Thursday, 9 July 2020
In a socially distant, home-bound season, Filipino believers are carefully reaching out as the hands of Christ to those who are affected by the coronavirus and need food, protection and wages.
SIM Philippines workers are distributing supplies to five poor communities where they regularly conduct ministry. For years, they have been actively embodying practical and spiritual love through education, food drives and employment opportunities.
SIM Philippines director G* has observed a unique connection between these acts of kindness, the gospel and Filipino culture. She said: “These are motivated by the Filipinos’ primary core value pakikipagkapwa
from the word kapwa
which means shared identity (or ‘the other person is also yourself’) and a sense of community bayanihan
from the word bayani
which means ‘hero.’ We become a hero for others.
“For Filipino Christians, these two concepts mean even more. Related to pakikipagkapwa, Jesus commanded us ‘to love our neighbour’ (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31). The concept of bayanihan also reminds me of the story of the paralytic and his friends (Luke 5:17-26; Mark 2:1-12).”
Most people in these communities live on a daily wage, but due to the quarantine, only those who have jobs in healthcare or the food industry can carry on working. The local government has responded but cannot meet the immense demand.
SIM workers are bringing rice, eggs, instant noodles and canned goods to help people as they undergo financial strain during the crisis. They’ve also delivered soap and vitamins.
SIM Philippines team members have taken considerable steps to safeguard themselves and those they’re serving. The effort they’ve made to meet immediate needs in the name of Jesus has been warmly received.
G said: “Most of the recipients have expressed their gratitude saying, ‘Thank you very much for your help. You are the first one who gave to us.’ … I pray that they will have enough.”
Additional groups of Christians have sewn fabric facemasks and made face shields to give to doctors and nurses at local hospitals. According to the Philippine Medical Association, 17 Filipino doctors have died as of March 31.
G said: “I find the desire to help others despite the risk as God’s fingerprints. As the Lord enables us to help, I pray that the people (especially those coming from majority religion) will see Jesus in us and be drawn closer to him.”
• the spread of the coronavirus to cease by God’s mighty hand.
• many to see the love of Christ during the pandemic and surrender their hearts to Jesus.
• relief workers, healthcare professionals, the Filipino military and government workers to receive the Lord’s strength during this overwhelming time.
• generous acts to abound while many strive to make ends meet.
• the SIM Philippines team to be a light to their community.
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