Another wave of the pandemic has hit Southeast Asia hard, but World Challenge’s partners are using this as an opportunity to bring the gospel to their neighborhoods.
Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia has been hard-hit by both medical and political turmoil in the last few months.
As Sebastian Strangio notes for The Diplomat, “Despite surviving the first year of the pandemic relatively unscathed, the region has been slammed by the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 and hampered by ineffective administration and sluggish vaccine rollouts.”
World Challenge’s partners in this region have seen this time as one more opportunity to serve their communities and be Christ’s hands and feet to often overwhelmed public services and neighbors in need.
Spreading Much Needed Supplies
When whispers of COVID-19 Delta variant were starting to be heard in Southeast Asia, World Challenge started the process of sending relief funding and packages to our partners there.
As the virus began to spread with alarming speed and marketplaces began to go into lockdown, church planters started taking the food packs to families who had been forced to stay in their homes. Each pack had rice, noodles, soy sauce, canned fish, salt, soap, a mask and hand sanitizer.
These supplies became increasingly important as the outbreak in Siem Reap forced one of our partners’ biggest local markets to close for two weeks.
Around 300 families were assisted. Government officials even began pitching to help deliver supplies in hard-hit areas. The team brought rice, masks and hand sanitizer to 25 churches in Siem Reap, and they also gave some to the governor’s office to distribute to those places that needed help. Church leaders delivered 40 bags of rice and shared the gospel with more than 40 families as part of the distribution.
Praying for Healing and Protection
One the Cambodia team’s vibrant leaders Daly began to not feel well, and soon she and her entire family had become ill. They tested positive for COVID-19, and Daly soon had to be hospitalized as she struggled to breath.
The team visited her at the hospital with gifts of fruit, bread, biscuits, chocolate crackers, baby powder, purified drinking water, tissues, mosquito netting, clothes for the children and vitamin C. They also gave some food to a pregnant woman who had been quarantined as well.
Eventually, Daly recovered enough to return home to her family, although they were required to hang a sign in front of their home that says, “Do not enter. Quarantine 14 days.”
The virus has taken a toll on the church, however, as they serve their communities. Some were not so fortunate as Daly, and many churches have had pastors and leaders pass away from the sickness. As Southeast Asia braces itself for more outbreaks and quarantines in the future, join us in praying for God’s protection and provision for our brothers and sisters of the faith.