8 months have passed and no one ever would have imagined the world would end up in such an uncharted territory. It is no brainer that this Covid-19 pandemic has infected all the continents in the world except for Antarctica. And more than just a health crisis, it has become a crisis that has brought havoc in the economic spheres, where thousands have lost jobs, and millions at risk of hunger and abject poverty. Some governments have potentially taken advantage of the situation, and have taken control of societies by threatening freedom of people, press and leaving scars of pain in the society. Besides the deserted cities, people locked indoors, churches unable to worship with the congregation, cities locked either by choice or by government orders etc, people across the world are feeling the burnt of Covid-19.
APBF in the Call
It is worth giving praise to God that many churches, conventions within the APBF region, of its own, have done a remarkable job. We are proud and we give thanks to God for enabling you all to meet the needs of your community. We thank the Baptist World Alliance for reaching out to almost all the conventions who are members of BWA. We thank Asia Baptist Women's Union for their leadership in providing assistance through finance to many women members/unions in the ABWU region.
But the situation has not gotten any better in many countries like India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia etc. As of August 2 report in Japan Times, Philippines has become the worst affected country in South East Asia. Excerpt from the news reads like this, "Despite imposing the longest, strictest lockdown in Southeast Asia, coronavirus cases in the Philippines have now surged to almost 120,000, eclipsing Indonesia to become the region’s biggest outbreak. The country re-imposed this week a second lockdown on Manila and nearby areas to curb infection spread, even as the economy suffered its deepest contraction on record, shrinking 16.5 percent in the second quarter from a year ago."
UNPA reports of the situation in Asia-Pacific:
With over 600,000 confirmed cases, India continues to see a rapid rise and has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the region. Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia continue to experience increase in new cases.
Maldives has the highest number of COVID-19 cases per million population in the Asia Pacific region, although new cases are now decreasing.
In countries with fragile health systems, refugees and displaced populations are extremely vulnerable. More than 46 cases have been confirmed in the overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.
Countries in the region are responding to natural disasters in addition to the pandemic, including India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste.
What can we do at times like this? We can surely pray. We can help raise awareness. We can be proactive but most importantly, we must remind ourselves and others that our hope is in Christ no matter the situation. The Bible reminds us, “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:18-22)”
God is our refuge and strength during these troubled times.
Our faith can be exemplified more clearly during the Pandemic.
Love one another. Love our families. Life is precious and we do not have a lifetime to tell this.
As an evidence of our love of God and His people, act out His benevolence.
Life on earth is not eternal. Our eternal life is in Jesus.
Share Jesus in Word and in Deed.
Let us hope in Christ!