In these uncertain times, I want to lead with what I know to be True: even (and especially) in these dark days, our Father is faithful. We don’t know what the coming weeks and months hold, but we do know the One who holds all things together. As author Matthew B. Redmond puts it, “He will not abandon his people. He will not forsake you. The good news of the King who has conquered our greatest foe is still true in the ruins of this life. His love will still be greater than all our imaginings. He will still reign. The promises of our Sovereign God will remain unspoiled in the heat of our longest days. And even when our palette cannot detect the goodness of our Lord, his mercy will not be moved.”
As the Coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, you may have questions about how it is impacting our work in caring for the poor, orphaned, and forgotten.
As I write this, there are 36 cases of COVID-19 in Moldova, and one death. Moldova is especially high risk due to its proximity to Italy. Our Moldova in-country staff is communicating all information regarding any direct health risks and we are monitoring CDC Travel Advisories and the US Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova. Currently, Moldova’s borders are closed.
In regards to our day-to-day operations with kids and teens, there are some important developments I wanted you, our faithful sponsors, to know about. On March 9, the Ministry of Health in Moldova issued an injunction in which they prohibit gatherings at schools, daycares, and other educational facilities.
For our monthly sponsorship visits, we gather kids at schools, churches, and mayor’s offices. Some places have already reached out to our in-country staff to cancel March visits, and others we expect to cancel in the coming days. Of course, JMI will respect the government’s orders on this matter. However, there are some ways we will continue to minister. For our sponsorship gatherings, all of the spring sponsorship gifts had already been purchased prior to this government ruling. We will simply hold these gifts until we are able to resume our regular monthly visits. Your sponsorship dollars for March and beyond will thus be used as normal.
In our Transitional Living homes, most of our kids have gone to relatives homes for at least the next two weeks. For those who had nowhere to go, they of course remained at the JMI Transitional Living home. Our house parents for each of our 4 homes are in regular contact with each of our residents. We will be updating individual sponsors about their sponsored kids in the coming weeks
In the Amazon…
As I write this, the entire country of Brazil has 529 cases of COVID-19, but nearly all of those are outside of the Amazon state. There are a few cases in Amazonas, but reported cases are currently in urban areas. In regards to our day-to-day operations with special needs children, vulnerable children, and jungle pastors, there are some important developments I wanted you, our faithful sponsors, to know about.
Regarding our sponsorship program with vulnerable children, our Brazil-based staff has prayerfully decided to postpone our sponsorship programs activities until the COVID-19 situation is under control. We are hopeful that this will be over soon and we will be able to celebrate our 3 year anniversary with the Navegantes program in Terra Preta in the near future. The good news is that our sponsorship programming in Urucurituba Village can continue as normal, as this program is run by Pastor Luis, who lives there in the village.
Our Brazil-based staff is reaching out via WhatsApp to the River pastors and wives that attend our conferences. We are checking in with as many as we can, offering our support and prayer. Our plans for our Annual July Jungle Pastors’ conference are currently proceeding as normal.
Please know that any of your regular recurring funds WILL still be used to care for the people we support in the Amazon. If you support a jungle pastor or pastor’s wife, your funds will be used to send him or her to our annual Jungle Pastors’ Conference. If you support a special needs or vulnerable child, we will simply bank your monthly gift until we are able to safely connect with the kids, families, and churches in our program.
We do not yet know the widespread affects of this virus or how long it will take to eradicate. Our hope and prayer is to resume normal ministry as soon as safely possible. The best thing you can do as a sponsor at this time is pray for your child, your pastor, their family, and the places we serve as already vulnerable people face the spread of this virus.
We remain committed to the call to care for the poor, orphaned, and forgotten and want to do so with great wisdom. Even on the darkest days, God is faithful and at work. Thank you for your continued partnership as we seek to bring the Good News of Jesus to those we love in Moldova. We could not do this without you.