A Lifeline Amidst a Pandemic
By Meg Midwood
01/28/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – When the clock chimed at midnight, the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. The closure of 2020 brought expectations of hope, renewal, and healing from the global destruction that marked the beginning of the decade. By slamming the door shut, we hoped that we could bring a swift end to it all.
But for persecuted Christians around the world, 2021 marks only the beginning of their healing journey.
The fallout from COVID-19 brought new layers of pain to the scarred Body of Christ. In Egypt, an estimated 80% of Christians lost their jobs overnight. In Iraq, 2,000 already-suffering Christian families were terribly affected by COVID-19. Most of them were displaced by ISIS six years ago and lost everything. Now, they are facing a difficult return home on top of a pandemic. In Pakistan, entire villages of Christians were denied food aid. Some lost their jobs, while others were forced to continue working in the nation’s sewage system – a dangerous job relegated to the country’s Christian minorities.
Today, ICC has touched over 24,000 persecuted Christians with aid through our COVID-19 Crisis Fund, providing food and other forms of aid to vulnerable Christians around the world who have been impacted by COVID-19. ICC gave each family enough food to last a full month, so that they could get back on their feet.
“During the last two months, I was rejected at two food aid distributions for being a Christian,” Kausar explained after receiving food aid from ICC. “We requested church leadership to arrange food for the deserving, so this distribution comes as a miracle for my family. My kids will enjoy the food for the next few weeks. We hope we will soon be able to earn an income and feed them. God bless you.”
Shahid, another food aid recipient, said, “I am happy for this very decent amount of food. It will serve my family for a month, which means my children will have no worries and will sleep after eating a good meal.”
“I am a widow and am doubly victimized,” Shama, whose husband was killed by extremists in 2018, told ICC. “My children are less than 12 years old, so I am passing through a very critical time. Today, I am sure my children will start dancing and enjoy that I have enough food for them. This is a blessing for us. May Jesus bless those who have provided and arranged this aid for us.”
One Egyptian Christian, Nady, was a field laborer before COVID-19 struck. After losing his job, Nady faced the seemingly impossible burden of providing for his aging parents, wife, and five-year-old son. Living in a primarily Muslim country, where opportunities for Christians are scarce, Nady faced a predicament.
As COVID-19 restrictions curtailed daily labor jobs, Nady’s wife, Maryam; his son, Youssef; and his parents had no outside help or community to support them. Thinking about his options, Nady realized that he could launch his own business.
Hope came in the form of a three-wheeled motorcycle with a strange name: a tuk-tuk. Nady is using his tuk-tuk to deliver groceries and other supplies in his village, and eventually in other villages, to earn an income.
“This [tuk-tuk] will help me to tour other villages beside my village, but for now I will focus on my village here,” Nady explained to ICC. “The project will grow in the upcoming days. I will tour the other villages; it is important for me to make a good reputation here. Then, I can make a good reputation in the other villages.”
Through this business, Nady’s hope for the future, his pride, and his dignity have been restored.
A Drop in the Bucket
The tuk-tuk for Nady cost ICC only $312 to purchase. With the profits from his new business, Nady has been able to provide for his family and even set aside a small fund for his son’s education. He expressed his gratitude to God and ICC, sharing that he felt the affirmation of God’s faithfulness and provision in his moment of despair.
But Nady’s tears were just a drop in a bucket, one of the thousands of emergency SOS cries for help in this time. In response to testimonies like these, we are pouring out our resources, providing desperately needed COVID-19 relief to persecuted Christian families around the world.
Thank you for partnering with us so that we can care for the persecuted Body of Christ.
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