The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a dramatic impact on people all over the world.  Governments are attempting to control the spread through bans on public meetings, travel restrictions, quarantines, etc.  While the specific measures differ by country and locality, the entire world is affected, including missionaries.

Effects of COVID-19 on GBBI ministries

Thailand:

7/20/2020 – Zamley and Grace Sausa, GBBI missionaries in Chonburi, report:

Thailand reported 6 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 from people on repatriation flights and in state quarantine centers, with 0 deaths reported; total remains at 3,179 infections, and 58 deaths while recoveries at 3,059, receiving medical treatments are 62.

Schools were opened on July 1st 2020 and succeeded so far. All parents, students and teachers wear facemasks as a mandate of the government even though Thailand is on the 32nd day without local transmission.

A Closed Country:

8/4/2020 – Please continue to pray for the daughters of “Paul” and “Sarah”.  They had tests this week and one of the girls tested positive for COVID-19.  She has been in self-quarantine for 19 days and now has only a runny nose.

7/31/2020 – Please pray for the daughters of “Paul” and “Sarah” who were sick with fever.  One of the girls’ friends was positive for COVID-19.  They are feeling better now, but are getting tested to see if it was COVID-19.

7/21/2020 – “Paul” and “Sarah” had been planning to visit the US this year to visit churches and raise funds for their growing ministry.  Unfortunately, they will be unable to get visas due to COVID-19 restrictions and will plan to come to the US in 2021.

5/19/2020 – “Paul” and “Sarah” gave the following praise report:

Last time I had mentioned that ██████ is in lockdown but the government has removed the lockdown because there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the country. This means that we can continue to do the ministry and resume our corporate worship in the church. However, schools are still closed until end of May 2020. We don’t have our teaching jobs back yet.

Nigeria:

6/17/2020 – Princeton Waters reports:

In our last year Bible conference in Jos, it was decided that this year’s conference will be held in a different city and Benin City was chosen. A planning committee was inaugurated and started work immediately. Work has reached advanced level for this year’s conference. The Covid 19 is a game changer; however, we are still hoping that things will normalize before the date of the conference which is in November 2020. Exact date yet to be decided. For the past two years we have Pastor Richard Church come and he is such a blessing to us. But with the situation on ground it will be better to start thinking about how he or someone else will come. The planning committee is really working hard and we are expecting 300-400 pastors this year.

5/6/2020 – Princeton Waters reports:

Some salient points about the Wuhan virus pandemic:

  • Population: 200 million
  • Samples tested to date: 18,536 representing 0.009%  of our population
  • Confirmed cases: 2, 802 which is 15% of total samples tested
  • Active cases: 2,292 representing 12% of total samples tested and 82% of confirmed cases
  • Discharged cases: 417 representing 2% of samples tested and 15% of confirmed cases
  • Deaths: 93 which is 0.5% of all samples and 3.3 % of confirmed cases.

We are sitting on a keg of gun powder…

From this analysis it can be inferred that there are more unidentified cases of Wuhan virus in the population, even though I cannot confirm this,  but our test coverage is grossly inadequate and extremely low.

The economic effect of the Covid19 lockdown is been felt more and more everyday. 

Another issue here is the Islamic factor in handling the Covid19 issue. All the medical procedures of handling a victim they are saying are un-Islamic.

The government have imposed a curfew. Also, inter-state transport is closed and this has a great impact on the life of people.

Cultural trends, beliefs and systems are not helping matters either. For example, many people in the rural areas believe the Covid19 is a disease for city dwellers.  Some said it is for the rich and highly placed people and not for the poor.

On the spiritual front, some people are still thinking that it is a punishment from God because of our sins.  Crazy prophecies from the pento-charismatic circles are still ongoing about the Covid19. Some citing dates that it will be finished, some telling people to do one thing or the other. One incident I find bizzare is the one which some Pastors are telling people to open certain chapters  of the Bible and they will find strands of human hairs, they should take it and boil it and drink as cure and protection for Covid19!

The good thing is that people are open to hear the Gospel. We have been sharing the gospel with many people through social media channels.  The response is very good.

On a sad note I want to end this by reporting the death of one of our grace friends who died in simply in his sleep not long ago.
 
Remember Waters had mild pneumonia and he has been treated and he is getting better.

Philippines:

5/23/2020 – Carlo and Elma Paña, GBBI missionaries near Cebu City, Philippines, report:

We are in General Community Quarantine, but most likely we still can’t go out if no quarantine pass. One family can get one pass only. Jeepneys are already allowed but strictly follow social distancing. So about 6 passengers only. We have reached 72 cases in Lapulapu, Mactan. Domestic flights are allowed but strictly few passengers. No religious gatherings, beaches, etc.

We will wait until June to see if we come to a normal situation. 

Thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness  we’re able to survive in all things. 

5/19/2020  Steve Indino, GBBI missionary in the Philippines, reports: 

I continue to be amazed on how God has continued to bless and shower me with all His Grace in this time of crisis.

As I have reported the previous month, my ministry has taken a major hit from what is happening. I even had my birthday last April 27 in quarantine which was a new experience.

Not being able to do the ministry we had started and work out the new plans were both mentally and spiritually hard on me.

But these past months the Lord has opened a different door and given me the opportunity to do ministry on another plane. Since we cannot go out our homes and move to different places, I decided to do ministry from home. I, together with my father, have started a YouTube channel named GodlyPsyched. In this channel we have made different contents, such as Preaching, Bible Study, Podcasts, Gospel animations, mental health awareness videos, Christian song covers with young people, and more. As of now we have videos in 3 different languages, English, Cebuano (Filipino) and Bahasa
Indonesia. As the days go by we are still learning to work on video editing and how to improve our contents.

The plans that I have previously shared on my previous letters are still there, we are waiting for everything to go back to normal. This year I am supposed to finish my schooling and graduate by October but right now school is on a halt.

It has been very hard not being able to continue my ministry in mental health awareness, Bible studies, community ministry, and evangelism. As always God is faithful in supplying all our needs. I am thankful that He never fails to show His love for us! I am very grateful for all the prayers and supports, right now I need it more than ever.

Please continue to pray for me and support my ministry!

4/3/2020 – Jonathan Indino, GBBI Philippines Field Representative, reports:

We are all well here in Davao and in the Philippines.

Our President and Mayor were very fast in implementing travel bans, grounded air traffic and restricted land travel as fast as possible once it seemed that the virus was starting to spread. My kids and those in my house have been in self quarantine since the 15th of March since we have 3 young kids and I have diabetes, making us particularly vulnerable.

We initially had plans to hold online sermons and material since social gathering have been banned for now, but since my dad (Mario Indino) is not living with us that had to be placed on hold.

Last month I spoke at a Grace church in a Facebook Live filming on a Sunday and we were reported by one of the neighbors, since they thought we might have been holding a public service. The police came, interrogated those present (7 of us who were still there) and saw we were not violating any guidelines.

As of the moment, we are in an Enhanced Community Quarantine. Among other enforced rules is that we cannot go out without holding a Food and Medicine Pass which is only 1 per household. We have a strict curfew from 9pm to 5am and all but groceries and pharmacies are closed. It’s an extremely stressful and difficult time, not really because of the quarantine, but the public who sometimes do not understand why the measures are there. Causing the quarantine to possibly even extend.

We are praying that with stricter implementation of the rules we can ride this out until it’s safe again to resume our lives. As I run several businesses with my wife to support ourselves and our ministries, there has been a steep decline in our available income as a consequence affecting not only us but those working for and with us. We would love if this can be added to prayer requests, for our financial needs and responsibilities for the next few months as we go through this pandemic and the aftermath.

Papua New Guinea:

6/2/2020 – Wesley Tobon, GBBI missionary in the city of Vanimo, reports that effects from COVID are limited with only 8 positive cases.

USA:

3/13/2020 – The planned trip by several GBBI board members to Southeast Asia in April has been cancelled.

COVID-19 Prayer Requests and Updates

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The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a dramatic impact on people all over the world.  Governments are attempting to control the spread through bans on public meetings, travel restrictions, quarantines, etc.  While the specific measures differ by country and locality, the entire world is affected, including missionaries.

 

COVID-19 Medical Fund

In anticipation of COVID-19 infections among our missionaries and the churches where they minister, we have started a relief fund.  Money from this fund will be used only for medical treatment of confirmed cases of COVID-19 where there is a clear financial need. As a donor, you will receive an email update whenever money is distributed from this fund to give you specific details about the recipient. At this time we are trying to raise $2,000.
COVID-19 Medical Fund - $130 Raised - $2,000 Goal
$130 Raised - $2,000 Needed 6.5%

Donations by Mail

Checks can be sent to the mission address:

GBBI
1732 State Highway 13
Friendship, WI 53934

Make your check payable to GBBI and note that it is for our COVID-19 Fund.