Donations of $13,105.00 have been received and been distributed for Covid relief efforts.
Last month we updated you on how your donations were distributed in Colombia.This month we hear from several countries. Because of your generosity approximately 600 people have been receiving food through CMRC for the past 2 1/2 months during their COVID-19 quarantine. Peruvian Associate Karen Rojas provides this update on our Girl’s Computer Education Program in Peru:
Pastor Fernando Labrada from Holguin writes:
On the morning of Sunday March 22nd, we held our last service. That afternoon we received information from the government of suspension of the services.
We are a church with 120 members represented by 80 families. We have many elderly people in the church membership and are the only Baptist church in Holguín province. When suspending the services and the different programs of the church I felt that I was tied hand and foot to reach the church with my pastoral work. I thought about creating a group on Whatsapp and sending a program, but of 120 members only 19 have phones or access to internet so I realized that I had to do printed programs.
We create a weekly circular for the people in their homes with activities for the week including a Bible study and Sunday School Classes. This has been extraordinary – we are ministering to 5 times more people than in the church and in other towns including other countries. A difficulty we have is when it comes to printing as our printer is a ribbon printer and very old.
At this time we print 100 weekly as non-Christian people are asking for them as well. One of the biggest challenges we are also facing is with food. There are a lot of food shortages coupled with high prices. We try to look for food in the countryside where it is less expensive. When we meet, we share with the families in greatest need. Personally, my family and I are very grateful to CMRC for the help you sent us for food. With it we have been able to deal better with this difficult situation.
Pastor Fernando Labrada
Dear friends at CMRC.
Everyone is extremely grateful for your help. Everyone is complaining about the food problem – that it is expensive food and the inability to get it through the normal channels. No one can plan ahead because there is no stability to buy food. The moment food appears you have to buy it at whatever price and trust in the Lord because it will not be there later in the day or tomorrow.
The money you sent can all be spent in a few days. Food purchased can be used for 1 or 2 months if they are very careful and do not eat much daily. Everyone says the situation is bad and that every day it gets worse and food is more expensive.
One pastor, Otto, said that for three weeks they have been eating hard salted crackers for lunch because there is no oil available to cook with. They leave the rice to use once a day at meals so that it lasts them a month for when the food ration arrives. Rice at a normal price is $0.10 a pound and on the black market it is now double at $0.20 a pound. Pastor Otto usually cooks two pounds of rice a day for 3 adults. It is the basis of Cuban food. No one now has enough money to eat for a month. For example, the costs of beans that used to last a month now is cooked for a single meal now.
Before Covid there were open shops and the few private markets sold at more reasonable prices. Nothing of that exists anymore. We are at option zero. Only the Lord can fix this.
With the money CMRC provided we gave $70 Canadian for food to 9 pastors and their families – that’s 28 people, including 11 children – in the central region of Cuba around Santa Clara
Oziel and Maria Elena in Santa Clara Cuba
CMRC Associate César Arrega provides this report from Chimaltenago, Guatemala.
César is a professor at Guatemala Bible Seminary and a CMRC Associate:
1. One of the things here is that the Government canceled face to face meetings. This action closed down all the facilities and gave the opportunity to start family “cells” at home. This action gives the chance to do “church” at home.
2. Most of the pastors don’t have the knowledge to broadcast their services in a good way, but they are trying to do their best using streaming platforms like “Zoom” and social media like Facebook “live”, and Whatsapp groups mostly. The major use of these platforms is been for quotes, short messages, devotionals, video content, audio content, and similar things using their smartphones for this specific work.
3. The churches with a major budget are using the TV national channels to broadcast their message. (Just the mega-churches)
4. The church is discovering the importance of media in this new process and I hope that the church will continue to use this as an important tool in the next coming years.
1. As a family we are doing our best at home. At the end of the last year we decide to start a “home school” program for our kids. That was God’s guidance for us and during this year school it is developing in a good way.
2. As a teacher at Guatemala Bible Seminary, I’m dealing with this new way of online education. I started a program with my students using all the resources available over the internet. I’m using all kinds of free services like Zoom, Classroom, Whatsapp, Forms, etc. and all the free easy tools to give a good experience to my students. One of the good things and blessings is that because I’m a part of CMRC I have good physical and software tools that are helping me to do this work.
3. Our family day to day changed completely. I need to take care of the different schedules around work, ministry, family time, school time, etc. All of these things at home in front of the computer.
We are doing good and trying to have fun during this time.
We praise the Lord, in the same way that He is answering your prayers, He’s doing the same with us.
Because we don’t have students at Seminary (just online) the income for the institution decreased dramatically. This action gave us a problem because the Seminary cut off a good part of our salary and gave us the motivation to pray and trust harder in Him.
One of the answers came two times in the exact moment with CMRC funds that we receive from you in Canada. We used that love offering to buy specific groceries/food that we needed. Also, we use the funds to share food with the four family students living at Seminary campus because they couldn’t go back home when all this pandemic started months ago.
God is good with us using different resources to give us what we need.
You may help us and pray for:
- Wisdom during this pandemic stage.
- Health in the middle of this situation.
- Intelligence in the middle of all training time with students.
- Joy and rejoice to do all the things we need to do every day.
- Patience when the internet connection isn’t working properly and we need to use it.
In a Zoom conference call this week, Pastor
Edwin Antonio of Open doors Church in Bogota spoke of how church ministry continues during COVID-19.
- Of their 13 church plants, eight rent. Four of those no longer could pay rent and have lost their facility.
- Open Doors live streams with upwards of 700 views each week.
- Those without internet or mobile phones socially distance with church members who do so as to worship together.
- Thirty-eight families have received food through CMRC funding.
Watch for the video coming soon as Pastor Edwin shares his challenge of doing ministry and the increased outreach since COVID-19 began.