Thanksgiving: We are very grateful that all of our volunteers were able to get back home safely as this Coronavirus crisis worsened quickly. In January and February there were still many people, including medical professionals, who expected the virus to slow down and even fade away, as other recent potential pandemics have done. However, by March, the crisis escalated and suddenly airlines were struggling, flights were being cancelled at short notice and borders were being closed.
The Mission Direct team worked tirelessly, often late at night, to get our teams back earlier from Zimbabwe and the Gambia to avoid them becoming stranded in those countries. One team needed to be woken in the night to get to a flight three hours later because there was a real risk it would be the last flight out of the country.
We are thankful that the volunteers are all safe. We are grateful that they were so flexible and trusted us as we shortened their mission trips, often unaware of the enfolding crisis elsewhere. We are thankful for our dedicated office staff who are so committed to the welfare of our volunteers, and we are grateful for our dedicated overseas staff who work with us in a unified and sacrificial way.
Uganda: We pray for the Kumi region combatting the twin threats from the Coronavirus and locust infestation.
Kumi is a rural area where the majority of the population depend on subsistence farming for their income. The lockdown due to Corona Virus has caused massive disruption to the ability to carry on farming as well as to the ability to sell their food produce - this is affecting access to food supplies.
To add to this crisis, swarms of locusts have invaded Kumi in the areas of Tisai, Ongino, and Kanapa. This is a new swam that is said to be 10 times bigger than the previous one and is bigger than anything in living memory. This is a serious attack that may lead to food insecurity in the Teso region as anticipated. It has been reported that swarms of locusts like these can consume in a single day the food needed for 35,000 people. We pray that the Lord intervenes.
Dominican Republic (DR): We pray for the DR as they battle the Coronavirus.
The virus has arrived in the DR, but the medical care, sanitation and education about it are lacking. The hospitals are at capacity, with not enough beds or ventilators. Some communities are starting to run short of food, and nobody has worked for nearly 4 weeks, so people are becoming hungry.
We also pray for Claire who has chosen to remain in the Dominican Republic to serve the communities there rather than return to the UK where there is better healthcare available if she gets sick.
Kenya: We pray for the community at Narok, also battling food insecurity.
One of our partners in Narok is Mission with a Vision. Pastor Patrick has created a safe house for girls fleeing the two evils of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. Sadly, they are now facing a struggle to feed all of the girls who have been sent home early from school.
Mission Direct: We pray for our own protection during this crisis so that we can continue to serve people around the world for many years to come.
The impact of the virus, with closed borders and the necessity to self isolate, has meant that nearly a whole programme of planned work is on hold. This has a significant negative impact on the communities where we make a difference, but it is also having a concerning financial affect on us as well. Although we have taken every step that we can to stop spending money, including the use of the government's job retention scheme, Mission Direct needs to raise further funds to continue to be able to serve.
Please join us in prayer as we launch our ABC+D appeal (https://missiondirect.org/abcd/), asking people to donate the equivalent cost of A Big Coffee + Danish to support us to continue to serve vulnerable communities around the world. Please also pray for our staff, who through the government job retention scheme, have been placed on furlough so that this can be a time of refreshment and encouragement for them.
Each other: We pray for our collective protection during this time. We pray for good health and financial stability for all of our supporters and partners as we faithfully face the challenges ahead, so that we can continue to reflect the light to the world.