Christian workers in Colombia and other parts of Latin America have become soldiers in the fight against COVID-19, with some dying in the effort to save others physically and spiritually.
“We have had to see people die and go with the Lord, including local missionaries from our ministry, and we’ve comforted many loved ones,” the leader of a ministry based in Colombia said. “We thank God that up to now He has helped and supported us in everything, despite difficult circumstances and harsh experiences in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
In Colombia, second only to Brazil in the number of total COVID-19 cases in Latin America, local missionaries sharing the gospel in home visits, phone calls and online messages are also doing everything possible to help those suffering from the virus. Besides being provided with vehicles and fuel, workers are now equipped with food and medicine to distribute while bringing the gospel to villages.
“Members of congregations and their relatives in the different regions where God has established us also have died from COVID-19, but thank God others have managed to win the battle against this terrible disease, and we have been there supporting them in prayer and in some cases with medicines and other necessary things,” the leader said. “It has not been easy at all, but God is our comfort and strength to continue serving with love, encouragement and dedication while we are alive.”
Workers wear masks and take other appropriate precautions, and when people put their faith in Christ, discipleship often takes place by telephone, he said. New Christians who have received Bibles and other materials from the workers can then ask them questions as they study the discipleship materials.
Local missionaries also may be at risk when training leaders. They continue visiting villages and providing biblical training to leaders of ministries for children and youth, women’s and men’s groups, Sunday school teachers and heads of outreaches to indigenous people, the leader said.
“Through the trainings we comfort them and encourage them to move forward with the teaching of the precious Word of God among the people,” the ministry leader said. “As missionaries and local Christians from our churches have unfortunately died, we have been able to financially support part of the burial costs for them, and we have also supported the orphans and widows of the different families with food and study supplies.”
Showing God’s Love
Mexico has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America with nearly 4 million, after Colombia’s total 5 million-plus infections.
“The pandemic is very strong in our region, and several of our missionaries who have been infected with the virus, including our family, have already all gone through the disease,” the leader of a ministry based in Mexico said. “However, none of our missionaries has been discouraged and continue forward in the work that God has entrusted to us.”
COVID-19 hit one local worker hard as she had prior health conditions, but since recovering she has continued in her call to serve the Lord among ethnic groups, he said.
“In some cases, the towns have been closed and do not allow home visits to the people our missionaries are reaching, but we continue to manage to visit all these families who need the Lord so much,” the leader said.
Earlier this year the ministry began sending “medical brigades” to help treat and instruct indigenous people on health issues. The ethnic people they serve have been deeply appreciative, he said.
Ethnic villagers in remote areas have found it increasingly difficult to find medical personnel willing to help them. The local missionaries have the opportunity to show God’s love by helping care for these people, the leader said.
“The medical brigades are helping the most vulnerable population – we have been able to help some patients with COVID symptoms, and the truth is we are surprised at the way God is supporting us to bring relief to the families of the poorest ethnic regions of Mexico,” he said. “The medical outreach has served as a testimony of compassion to the inhabitants of the community, in addition to being used by workers to share the gospel, especially in these moments when many people are afraid of COVID.”
Health and Salvation
Likewise in Ecuador, where COVID-19 has struck more than 516,000 people, local missionaries with few resources are serving even as they tend to their own medical needs. One impoverished worker who recently had to undergo surgery relied on an offering from Christian Aid Mission so the local ministry could provide him the food he needed to recover, the leader of the ministry said.
“We have also been able to help a sister who was widowed, since her husband was one of our missionaries,” the leader said. “He died of coronavirus.”
Aid to local missionaries, their families and the ethnic people they’re serving is taking place as regular evangelistic outreaches continue. In Colombia, a local missionary recently visited the home of a paramilitary fighter involved in drug trafficking.
“He was going through problems at home and was very sick in bed without being able to walk,” the local ministry leader said. “Our local missionary shared the Good News of Christ Jesus. That day he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and repented of his sins.”
The worker prayed for his health, and two days later he found the new Christian recovered and able to walk.
“Now he is a living example of God’s transforming power,” the leader said. “His health has been restored, and they are happy as they persevere in the Lord. He also has opened his home for his neighbors to meet to study the Word of God.”
Local missionaries are bringing hope, aid and the gospel to suffering people and their loved ones throughout the region. Please consider a gift today to equip and encourage them in their daily struggle against illness, spiritual darkness and death.