Iraq – On March 12, Dee and I found ourselves in an emergency evacuation situation having to leave Iraq. We didn’t want to leave at that time, but felt it prudent, as President Trump announced the closure of European borders. We purchased new tickets and flew through Dubai/JFK/DIA. Twelve hours later, the local government closed all roads and soon after, the airport, making God’s timing obvious. We’re both well by God’s grace. Thanks for your prayers. – John & Dee
The Iraq teams are well. The government(s) are in full lockdown (Iraq Federal and Kurdistan) with churches, schools, businesses and refuge camps closed. N. Iraq began early March. Reported cases of COVID19 are low, although not all refugees have been able to check in. There are heavy fines for driving in areas of Iraq in an effort to keep COVID19’s influx from Iran at bay. The stories of needs from the refugees are heartbreaking and we will share them in a different update.
Baghdad – From Pastor Ara: Praise the Lord, we’re doing well, and all the congregation of the church are safe. In fact we canceled all the events that we had since 4 weeks ago, and stopped also the Sunday worship services since last week.
Actually, it is not easy to stop Sunday worship meetings in such a context, and we worry that maybe we will cancel the services of the Holy Week and Easter. We arranged to distribute the food bags (to refugee families in the child sponsorship program) next week, but we expect that the government will extend the lockdown (For a special blessing, be sure to read his full interview here).
Philippines – Resty reports that the PI is also in full lockdown with fines for movement on roads. The children in the child sponsorship program are home and the school is closed. It’s difficult to say whether there are COVID19 cases because tests are not readily available. Again, economically, the toll is especially heavy for the poorest.
Egypt – The churches and schools are closed and the government has taken precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. With little/no testing available, it’s difficult to say how many have been infected, but the government claims numbers are low. Pastor Emad’s mother in law passed away from a heart attack earlier this month, and the family asked for special prayers during this time of their loss. John was there in early March with the team and they filmed this video:
India – Days before the Indian Gov’t completely shut, Principal Pramod felt led to send the first and second year students home. Good thing he did because the massive railway (with 12,617 trains transporting over 23 million passengers daily), among other transportation systems and businesses, has also been suspended. The third year students are completing their final exams and helping around campus. He reports that all are well and thanks everyone for the prayers and encouragement.
Colorado Springs office – The state of Colorado went into full lockdown on March 27, but our staff began working from home two weeks prior and check in at the office regularly (mail and deposits). Melanie and Star have small children and Melanie is pregnant, so we are being extra careful. Reda, Samira and family are doing well, as are John and Dee.
If you have questions about your donations, you can email Star at: [email protected], or call our office at 719-302-3028. To sponsor a child, GBC student or national pastor, pls visit our website.
James reminds us in Jas 1:27 that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Thank you for your continued prayers and financial gifts which enable us to continue to minister effectively with nationals sharing the Hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost.
We don’t need to be overcome by this crisis, rather, draw on the Lord’s strength and we can petition through prayers for those suffering from COVID19, the healthcare workers, our family and friends, and our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world!