Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the work God is doing here in South East Asia. I’ve had many people ask me how they can make a difference.
Your enquiries about this have been encouraging to myself and the team. We know that even in Australia COVID has caused real challenges. And that in the midst of your difficulties you can think of people in South East Asia, and want to bless them, is a testament to how Jesus is working in you.
Let me share a little about the situation here, and then share how you can bless people in the name of Jesus.
In July, South East Asia was named the global epicentre for COVID. We were averaging around 55,000 new confirmed cases each day. However actual numbers were much higher than that. The health system was in danger of collapse and cemeteries were overwhelmed with burials.
Over the past few months official new cases numbers have dropped to around 3,500 per day. However, authorities think the COVID numbers are actually much higher. There is a hesitancy by people to get tested, and there is an inadequate system in place for collecting health data.
But there are also other challenges. There are ongoing outbreaks in remote areas where health infrastructure is minimal. The government has implemented tight lockdown rules, but with limited success. And testing rates are quite low. Most of our friends have lost either family members or friends to the pandemic.
Alongside the devastating health outcomes for South East Asia have come the economic impacts.
The impact of COVID on the economy is disproportionately affecting women, youth, people with disabilities and workers with low education. Around 4 million people from these groups have lost work and have minimal access to government assistance.
A third of the population is reporting concerns about food security. And it is estimated an additional 20 million people have fallen below the poverty line since the pandemic began.
There have officially been more than 4.2 million cases of COVID in the country and over 140,000 deaths. But alongside these health impacts, now millions more are facing financial and food security issues as well.
Faithful Australian supporters like you have already been helping make a difference. Over the past 18 months our team has been engaged in a number of humanitarian initiatives. Through partnership with the team, you have helped us provide thousands of Personal Protective Equipment suits to medical workers in 14 remote areas. You have helped provide meals to people in need, including distributing food packages.
We are thankful for your impact already. And since so many people have asked how they can help, this is what we are planning next.
We want to keep meeting the needs of the communities God has called us to. Your gift now will help provide food staples to the communities we regularly work with.
This includes abandoned and neglected children, and communities who make their living scavenging rubbish. It also includes widows, single mothers and people in rural communities experiencing extreme poverty. Your gift will help us share the love of God with them in a tangible way.
Your support will help to provide food staples to around 1,500 families in four provinces - assisting around 6,000 people.
Often the poorest and most vulnerable groups in the community don’t receive clear and simple messaging around the pandemic. They are often confused and exposed to a lot of misinformation. Because they know and trust us and our local workers, they value the advice we offer them. Your support now helps provide these simple and effective messages.
Another issue affecting the communities we work with is that many do not have the government issued identity documents that are necessary in order to access assistance. This means they can’t access the financial, medical and other support measures that are available to people with official documentation. Your support helps us assist these groups in organising the documentation they need to get more support.
And can you also be praying for the people we serve among? We value you and the time you take to present these needs to our loving God.
Thank you so much for partnering with us in the Gospel.
South East Asia Team Leader