There are now 1,693 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Sudan, with 27 deaths. A number of senior government figures have tested positive, the majority of whom are above the age of 65 and in the vulnerable category. This highlights the imbalance in the country’s leadership, with few young citizens finding a route into positions of influence. In fact, many of these are arbitrarily detained like Peter Biar Ajak who, after much prayer, has now been released.
However, we know that the Lord God transcends positions of human hierarchy:
‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.’
This week, we hear from Anil and Shalini Cherian and the Jonglei Health Sciences Institute in lockdown as their students continue to stand up as young godly leaders during the pandemic.
As the Jonglei Health Sciences Institute training programme is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, the students have mobilised themselves as health ambassadors, with the support of Anil and Shalini. They are attempting to spread awareness of prevention strategies like face coverings, social distancing and handwashing but are finding it very difficult to bring about change in their peers’ behaviour.
People argue that there is no need for these measures because God will protect them, or simply question whether the pandemic has been sent by God or Satan. Shalini is encouraging them to respond with biblical examples such as God warning Noah to build the ark before the flood.
Please pray for the JHSI students, thanking God for their initiative and asking that they would embrace opportunities to share truths about His strength and kindness.
Preparing for Covid-19 Patients
Anil and Shalini are currently in Juba sorting out administrative work. While they have been away from Bor, they have received reports of patients dying with respiratory symptoms, although there is no testing facility in Bor so no way of clarifying whether or not this is as a result of Covid-19. They are currently stranded in Juba awaiting a coronavirus test before they can travel but when they return, they will train hospital staff in the use of isolation tents before joining them in frontline clinical work.
Please pray for protection for the Cherians and their colleagues when caring for Covid patients. Pray that the Bor facility and others like it would not be overwhelmed by cases and that the little equipment they have would suffice for the work ahead.
Fulfilling a National Role
In 2018, Anil and Shalini were appointed as the health advisors for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. Although to date there has been little movement on this role, with the Institute’s operations currently suspended, there is perhaps more opportunity for it to progress. They are currently considering ways to unite Christian-led health initiatives across South Sudan.
Please pray for Anil and Shalini to have fruitful discussions with stakeholders in their role as health advisors.
If you would like to donate towards Anil and Shalini’s work, you can do so using the bank details below. Please get in touch to let us know that your donation is for that purpose:
Account Name: Anglican International Development
Sort code: 16-10-15
Account number: 10168004
‘To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.’