Renewing Hope in the Time of COVID-19

In the time of COVID-19, have you ever gotten to a point when it seems all hope is lost? Even the best of us get discouraged, especially during the pandemic, when everything is so uncertain!

“I always have trouble finding food,” Pastor David told us. “Sometimes I feel hopeless.” Pastor David is one of our partners who has a small church plant in Bohol. He is living in the shell of his unfinished church building with no resources to complete it. He told us about how COVID-19 has ravaged his community.

Sticking it out with his people in the time of COVID-19
Pastor David’s bed. He just added a roof so he no longer gets wet when it rains.

 

Working as a pastor in the time of COVID-19
Pastor David in front of his unfinished church.
A lot of the locals work as hired laborers, but no one is hiring in the time of COVID-19. One of his church members sank his savings into paying for documents and fees to work abroad only to lose the job when travel became impossible. Another member lost his construction job and still has no way to support his five children. “Before COVID-19, these people could provide for their families. Now they can hardly earn any income, and the prices of basic commodities keep rising,” said Pastor David.
He hosted a few Transform programs there in 2019 to reach the poorest of the poor, but the savings groups dissolved this year when the members had nothing to contribute.
Transform participants before COVID-19 struck
Some of the Family Academy members from a former Transform program.

Although he is far away from his family and has no one to rely on, he has stuck with this community in the midst of hardship in the time of COVD-19. Initially wary of pastors, most of his neighbors have grown close with him after they have seen his concern for their needs, physical as well as spiritual. “I feel compassion for them, especially for their hungry children,” he said. During the hardest times, he used ICM’s REDI network to request food packs for 150 people.

Handing out food in the time of COVID-19
Handing out food to neighbors
The Renew program is giving him another way to help his neighbors get back on their feet through food, financial assistance, and training to revive the savings groups. He sees Renew as God’s provision for the community as their challenges drag on. “My hope is in the Lord because I know that God will never leave me nor forsake me,” he said.
Pastor David conducting Renew program in his community in the time of COVID-19
Pastor David conducting Renew program in his community.

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