The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all countries in our world. The virus is frightening, and the closure of businesses which are sources of food, medicines, and supplies is even more frightening for many. Above you see the closed shops in a normally crowded area of Hyderabad.
Those who minister through Reach the Nations in both Punjab and Sindh are presently quarantined by government mandate so are not able to travel to the villages for their normal face-to-face ministry.
They have asked for our prayers for themselves and for the people they serve - that they would be protected from illness and that they would have access to food and medical assistance as needed.
Below you will see a photo of Mehboob with his wife, Maria, and his mother. Both women are health care professionals serving in a hospital in Sialkot, Punjab Province. Mehboob is asking prayers for them as they are on the frontline of the health issues faced by Pakistan in these days.
Another Christian health care provider in a different area of Pakistan has shared these thoughts to help us understand the unique situation in this country. Please read to understand how to pray for these people and for those who are caring for them:
"Pakistan is struggling to know how to best proceed with protecting the populace at large due to the fact that there is a real concern of how to lock down an economy that simply has no backup and no means of providing the basic necessities of living if the economic machine isn’t working, day by day.
"The message is going out but there is little understanding by the common public as to the seriousness of the nature of this outbreak and sickness. Without work, there is no money and no money means literally no food. This culture has been living from hand to mouth and it doesn’t take much at all to upset the balance, and the poor are without food and looking at starvation if they are not allowed to provide financial income for the family unit.
"Sanitation is not available for much of the country and so hand washing results in simply rinsing the hands in dirty water or using canal water to rinse off the majority of the grime. Without using soap and not having clean fresh water to use, the resultant attempt to stay clean means that the person feels they have washed but in actuality they leave still with viral contamination on their skin.
"The society is one centered around the family unit. It is quite common for folks to share their plates and eat together from the same bowl of lentils or curry, using a piece of bread as a spoon, each person takes a turn eating from the same dish of food. As the plate is shared, again a further risk of sharing disease and spreading illness is a part of every day life within the culture."
I hope this post gives you an inside look of the situation in Pakistan, a country of more than 207 million people, only 2-3% of whom are followers of Christ. Please keep this nation and those who minister there in your prayers. May this time of crisis become a means by which the Spirit turns many to the true and loving God of the Bible. He is our hope and our shield.
"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." - Psalm 33:20-21