But Gethin had to push aside the fear. He had to work. Gethin and his wife, Reya, had moved to the city so he could get treatment, but they soon discovered life in the city was hard, and they had very little money. They worked at a construction site, enduring difficult labor to bring in what money they could to survive. Was any of this worth it? Would they ever catch a break?
Hope Watches and Steps In
In a tailor shop near the construction site, GFA missionary Synda watched Gethin and Rysa work. She noticed they were sweating from their hard work, and compassion moved her. Taking a bottle of cold water, she went out to check on them. As they spoke, Synda learned Gethin and Rysa were from her own tribe. They spoke together in their shared language, and she invited the couple to her place.
What a relief it must have been for Gethin and Rysa to find someone in the big city who was from their own tribe. As they visited with Synda, they told her about their problems and asked that she pray for them.
Synda took the opportunity to tell them about the love of Jesus and encouraged them. She offered them a New Testament and a booklet titled “You Must Meet Him”. If they read it, they could be encouraged by the words and life of Christ and find a reason to have hope. Synda began to regularly visit the couple and pray for them, but none of them knew the world was about to drastically shift.
A Changed World
The pandemic hit, changing everyone’s lives. Lockdowns made it hard for anyone to work. Money was tight. Resources were limited. Many fell into even deeper poverty due to the pandemic. According to Pew Research, “South Asia…along with sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for most of the increase in poverty, reversing years of progress.” 1
During this time, Synda went out of her way to visit Gethin and Rysa, helped provide for their basic needs and prayed for them. Her selfless love and care resounded deeply in their hearts. Why would she care so much for them? Perhaps it was because they were from the same village, or maybe it was because she was moved by a deeper love of Christ and wanted to share it with them. It didn’t matter that they lived in poverty. She loved them anyway, especially during this difficult time in the world.
All around the world, hunger became a very real issue for many people. “The state of food security and nutrition in Asia and the Pacific has worsened,” says a joint report from UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2“as more than 375 million people in the region faced hunger in 2020, an increase of 54 million over the previous year.” As it became more difficult to buy food and meet the needs of survival, millions of people also struggled with depression and anxiety. 3
Gethin and Rysa were among those who fought to survive. When the church saw this, they stepped in and provided them with dry ration items to help them through this difficult time. This couple was one of so many families who fell further into insurmountable poverty and hunger. GFA missionaries and child sponsorship staff did their best to help their communities amid lockdowns. They cooked hot meals and distributed rice, oil, eggs, vegetables, spices and other groceries to families.
Churches Reopened and Lives Transformed
When the lockdowns finally lifted, churches re–opened. For people like Gethin and Rysa, it was the first time they were able to attend church services.
During the lockdown, they had witnessed the kindness and compassion of Christ’s followers, such as Synda. God had moved in their lives even when they weren’t able to move about. God answered Gethin’s prayers by freeing him from a spirit of fear, and Gethin began getting treatment for the cataracts in his eyes. All of this strengthened their aspiration to live for Jesus for as long as they breathe.
While Gethin and Rysa made it through the pandemic with the food and encouragement they received from the church, so many others have fallen below the poverty line and struggle with depression and anxiety. GFA missionaries work hard to reach those who are struggling and meet their needs, and this is made possible with the help of the prayers and support of people like you. You can have a huge impact on their lives. Learn how you can help us feed the hungry in Asia and Africa, both physically and spiritually.