With just 3,683 Covid-19 deaths (1% of the global total) across the whole continent of Africa as of 27 May, one could be forgiven for assuming that the pandemic is passing over this region of the world that is often thought of as the most vulnerable to sickness and disease. However, in the vast majority of African countries, the outbreak is not even close to reaching its peak. Some are even still just reporting their first cases, the latest being Lesotho on 13th May. During this global outbreak, we pray, looking to the Lord for His faithful provision:
‘I life my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.’
Testing is limited to capital cities in most African countries and there is no indication yet that nationwide lockdowns have contributed to slowing the infection rate or whether they have had any impact at all. In South Sudan, cases have been confirmed in two overcrowded UN civilian protection sites where social distancing is simply not possible.
Please pray for Africa as Covid-19 continues to take hold – for wise leadership, protection from the full force of the pandemic and unconditional support from high-income countries.
Measures to control the virus are introducing other problems that for Africa, will be equally as devastating as the coronavirus. With a lethal invasion of locusts devouring crops across East Africa, starvation is a real possibility for millions of people – particularly in nations like South Sudan where malnutrition is already rife. This is compounded by a drastic reduction in the trade of vital supplies as lockdown has limited production. The majority of people are unable to work from home in countries where people earn a living by running small businesses like shops, bakeries and barbers. Social distancing efforts limit the spread of the virus but it may aggravate economic adversity too.
Please pray for the people of South Sudan – for an end to the locust swarm, increased availability of vital necessities and protection against damage to the economy.
Spiritual starvation during lockdown is hindering growth in the knowledge and love of God too. With churches closed in South Sudan, many people are cut off from God’s Word with Internet access rare amid a literacy rate of roughly 27%. Disinformation is circulating with some considering wearing a mask to betray a lack of trust in God. Bishop Gwynne College, the theology training centre supported by AID, is currently closed due to the pandemic but amidst so much uncertainty, it is still clear that the only true and secure hope for anyone is in Jesus Christ. God willing, it will be able to reopen soon to continue training the next generation of faithful pastors to preach the gospel across the country.
Please pray for continued spiritual growth in South Sudan, despite an apparent barrier to the provision of faithful Bible teaching, and for Bishop Gwynne students as they continue to learn and grow in lockdown as much as they can.
Despite the present situation in South Sudan, our field partners are still continuing their work. The Jonglei Health Sciences Institute is closed but Anil and Shalini are preparing to care for Covid-19 patients. The Trumpeters are unable to continue their usual household visits but are spreading health messages while social distancing. Thank you very much to supporters who have donated to this ongoing work recently – if you would like to do the same, you can do so by clicking here or with the following bank details:
Account Name: Anglican International Development
Sort code: 16-10-15
Account number: 10168004
‘Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.’
1 Timothy 1:17