When COVID-19 first arrived in Guinea in March 2020, churches closed almost immediately.
With churches and many businesses shutting down simultaneously, most church leadership completely lost their salaries, even if they were working part-time somewhere else.
Additionally, transportation costs skyrocketed as a result of lockdown restrictions during this time. With taxis and buses reduced to half capacity, the cities were forced to double the ride costs to try to make up for lost funds. As a result, very few offerings were given last year, which severely impacted pastor’s salaries as well as vulnerable church members, like orphans and widows, who often relied on congregations’ donations to eat.
Fortunately, Send Relief was able to provide more than 250 church members with care packages that included rice, beans, tomatoes, sardines, oil, sugar and much-needed hygiene items.
These packages arrived at a critical moment when churches had been closed for two months, and many members had been out of work for even longer. The goods were taken to individual churches, so local leadership could distribute packages at their discretion, building relationships and praying over their families as they went.
Our partner shared, “It allowed the congregations to breathe a bit after being so worried and strapped financially. The objective of this project was to love the church, Christ’s bride, and we were able to give the primary joy of the distributions themselves to the pastors and elders. The churches were able to celebrate together the moment of God’s provision for them and their members in need—we heard nothing but sincere gratitude and gratefulness from them!”
Each recipient met with a pastor or elder and was prayed over before leaving with their food package, allowing church leadership across six different communities to shepherd their congregations and provide both physical and emotional care amid a dark season.
One of the recipients and a father of five, Isaac, approached our partner after a distribution saying, “Praise God and thanks to whoever helped provide all of this! I can’t find the words to explain how much this means to me. This has been such a difficult time, but please tell the mission who made this possible ‘thank you’ and that this is a great gift.”
We often forget, in times of crisis, that the local church is the backbone of compassion ministry and will outlast a project far beyond its completion. Thank you for helping Send Relief empower congregations around the world to take care of each other and show the love of Christ to their neighbors around them!
Pray for churches in Guinea to experience a revival post-pandemic and for church leadership to be encouraged in their efforts in the coming year.
This article was written by Natalie Sarrett and was originally published at imb.org.