A Ripple Of Hope

By Reuben Meriakol – Pokot Outreach Ministries, South Sudan

Caring for the sick is one focus of our ministry that has a great potential to impact lives. It is our prayer that in the coming years, God will enable us to develop and build this to a better operational level. For now, we respond on a needs basis to cases in different villages.

We praise God that darkness cannot overcome true light, though it tries to resist. In February, there was a seriously sick boy called Mark in Loragae. He was suffering from malnutrition complications, malaria, and typhoid. His parents took him to witchdoctor and paid three bulls, believing that Mark’s health would be restored. To the contrary, the sickness persisted, and they were on the verge of despair. Our veteran evangelist, Martha Lokale, resides close by. Martha learned what was happening and went to visit the family. She shared her belief in Jesus and His healing power. She then told them of many people who have prayed and sought medical attention from the hospital. His parents allowed her to take him for treatment. When Mark returned from the hospital healed, the news was received with gladness and openness of heart. The village has opened its doors for anything else the church was ready to offer.

Our COVID-19 Response
The first time we heard about the coronavirus, we thought that it was a mere flu that would not cross international borders. In March, East African countries announced measures to curb the spread of the disease. School and religious gatherings were banned, and movement restricted. When I made the announcement to our church in Kapoeta, it was the biggest surprise of the decade. No one ever imagined Sundays without congregating together. We took all necessary steps to comply and began to monitor the greatest needs of the people in order to respond to the best of our abilities.

Over 75% of the people in the villages heard about COVID-19 for the first time from our team. They were grateful that we were concerned about them. We were able to distribute soap and detailed hygiene pamphlets. Because there were not enough soaps for everyone, the believers began to split and share the 1kg bar of soap with their unbelieving neighbors. As a result, over 3,400 households received the soap. This act of generosity caused many people to sit and listen to the gospel message that was being presented by our teams, and 38 people gave their lives to Christ!!

We feel compelled to have another two-fold response as the effects of the disease continue.

Food relief for the most vulnerable – Many people live in poverty, but it is those who are most affected in this time and would likely face starvation if there were no intervention. We wish to intervene in a way that the most vulnerable families will have food for at least one month. Our desire is to have food reserves in our hubs to be distributed on a needs basis to the most vulnerable. It takes $25.50 to feed a family of six for one month.

Seed distribution – This is the most exciting and sustainable means to help the population feed themselves for several months. We are towards the onset of rains, and we pray that this year we will have sustained rains that can aid agricultural production. With restricted movement, families may use most of their time to work on their farms. Most soils of southeastern South Sudan are fertile and need no additional artificial fertilizers. The most important crops for the general population are corn and sorghum. Our ministry would therefore like to distribute corn and sorghum seeds for as many families as possible in order for them to plant at least half an acre each.

We see three important components in this project:

Food security – If seeds are distributed timely, then many families will have food in their granaries that can last for as long as a year and until the next planting season. This will be a way of encouraging the people to take charge of their food security going forward.

Experimenting with seed types – There are several seed types available in Kenya which have yet to be tried in South Sudan. These are types of seeds meant for low altitude, hot temperature climates,which receive short rains in most cases and may give high yields. We will try three to four new seed types on a few farms to see if production is better.

Scattering The Seeds Of Hope – This will be the name of the program. Just as we did in the awareness and distribution of soap, we wish that this exercise is not just going to be like other philanthropy, but every opportunity shall be used to scatter the seeds of good news of our Lord Jesus. We wish to use this physical means to point to the deeper and hidden spiritual things vested in the gospel. It only takes $9 to provide seeds for one family to grow food for almost one year.

To help with these projects, please click donate above.

Omega Update

By Christopher & Shakeel Bhatti – Omega Ministry, Pakistan

On behalf of the people of Pakistan, thank you for your love, prayers, and support. With your help, we have been able to minister to those in our community that are impacted by this pandemic.

As in many other places, the physical and psychological impact of COVID-19 is overwhelming. One man threatened to harm himself and his entire family because they were so desperate for food. Thankfully, one of our pastors was able to encourage him and share the hope of Christ. We provided food and other supplies. By the end of our visit, the entire family had placed their trust in the Lord! We are encouraged by how the Lord is working here in Pakistan. Please continue to remember us in your prayers.

Reaching School Families

By Kamlesh & Ranu Bairwa – Good Samaritan Sewa Kendra, India

An area of Ujjain, where we serve, has been declared a red zone for COVID-19 infection. People are not allowed to leave their homes, but we have permission to distribute much needed medical supplies like masks, soap, and sanitizer, as well as food. As we deliver these items, we encourage the people with the love and peace of Jesus.

We’ve been able to help many like the Shekher family. Chandra owns a car and works as a driver. He cares for his wife, two children, and mother. Because of the lockdown, he has been unable to work since the end of March and has earned no money whatsoever. When we gave delivered a sack of groceries and prayed with him, he began to cry.

We are so grateful for your continued support so that we can help many more who are so desperately in need.

Caring For Our Widows

By Athanase Habimana – Union of Baptist Churches, D.R. Congo

We thank you for praying for us as we go through this pandemic period. In the D. R. Congo, we are currently in a lockdown period. No church services are allowed, so we are preaching over the radio. We also have teams that are sending messages to church members to comfort and encourage them. We have been able to install hand-washing stations so that people have access to basic sanitation. Below is a glimpse into our recent outreach providing aid to widows.

Tumusifu Safari

Tumusifu Safari is 88 years old. After her husband died in 1984, she continued with their farming activities. Over the last few years, she has become more frail and is unable to tend the farm. We were able to provide her with food assistance during this pandemic period. She was so thankful to receive our support! She said she will continue to pray until God ends COVID-19.

 

 

 

Rosa Bushala

Rosa Bushala lost her husband in 2006. Since then, she has lived near her youngest son. Rosa helps provide for the family by selling coal. Though this does bring in a small amount of money, it is not enough to feed the family. We have been able to supply her with food and assist with her home rental fee. Rosa has been a believer since childhood. She is a singer and serves faithfully in our Hekima church. Rosa has always trusted that God would provide for her and her family and is grateful for the assistance she received.

Sowing The Seeds

By Julius Murgor – Pokot Outreach Ministries, Kenya

Thankfully, the Pokot people of Kenya have largely avoided COVID-19. Our primary concern is the future impact on food security. Travel is currently​ restricted, which prevents the flow of planting materials and seeds. This​ will have a tremendous effect on the food supply, not only for the Pokot,​ but all of Kenya. We hope to be able to facilitate the distribution of seeds​ and food relief throughout the Pokot in an effort to prevent a food shortage. Please pray​ with us that these efforts will be successful and that the Pokot people will​ be able to reap a harvest, both physical and spiritual, in their communities.

Progress On Campus

We are excited about the significant progress that has been made on the new campus of Myanmar Bible College.  Thanks to everyone whose prayers and gifts have made it possible.


 

The new homes for Pastor Ben’s family and the 45 orphans who lived with them were funded through gifts for the family and the recent sale of ministry owned property, the proceeds of which were previously designated for this purpose.  These homes are located on the new MBC site as planned.  We are very thankful for these blessings. Having Pastor Ben living at the school site is important to the success of day-to-day operations and will save the funds that were previously paid in rent.

Again, we genuinely appreciate everyone who has prayed for, and given towards, this project. Please continue to remember this effort as you pray and consider giving now to help us be prepared for the upcoming group of students who desire to learn more about God’s Word and how to better serve Him.

We also look forward to entering our next construction phase, which includes building a chapel and permanent classroom space.  Click here and select Donate To FBC to help us finish this project.

Feel free to contact Dave Stansbury (dave@harvesters.net) or Doug Radford (doug@harvesters.net) for more information.

 

Serving Our Community

By Mutabaruka Aphrodis – Seira Community Churches, Rwanda

Thank you for joining us in prayer! Our church members are doing what they can to help others in their communities, visiting the sick and providing food for families in need. They keep leaders and each other informed as to what the needs are and how they may pray for each other. Since we are unable to meet in person, we have been holding conference calls twice each week to share the Gospel. So far, we have averaged 100 people on each call! More than 20 families were supported in the last two weeks through HIM. We want to share two of them with you.

Muhirwa Family

The Muhirwa family became members of our church in 2012. Olive became a widow in 2014 after her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. She is active in the choir and is in charge of taking care of visitors in the church. Her two sons are also involved in the children’s choir and attend primary school.

Olive previously worked in a printing factory, but has been jobless for the last six months. As you can imagine, life has been difficult. We have been able to provide the family with basic food supplies like rice, beans, cooking oil, and charcoal. Olive loves to give back by cleaning the church during the week.

Nkurizabo Family

Thomas is a leader of Rukumberi church. He and his wife have six children. Their life at Rukumberi is hard because they rent a house, which means they do not have a plot of land to plant crops. People is this area are very poor. Though the church is very active, they are unable to support their pastor. We are grateful to be able to help provide for them and are thankful for Thomas’ commitment to spreading the Gospel.

How We Serve

By Samuel Mwesigwa – Kerith Ministry, Uganda

The Kerith Ministry family and our community would like to thank God for His protection over us and for using you to support us during this trying moment. In the midst of all the challenges that come with COVID-19, we want to let you know that we are doing well health wise and spiritually.

Through HIM donations, we have been able to support more than 300 families during this time with food, salt, and soap.

Halima (seen here with Mercy Mwesigwa) is a widow who lost her husband to HIV/AIDS. She lives a few blocks from Kerith in a grass thatched house with four of her grandchildren. We were able to help her with food that will last her two weeks. Halima has challenges to sustain herself and her grandchildren since she does not have a piece of land to cultivate her own food. Halima has taught us to have faith in the Lord even in the hardest times like these. Halima received Christ three years ago after having been a Muslim all her life. We ask that you pray for her that the Lord will meet the needs of her life.

 

We were also able to assist Goretti, a widow who lost her husband six years ago. Her family lives in a ramshackle, grass thatched house; and she singlehandedly struggles to educate and feed her three teenage children. I met Goretti during our community outreach on Parenting God’s Way for single mothers. Like many other widows, she cannot earn any money because of the lockdown. We were able to provide food for her family. Our long-term plan for Goretti is to employ her as a trainer of our teenage children, women, and single mothers in tailoring and sanitary pad making. We are trusting God for five sewing machines to be used in the training. If we get the machines, we will be able to train more women like Goretti.

Kerith Ministry is also providing counselling and prayer to families that are facing hard times feeding their families and paying bills. Others are facing domestic violence due the challenges in the families. Because of the restrictions of movement, we do this by making calls, and those we cannot reach by making a call, we make a short visit.

Kerith Health Centre is also providing medical support to people that are facing health challenges and cannot afford the costs. We have also provided free maternity services to the delivering mothers to help reduce the maternal mortality rate, which is on the rise due to the lock down.

We want to thank God for His unending love, care, and protection to all our friends and ministry partners.

New Fish Farm

We are excited about our new fish farm project. Fish production is the third largest income generating activity in Uganda. Over the last two years, we have been studying fish farming to see if our land is suitable and if it would generate both food for our children’s home and some income for self-sustainability of our ministry. Our findings gave us the encouragement to embark on this project.

We are employing locals to help in the excavation of the land and construction of the farm, giving them new skills they can use to provide for their families. Once the farm is yielding, we can easily move to a larger scale operation since the property is adjacent to wetland.

Our objectives with this project are to improve the living conditions of our community, to promote biblical values of work and conservation of the environment, and to contribute to the income of Kerith Ministry. To that end, we anticipate that we will sell approximately 75% of the fish raised, while the remaining 25% will be consumed in our children’s home.

 

 

India Relief Efforts

By Rajendra Yellamelli – Sion Assembly Church, India

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the government of India has taken the strict measure of instituting a compulsory 40-day lockdown of the entire nation. During this great hour of need, SAC has stepped in to offer relief services. Adhering to all safety and hygiene measures, we are safely providing food and water to people across our city of Vijayawada (with Government permission).

We have a team of chefs and other volunteers in place for cooking, packing, and distributing meals and water to people on the roadside, the homeless, and others in our city. We were forced to stop just a few days ago as virus cases are increasing, and government and police are no longer allowing us to distribute food packets. We will begin serving again as soon as restrictions are lifted and we receive permission from the police.

We met Kishore (seen here with some of our team) while delivering food packets. He is from Delhi and was working as a cook in a hotel in Vijayawada. The hotel has since closed, but he cannot go back to see his family because all transportation is shut down. He has been sleeping on the pavement by the roadside for 30 days. With tears in his eyes, he told us how happy he was to receive his food packet and that he is so thankful that we were able to help him.

I praise God for the safety and protection of our SAC families and SAC pastors. No one is stricken with COVID-19. Please continue to pray for us and the work we are doing in helping the people through this difficult situation.

Thank you so much for your prayers and your strong support to our people. We would not be able to do our work without your help. May God bless you for your prayers and support.

I Pray You Are Well

Dear Friends,

I write a lot of emails to many different people and find myself relying on a few familiar phrases in many of my communications. One I use often is “I pray you are doing well”. I, along with everyone at Harvesters, take prayer very seriously; and I never want to use the phrase in an insincere manner. We are indeed praying for you and encourage you to let us know if there are specific concerns that we can pray for on your behalf.

Also, we are sensitive to the reality that many people here in the U.S. are now facing great challenges because of the Coronavirus. Even as we have shared with you via email and Facebook the serious circumstances of the partners and people we serve internationally, we do so with you, your churches, and communities in mind and want you to be aware that our concerns include these as well.

We are very thankful for the generous gifts that have allowed Harvesters to provide food, lifesaving information, and spiritual support to many people in Africa and Asia. We plan to continue these efforts as God provides the needed resources and do our best to reflect the love of Christ in every way possible. Beyond that, we certainly have not forgotten the ongoing efforts of planting churches, equipping pastors, installing wells, caring for orphans, and all the other work God has called us to do daily. Our heart is to continue and strengthen these efforts, and we look forward to more progress in all areas of ministry.

Again, thank you for your prayers and support. Please never hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, need more information, or would like to let me know how we can pray for you.

Blessings,
Doug Radford, Director