If you listen to the news, it would seem that the only places affected by the pandemic are the US and Europe. We know that’s not true – here at Childcare Worldwide we can attest to the ravaging effects of Covid-19 in the rest of the world, particularly the countries we work in. The regular routine in our home offices has become a daily scan of news articles from Peru, Haiti, Kenya, Uganda, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, bolstered by regular updates from our “stay at home” staff in those locations.
Let me assure you at the outset, all Childcare Worldwide staff, and all the sponsored children are safe and healthy. We have not received any report of anyone contracting the virus. We praise the Lord for this! Yet the daily ministry continues to be impacted. On a personal note, I was supposed to be in Kenya and Uganda in March. If I had not cancelled the trip I would still be there, as a week later travel through Europe into the US was shut down. I praise the Lord that I am home!
Travel and work restrictions remain the same as of the last update you read on April 9, except that hope is emerging with the anticipation of some easing of restriction! This will allow the staff in Kenya and Uganda to prepare for some much-needed food distributions to those with the greatest need. In India, Sri Lanka, and Peru, our teams are preparing to distribute a second package of staple foods.
As you can imagine, we are hearing from worried students concerned for the continuation of their studies. Many were supposed to graduate this year, or move from Elementary to High School. In Peru they have already been told that there will be no in-person classes until 2021. As best we can, we are reminding these students that God is in control, even in these difficult times. He loves them and has a perfect plan for them, and we’ll be there to help them every step of the way!
These last few weeks have been so challenging, knowing that we can’t share the Gospel directly with our children. We trust the Sovereign Lord is ministering in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are grateful for technology that is helping to fill the gap! Where possible, staff and Life Center teachers have formed WhatsApp groups to communicate with their children. In some locations they have even provided Bible lessons with a time for interaction on the phone. We are most grateful for staff and teachers who figure out ways of ministering to those they care for.
We are working hard to prepare for the time when we can reopen all Life Centers, developing special lessons to help kids through the transition. Imagine and pray with us about this: A date soon, when all the children in every country can go to their Life Center, be welcomed by their loving teachers and volunteers, receive a substantial meal, and above all, receive specially prepared lessons that address the difficult situation they had to live through. We will answer their questions, encourage their hearts, and bring solace to their troubled minds, all in the context of Biblical lessons about God, his sovereignty, his love and mercy, and his purposes, even in this situation. These lessons are currently being developed to address a very real and practical need. Your contributions allow us to write our own lesson plans, translate into the appropriate languages, and train the teachers to address the children’s concerns. It will also cover costs of personal protective equipment for staff, special cleaning and disinfecting across all locations, and, let’s not forget, a scrumptious meal.
We can’t wait to be back at Life Centers with our kids! Please join us in praying for God’s continued protection from the virus for the Childcare Worldwide family, and a day soon when we can all celebrate together in person!