During these times of lockdowns and government quarantine restrictions, the ministry of the pastors supported by White Fields has not slowed down or diminished. Instead, it has intensified and taken on whole new aspects for ministry.
I have chosen highlights from eight pastors out of the fifty we support to show you how God is moving. Our pastors are serving their communities in brand new ways. There is also a fantastic response to the gospel by people in touch with our churches.
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In all our countries, the pastors are the ministers meeting the needs of the weakest and poorest members of their communities. The widows and orphans that would otherwise starve are receiving food. These tangible gifts of ministry also open doors for the gospel when neighbors ask, “Why does your church love you so much?” We are exceedingly grateful for our financial partners that make these gifts of food available.
Despite the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the pandemic, I thank God that I have been able to visit the community and survey people’s current status from the pandemic situation. One I talked to is Masing. She is worried about her family, especially their daily needs for survival. Due to the work restrictions, she can no longer sell fish and so they are not making any regular income. They have not made enough money to stock up food, and so they depend on their daily income. The government has not provided a supply of food assistance for the community causing much worry and was the primary concern of our conversations. We prayed for God to give every individual wisdom and knowledge and provide comfort and provision for the community.
Their main concern was how to obtain rice. Their way of living is fishing, and some of their other family members can catch fish within their area, but this is unpredictable.
We praised God for his amazing provision amid this crisis and in answering our request. The day after my visit, where I learned of their concern and the situation in this area. I expressed this issue to our core leaders in the Light of Life community center. We designed an action plan and praised God for making the Light of Life community center His channel of blessing and his way of providing for the community’s needs. With these tangible gifts, we were able to pray, care, and share God’s blessing. We praise God that we do not just provide a temporary solution to this crisis but are also able to comfort the people as God has comforted us and give them the care that God has given us and the hope in life which God promised us.
- Pray for follow-up with these families for visits and further evangelism.
- Pray for God to work in advance in the hearts of His people.
- Pray for us to establish close relationships with them.
- Pray for the families of this community that God will provide them health, peace, and strength during this challenging time.
- Pray that the current crisis will draw people to God and that they would recognize Him as the source of hope and eternal life.
We have all been affected by this terrible pandemic. Thousands have suffered physically, emotionally, and economically, and many families are mourning for their lost loved ones. I believe God has a purpose for why we are experiencing this event. We serve and worship a sovereign God, and He allows us to suffer to bring glory to His name.
We are taking advantage of the time now available due to our changes in routine. We are obeying the enforced quarantine issued by the government, but the work of God is not quarantined. People need to hear the message of hope that is only found through Jesus Christ. Together with my family, we continue the work of ministering to the community through virtual Bible study, prayer time, and Sunday worship. I never thought of doing this type of online ministry, but God gave me the courage to begin and has allowed my family and me to adapt to this new norm.
Taking advantage of the time to strengthen his family.
My wife Charlotte and I are using our time wisely with our kids. We are reading and studying the Word of God a book at a time, teaching them how to lead worship, and spending more time training them to play musical instruments. Praise God that they are helping me in minister to people virtually. I am overwhelmed by the positive responses of the people who have been reached via the internet. We are connecting with new people as well. One of the families who watched our service was introduced to us by one of my friends online. The family is Jojo and May, they are a young couple and are Roman Catholic. Their son Ethan was celebrating his third birthday, and they invited me to speak and pray for them. I knew it was risky to travel to their place, but I took advantage of their invitation so that I could meet them personally. We had a great time celebrating their son’s birthday and followed the social distancing protocols. Jojo and May are interested in joining a Bible study.
The tangible blessing of a church that cares.
It is a blessing to give and to share the love of Christ in a tangible way to others. 2 Corinthians 9:8 “Besides, God can make every blessing of yours overflow for you so that in every situation you will always have all you need for any good work.” Last month, we spoke of raising money to buy food supplies for fifty families in the community. Praise God that some individuals were touched by God to give a small amount so we could share with the families in need.
It was not enough to provide for every family, but it was a massive help for them to obtain daily needs. We provided food packs for forty families and are hoping to raise more for the remaining families.
One of the families who received a food pack was Robina’s family. She is the mother of three, and her husband is a fisherman. Robina is a regular attendee of our Bible study, and her children are part of the kids for the King. Robina’s husband is not allowed to fish during this time of enhanced quarantine. The family received only five kilos (about eleven pounds or twenty-seven and a half cups) of rice from the barangay and have not yet received anything from the government. Robina kept telling us she was so thankful that it was such an essential time since they had run out of food. Robina is just one of the mothers that we helped, and we are praying that we can bless other women in the community.
We have seen God at work in our community. He provided us with a motorcycle and the church land where we have our congregation meetings. When we first started, we met in Provia’s compound. She was among the first people in Garuka to become a believer. Getting land in Garuka was challenging, but we thank God for helping us acquire a piece of our own. The motorcycle is a means of transport that allows us to do our home visits for efficiently.
We thank God for the church land. Now we have a home, a permanent place for the church. The believers and the community know that we have come to stay. Purchasing the land is a testimony to our intent to remain in Garuka and serve the people in this community.
The coronavirus is affecting our community as churches are not allowed to gather. The government has suspended all group meetings in the country. We are not allowed to do home visits or leave our area to travel to Rukungiri since our sub-county is considered a high-risk area in Uganda. We are near the Congo border, and the national park makes it challenging to stop the movements of people coming in from the Congo.
I am training others to participate in the ministry by teaching them how to read the Bible. Many of the people, including the adults, cannot read well. We are teaching them to sing and praise God. Safari Elias is sharing the Word within the fellowship. I am hoping to make him a leader of one of the fellowships. Nganda leads the church when I am away.
Desimus is fifty-three and married to Kyarisiima. He was a drunkard living in a sorry state. He frequently slept by the side of the road, being too intoxicated to walk home. Desimus was a teacher by profession but was dismissed from the national teachers’ payroll due to his alcoholism. When the team from God’s Embassy had an open-air crusade in Kagashe last year, and Pastor Stephen Wheeler preached the gospel sermon.
Desimus was among the people who received Christ then. Since he accepted Jesus Christ, his family has been reunited, and Desimus is steadily recovering from the effects of alcohol. His life is a lesson of God’s grace and is influencing others. Seventeen people have come to know the truth and have received Jesus Christ. Now they are church members, due to God using the testimony of Desimus. Each of these people shared that when Desimus was saved, they knew that they too could be saved, and as a result, they gave their lives to Christ. Some of them included Emmanuel, Ronald, Jackeline, and John. They have become involved in church activities. John is now the church programmer. We give God the glory and pray for them to remain firm in their faith.
Before the COVID-19 lockdown.
Thirty-two people came to Christ last month in our ministry to the Kigaaga community. Bob Magara preached at an overnight prayer meeting, and fifteen people proclaimed their faith in Jesus Christ. A couple of days later, we had a thanksgiving Sunday, which attracted many people. Pastor Onesimus shared the Word of God, and twenty-seven additional people gave their lives to God. Praise God!
We have been visiting those who accepted Christ, and six have joined us at the church. Last month, we visited nineteen homes and shared the Word of God with forty-one men and fifty-five women.
Visit our Blog – Mountains Move and read about a witch doctor in this village who has come to faith in Jesus Christ.
COVID-19 is causing a lot of troubles and hardships for every family in our country and the whole world. However, we place our trust in God as we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Through everyone is aware of the adverse effects of this pandemic, we in the Lord also try to see the other side of things and seek to appreciate the beauty of life despite the unfavorable circumstances.
Since we are forced to stay home by the government, we are using this opportunity to learn and grow together as a family in the Lord. I was teaching in the Bible school before the quarantine, so now I have just switched students and have now become a Bible school teacher to my entire household.
This month, we discussed basic homiletics and interpretation of the Bible. We are enjoying our time together doing new things and are treasuring the quality hours spent in fun, learning, and growing together. My wife and children are developing more passion for studying and sharing the Word of God through our classes. As part of the application, each one is taking its turn to lead the family devotions. We converted a room to a prayer space and did a daily prayer chain from eight to five.
I created a curriculum for my family, and in the next few weeks, I am planning to teach our statement of faith, systematic theology, missions, and other related subjects. Everyone is excited about their assignments and to get up in the morning for new learning. I praise God for this opportunity to train my entire household to go deeper in their relationship with God.
This month our local government became stricter in implementing the lockdown. We are only able to go out twice a week to buy food and other basic needs, crossing into the borders into different villages in no longer allowed except for essential personnel or front liners. But despite these hardships, we continue to find creative ways to minister to our church members. Even though the borders are closed, communication is still open, and we thank the Lord for the advances in technology that allows us to feed the people through live-streaming via Facebook.
We are doing daily morning and evening devotions, and even non-church members are watching and hearing the Word of God. I am planning, God willing, to create online training to teach my church members how to feed themselves with the Word of God since many of them are still young in their faith. This training will be beneficial as we do not know when the pandemic will be over, and the lockdown end time is still uncertain.
Our lockdown was extended till mid-May, but this date is still uncertain. The extension has brought more pressures and crises to our brethren as it has been more than a month already since they lost their jobs, and the government subsidy has not provided enough food supplies and relief goods to get them through this time as it is not quite enough food for a week.
Our ministry distributed food to one-hundred and twenty families last month, but for most, the quantity will only last for a week or two. The people are desperately crying for help, just like the Israelites in the wilderness. It breaks my heart to see them in such desperate need. God answered our prayers just like he sent manna from heaven and quail for the Israelites. God sent provisions through the Light of Life Community Center; we were able to give the second, third, and fourth waves of relief goods. This last time we gave rice, eggs, canned goods, an entire chicken, and vitamin C for the children to one-hundred and twenty families, including our neighbors in the community.
The people were full of joy and praising God, exclaiming that God has not abandoned them in this time of severe crisis.
Our prayers are for the people to hunger and thirst for the Word of God and righteousness beyond just desiring physical food.
When the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Cebu in the middle of March, the whole province went into Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). All the borders were closed, and almost every establishment ceased its operations. Consequently, all church gatherings were stopped, and everyone was confined to their own homes. The unprecedented situation caused by the pandemic has radically changed the way we do our ministries in Mandaue City. For the entirety of last month, all physical gatherings were converted into virtual fellowships. By the Lord’s grace, we have not neglected meeting together. (Hebrews 10:25). The virus has not stopped the church. The church found its way to thrive through technology. The church goes online! Every Sunday, we gather online via Zoom for prayer, singing, and encouragement. The live singing and prayers have allowed us active interaction and connections even closer than actual physical meetings.
The miracle of salvation has happened. During this quarantine, our online sermons and posts have attracted people to become interested in God, and ultimately to know God and proclaim their faith. For this month, we have welcomed two couples into our fellowship. Brother Sunny and his wife, Jennifer, as well as Lester, and his wife Kathie, have decided to join our church after hearing our sermons live and joining our online Bible studies. They are new believers to the faith who understood the gospel after hearing a number of our sermons online this last month.
As the pandemic situation of COVID-19 continues, many people are being affected. The enhanced community quarantine is still mandating by the government; no one is allowed to go anywhere that is not essential. Along with these restrictions, all gatherings, including religious activities, are not allowed. I am doing our worship service in the house with my family. During the worship service, I use a conference call to add my church leaders so they can join us. Some of them initiated the idea of connecting their phones to an amplifier so that more people near them can hear my preaching. We are far from each other in distance, but the use of social media and the internet is uniting our spirits as one for the glory of God.
Every barangay (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, similar to a village or suburb) has checkpoints with barangay public and safety officers, and policemen, to monitor the people going in and out of each place. They only allow vehicles to pass if they are carrying food, water, or other necessities. As it is summer here in the Philippines, many wells have dried up. The people are suffering from lack of water, and many need to travel to another barangay to get water. It is hard for those who do not have a vehicle to carry their water home due to the distance. I am helping by bringing water to the families who are in need.
When I reach the checkpoint, the officials allow me to pass as I am bringing water for the people in that barangay. As believers, we can use this opportunity to show the people that we care for not only their spiritual needs but also their material needs. As Jesus Christ said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”