As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world, many of us will be feeling a weariness bordering on despair. Yet the Bible calls on us to persist in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19). In the middle of some of the most difficult circumstances they've ever faced, our staff have been finding renewed hope in Jesus.
Claudia Moreira, who leads Tearfund’s work in Brazil, and Prince David, who leads Tearfund’s work in India, share with us about how coronavirus is affecting the countries they work in, as well as how Tearfund has been responding. They also share how we can continue to pray for an end to coronavirus.
Emotional toll on leaders
‘The situation in Brazil is critical. It is hard, sometimes, to describe in words how we are continuing living at this moment while facing the loss of almost 520,000 lives. Just to give an example, every staff member in our team has lost a relative or friend. We are in continuous grief. And so are the partners, churches and groups we work with,’ shares Claudia.
‘I’ve talked to one or two people who have always been very courageous in other situations and they have said “you know, I’m scared this time,"’ explains Prince.
‘I have seen major disasters. I have seen super cyclones, I have seen major earthquakes and also the tsunami of 2004. Those are just very tiny in the face of this one. Because those disasters were confined to a geography, and resources from other places in the form of people, finances, equipment and everything was deployed by the nation. In this place, nobody knows what tomorrow is going to look like. Right now there is a crisis. Right now there is a valley experience.’
‘Pastors and community leaders are exhausted,’ adds Claudia. ‘And so, during this last year, we invited pastors, leaders and partners for weekly online meetings just to come and share. We listened to them, and encouraged them to share their feelings, challenges and responses to coronavirus. It was a learning space that helped us to know how we could better support them.’
The role of the church
‘We do have hope and we know that God is in control. We are not lost, ’ declares Claudia.
‘Since the pandemic started, what has given us hope is to work with our partners, churches and networks. Together, we have implemented emergency relief and recovery projects, including distributing food and hygiene kits. I have been encouraged by how they have been upfront to respond, to support the communities, to bring hope, to being salt and light.
‘I mean, the role of the church in this situation is essential. I would say vital, crucial. People are feeling lost and the church can bring them a sense of belonging.
‘So when we are facing this kind of trauma, people need to regain, to recover their sense of belonging, hope and security. The church has this message, our message is about hope.
‘As a follower of Jesus, I know that we are going to recover because I have hope. The church can lead this way so that we may re-emerge better.’