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

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.

A Closed Country:

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.

5/6/2020 – “Paul” and “Sarah”, GBBI missionaries in a country that is closed to missionary activity, report:

Our family is doing ok. My wife and I are confined in our house because of the ECQ but still doing the ministry in many different ways. We thank God he always protected us from this virus. My son is doing well also with our two children in the Philippines.

We are still fighting this virus and trusting only to God in every situation in our life and ministry. Our life is only limited to the four corners of our rented house. We are sad because we can’t do our usual work like doing ministry and teaching the students in school to earn a living.

Yesterday, the school informed us that they can’t pay in full our salary in the month of April 2020 because the parents refused to pay the full tuition, so they gave us only half and can’t guarantee to have our salary in the month of May. It is sad because this month we are going to pay our house rent for six month. We are fully trusting God that he will not leave us in this situation. We have other obligation in our home country aside from supporting our children for their daily needs. But God never changed His promise, He will always be our Provider.

We’re supposed to celebrate our 3rd year anniversary for our church this coming Sunday May 03, 2020 but we can’t do it for now because of this situation. We are trusting God that he will continually use us to minister in this country.

Thailand:

5/6/2020 – Zamley and Grace Sausa, GBBI missionaries in Chonburi, report:

Me and my wife are doing fine by God’s grace including our members here and all Flipinos who live in Chonburi City. There is no record of us infected by COVID-19. Today there is only one infected and yesterday it was 18 — all foreigners. Our class will resume on July 1st of this year but it is subject to change if things get worse. There is no lifting of the restrictions. We still cannot do public worship and Bible studies outside so we continued our online worship. At the same time we also pay our rent monthly for our church building. There are many Filipinos here that were repatriated due to no income because of COVID-19. We extended some help to those who have no more work by giving goods. Also, the Filipino community here is helping through reaching out and providing them goods to survive.

The Thailand government extended tourist visas free until July 31st of this year. However, no international flights are allowed, but domestic flights are opened. Thailand has 2,988 total cases with 54 deaths and 2,747 recovered.

COVID-19 is a pandemic and it affects the entire world — not only the economy but also God’s work.  Let us encourage everyone to pray for the Lord’s work to grow and to prosper. Let us preach the word in season and out of season. In that way we can still speak boldly the gospel of salvation.

Let us pray with one another that the body of Christ will find a way to continue spreading the word of God.

Thailand is going to defeat COVID-19 100% but we are still to wear masks all the time. We are still not allowed to travel to other provinces to prevent a 2nd wave. It seems we are getting back to normal again by God’s grace. They call it a new normal. Thailand’s motto to defeat the virus is “TOGETHER WE CAN” but to us Christians NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION. Let us not forget to share the gospel of salvation to every human being who are sinners and don’t have the hope that is in Christ.

3/8/2020 – The GBBI International Conference that was planned for April 14-16 in Nong Khai, Thailand, has been canceled.  We will consider rescheduling for a later date.

Nigeria:

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.

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.