoli Allan (Spain, DPG Day 15)
Pray for Spain: both for the health crisis with many deaths and for the looming economic crisis. Pray for the Project: thank God that Trevor was able to finish the work of preparing the inside of the building for the restoration work and get rid of the debris. When restrictions are lifted, work can begin with a local builder. Pray for Rebeca and Nat whose flights to Spain were cancelled. Together with Joel they wait for God´s timing and means to still be able to join the work there. Pray for the 2 churches: the dynamics have changed with church meetings and house groups unable to meet. The Ribadeo group are regularly connected through WhatsApp with 100% “attendance” and a lot of good participation. The Agua Viva church in Narón are also regularly connected using Zoom so people can see each other. A good result of this crisis is contact with a lot more people, who value much more the communion and moral and spiritual support that a church offers. Manoli is daily talking and writing with so many people who are seeking contact, counselling and prayer.
Noel and Mary Bachelor (Australia, DPG Day 12)
Nearly half the staff of GRN in Sydney are working from home. Praise God that most of the studio team are at work (studios provide natural isolation). Several overseas outreaches and meetings have been cancelled, along with a recording training workshop for missionaries in Arnhemland. Pray for wisdom in eventual rescheduling. Pray for the US team as they move the office interstate.
Gary and Louise Bryar (Brazil, DPG Day 4)
Like all cities in Brazil, Campinas (over one million people) looks like a ghost town: people are isolated in their houses, with borders to other countries and states closed. Severe restrictions are in place to curb the corona virus with only a few supermarkets, pharmacies and bakeries are open. Praise God that on Sunday, one of the elders led an online service through FaceBook. The church has also set up a prayer clock 24 hours a day for volunteers just for the problem of the coronavirus. Pray that this crisis will bring many people to the Lord. Praise God that He has kept the family healthy. Pray too for their grandchildren who are now doing their lessons and tests online from home. So many people are working from home now.
Bill and Sandra Callister (PNG, DPG Day 16)
Despite their initial disappointment that the visas for Saisai colleagues Hugh and Martinian were not approved, it is now possible to see God’s hand in this: if they had come to Australia to help with translation work, they may not have been able to return easily to PNG. The 6-week Hebrew Training course for Jerry and Graham (2 Misima translators) has been cancelled. Although very disappointing, thank God that they were able returned to Misima before domestic planes stopped flying. Pray for Bill as he continues to work remotely on the book of John for the Saisai NT, and with Leviticus and Psalms with the Misima teams. Pray for creativity for Sandra as she cares for Wycliffe retirees in NSW/ACT, and as she reaches out to local community and church folk.
Noela Elvery (Specialist, DPG Day 19) and Julie Loudon (Specialist, DPG Day 20)
Give thanks that Noela and Julie were able to change flights back from Tasmania even though they were required to self-isolate on return. Pray that urgently-needed US dollar funds for Pygmy and Manzali projects can be sent by Western Union and be safely received by workers in DRC. Pray for Way who is planning to spend 10 days with workers in the Pygmy camp and for Way's wife Sylvia who is experiencing pain in her eyes. Pray too for concerns about Acira obtaining prescribed medication as the country's lockdown is affecting supplies. Pray for healing for Desmond in PNG who has returned from village visits with malaria.
Gordon and Ruth Harriott (Restricted, DPG Day 24)
Praise God that further tests were somewhat more encouraging. He will now go on the public waiting list for heart surgery at category 1.
Bethany Kapezya (DR Congo, DPG Day 1)
Bethany reports that the government call for a 21-day lockdown on Monday 30th, is being refused by the population. Pray that God will have mercy on the country and its impoverished people. There has been unrest within Lubumbashi, increasing the fragility in the city. Pray for the believers and the community. Thank God that Bethany, Claude and the family feel safe, and continue to pray for protection for them all – especially for the hearts of the children as they carry a heavy load of worry. And thank God that the internet continues to work.
Eva Kennedy (Spain, DPG Day 15)
Eva has been in touch with the team that she will join in Spain. Thank God that they are doing well and are in contact with one another. Pray for them as families are confined to homes until at least mid-April.
Paul and Gerrah Kulikovsky (Philippines, DPG Day 9)
Guiuan went into isolation and limited lock-down soon after the last gathering for Sulangan on March 22. Thank God that so far there has been no case of the virus detected locally. However, dengue fever has intensified: please pray for the daughter of a member from Sulangan and Gerrah's niece in Guiuan who has been hospitalized (she has a six-week-old baby). Passes are needed for shopping and work. Face masks are mandatory outside. Shopping is very limited. A curfew is in place from 8pm to 5am and there is no movement in and out of Guiuan except of essential food items. The impact of these restrictions on ministry include: final grading for school has been cancelled, Easter weekend youth camp is postponed, Kids holiday club in Guiuan is cancelled, summer school classes are unsure and enrolments are suspended. All church gatherings including prayer meetings are suspended but at this stage the workers can still catch up at the church Pray about financial stress: those who can’t work will get no pay. Pray against a possible increase in crime rate from desperation.
Pray for the school. It will continue to pay its teaching staff although no income will come in for possibly the next 2 months. The exchange rate has been hit badly. Praise God for the decision to use relief money that was in surplus from the Christmas Eve typhoon to assist members with cash assistance. About $2000 has been distributed to 57 families (including youth). For those who gave toward the first disaster, please understand the seriousness of this measure. There is no apparent way to meet even next week's needs. Pray that good communication will be possible even though the internet is stretched to capacity.
Belinda and Herman Lamprecht (South Africa, DPG Day 2)
Praise God for the safe arrival of Hosanna Phoebe on 24 March: two days before a lockdown began. Thank God that the family is well, provided for and safe – pray for God’s help as Hosanna has been born amidst a health crisis, and as the family of 8 needs to be fed amidst shortages, The OM office is now closed by law for three weeks. Pray for Hermann as he continues to help people in the team to adjust to working remotely from their homes. Pray for the hugely vulnerable community of immune-suppressed individuals in South Africa because of HIV/AIDS, TB and poverty in general. Many come from communities of cramped housing, with poor sanitation and they rely on over-crowded transport to get to work. Add to this an already overburdened health-system, with very few and very poor medical resources available even at the best of times. Pray that this may be an opportunity for people to look to God for hope, and that God would protect South Africans from this virus, and give much wisdom to its leaders.
David and Wendy Lee (PNG, DPG Day 16)
Pray for them as they attend to business matters following their return to Australia. Praise God for a good place to stay while self-isolating in Cairns and the help of local believers there. Pray that their home church in Emerald will be successful in finding a suitable car for them.
James McLaughlin (Zambia, DPG Day 3)
James has left Zambia and is now at the Hub in South Africa – where the country is in lockdown. Because Hands@Work is considered an essential service, they are able to continue their feeding and support programs for vulnerable children and families. However some Care Workers are concerned for their own susceptibility so please pray that for a godly solution. (This applies to all H@W programs throughout Africa.)
Kara McLaughlin (South Africa, DPG Day 2)
Kara had decided to return to Zimbabwe but was unable to cross the border so has returned to Mozambique, thankful that God has reassured her of His control in all that has happened. Pray for protection.
Gavin and Janet Petersen (Portugal, DPG Day 14)
As a result of the mandatory isolation, they have turned more heavily to various social media platforms to maintain something of a sense of normality so they can continue with most of their English classes, Bible studies and Sunday church activities, all online. Pray for some who are not managing to keep up with this steep learning curve. Pray for Gavin and Janet as their workload has increased significantly as they learn new technology for various classes, studies and presentations. Thank God for the provision of a reliable car in God’s perfect timing. Gavin and Janet are grateful for the generosity of the many individuals and churches who contributed to the Craigmore Christian Church's car fund on their behalf.
Elizabeth Pfeifer (Philippines, DPG Day 10)
Thank God that Liz was able to have a surgical procedure done on Monday 30 March. Pray for good recovery.
Mark and Alex Ronalds (India, DPG Day 8)
Mark Alex and the family are still waiting for good news about Alex’s passport so they can fly to UK. Pray for miracles and give thanks for the supportive community around them.
David and Elly Sharp (Specialists, DPG Day 21)
Praise God that although the Gergiko NT dedication has been postponed until April because the shipment of New Testaments did not make it to Chad in time, a celebratory service was still held in the villages in February.
John and Karen (Hong Kong, DPG Day 7)
Praise God that the printing and distribution of resources continues. 5000 more ‘John’s Gospel’ were sent through 7 inland provinces last week.
Bryson and Ruth Thomas (QLD, DPG Day 12)
Praise God for a new thirst for the word of God amongst those in prison as they see the world unravelling. In just one day this week (Monday March 30), 27 student exams came in for marking – each one taking about 30 mins – and 2 people professed faith. Pray for the overwhelming workload on Bryson and Ruth and that more people will be able to help with the ministry.
Fiona Thomas (Cambodia, DPG Day 7)
All local schools are shut; international schools are attempting online schooling. At HOPE Siem Reap, primary teachers have been doing up packs of work to last a week and parents collect work (one at a time) each Saturday and try to help their children get their work done at home during the week. Work is then returned the following Saturday when the next pack is picked up. Middle School and High School teachers are teaching online. Preschoolers have a mini toy library happening. Please pray for ALL involved in this process: it’s difficult for everyone. Praise God for the great attitude that is being displayed throughout. Pray for those in management positions as they keep up with ever-changing information and make wise decisions for staff and families. Keep praying for good connections among believers as church meetings have been stopped. There are reports that Cambodians have started treating foreigners with suspicion. Statistics about COVID-19 are difficult to find in Cambodia. People are fearful – pray against false information being shared via facebook and word of mouth.
Ian and Leann Buckley (Restricted, DPG Day 22)
Praise God that they were able to do some meetings before the current restrictions here in Australia. Everything on their 6-month planned itinerary here has now been cancelled or postponed. Praise God that they were also able to have an online service last Saturday with their brothers and sisters in their host country – Ian was able to share the Word. The country is in lockdown: please pray for those without any financial support. The Bamboo Café etc have closed: pray for the girls, most of whom have been sent home. This will place considerable financial pressure on the workers and the ministry. Praise God that Leann and Ian had a profitable talk with Netra last week and pray that they will be able to do so again soon.
David and Stacie Coates (Restricted, DPG Day 22)
Both schools are closed by order of the Government. While a few expatriate staff went home, David, Stacie and 7 Australian staff (with their children) and 9 other expatriate staff remain. Their intention in staying was to help students through the Cambridge Practical Examinations due to start Thursday March 26 – but the day before, these exams were cancelled. They had also stayed because of their duty to look after staff and community. Some of the school’s 'skeleton' national staff who are still on duty cannot get home. It is no longer possible to leave. Pray for all remaining staff as they live in quarantine and will continue to post curriculum online for those families who have access to the internet. There is much fear - foreigners are advised not to walk through the streets of the village where the school is located, as the locals associate the virus with foreigners. Please pray for the nation, for national believers - and for the Promise Schools Community. Ask God for mercy and protection.
Corey and Amber (Restricted Access, DPG Day 25)
Praise God that Amber and the children have recovered from malaria and are safe in Danja.
AMT Office News
Andrew Chan (AMT Publications): thank God that he arrived in Sydney on the evening of Friday 27 March. He and the group were unexpectedly put into quarantine in Sydney (they had been expecting self-isolation to happen in Brisbane) so please pray for continuing patience for Andrew, Christina and the boys. Pray too for his aged parents. It is painful to know that Andrew will not be able to see his dad before his nursing home goes into full lockdown on Wednesday.
Bron Cruickshank: pray for a clear diagnosis and a return to good health.
AMT office: we are making plans so that it is possible for every staff person to work from home. Email addresses will remain as they are at present as will the office phone number.