Meeting the Needs of the Body: ICC’s COVID-19 Response Update
05/21/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – As COVID-19 spread across the world, International Christian Concern launched an initiative to serve the Christians being persecuted and discriminated against for their faith. In just one month, International Christian Concern and its generous supporters successfully met the first fundraising benchmark to serve the victims of COVID-19 persecution around the world. As the body of Christ suffers around the world, we join together to meet their needs.
Since then, ICC implemented relief projects in some of the hardest-hit countries such as Nigeria, Iraq, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The recipients of the aid provided by ICC’s generous donors ranged from widows, to Muslim Background Believers (MBBs), to pastors who lost their support systems, to Christians denied aid. Nearly 1300 individuals and families received a month’s worth of food so far.
In India, the COVID-19 pandemic cut off rural evangelists from their usual support systems and churches. Due to them often traveling to reach new areas with the Gospel, they are unable to receive government aid in their non-native villages. One of these evangelists is Pastor Kuluram. He struggled to find enough food until ICC revisited him after first meeting him through the Bibles and Bikes initiative. He told ICC, “I believe the help from ICC is an answered prayer because I was troubled and was thinking how I could manage and provide for my family after a couple of days, praise God He is faithful right in the middle of survival crises. I also want to thank ICC for helping me with this ration, and I don’t have to worry for the next month”.
A month’s worth of food for a Bible and Bikes evangelist
In Egypt, ICC continued to provide additional support to the families who are a part of Hope House. The Christian children who usually study in Hope House, received food packages full of nutrients. Their families also received a chicken, a special gift. Many of the parents of Hope House children are poor day laborers, who often work in different villages and send money back to their families. With the restrictions in Egypt, many fathers and brothers were unable to work or return home.
A Hope House child stands with the food he and his mother received
In Iraq, the Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) suffered uniquely during the COVID-19 lockdowns. MBBs, already isolated from their ordinary communities, do not experience the same type of access to familial support. As a result of ISIS, IDPs continue to live in unstable environments, with limited access to resources. ICC met these people in their need to provide a month’s worth of food for them. One man, Anwar, told ICC, “I can’t have a better future for my kids, because I am too small to change the direction of the family. I used to earn around $15-20 daily from selling sunflower seeds at the restaurants’ street. But there are no more jobs, and I don’t know when I’ll be back.“ Out of desperation for an income, Anwar attempted selling sunflower seeds a few days prior. He was temporarily arrested and continues to have no income to provide for his family since he lost it all during ISIS displacement. However, now he can trust that he and his family will have sustenance for the next month.
A young girl in an IDP camp holds some of the goods her family received from ICC
"I am thankful to God for providing us this foodstuff through you. My family was very upset. However, we are happy and thankful to you for arranging this aid. Since the beginning of this month, we [were restricted to] one meal due to shortage; however, my children will enjoy the food three times a day. People in society do not respect us. We are often rejected and discriminated against. However, inviting us to collect foodstuff has strengthened my faith in God".
Zeenat, one of the Pakistan beneficiaries, was denied food aid in a village near Lahore, along with several other Christians in the Muslim-majority area. Zeenat told ICC, “I am thankful to God for providing us this foodstuff through you. My family was very upset. However, we are happy and thankful to you for arranging this aid. Since the beginning of this month, we [were restricted to] one meal due to shortage; however, my children will enjoy the food three times a day. People in society do not respect us. We are often rejected and discriminated against. However, inviting us to collect foodstuff has strengthened my faith in God“.
Pakistan beneficiaries at the food disbursement
ICC continues to serve persecuted Christians around the world, while COVID-19 threatens the livelihoods of many believers. If you are interested in helping us serve the body of Christ, visit our initiatives page here.
For interviews please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org