Latin American evangelicals offer resources and volunteers to help in coronavirus crisis
Evangelical leaders in Colombia and Peru presented projects to their governments, to support coronavirus victims. Cuban evangelicals are actively working with those affected by the pandemia.
Evangélico Digital · BOGOTA| HAVANA|LIMA · 13 APRIL 2020 · 14:30 CET
The worldwide crisis of the coronavirus is showing many solidarity activities carried out by Christian communities and churches.
In Colombia, more than 50 religious leaders sent a letter to President Iván Duque and the Minister of the Interior, Alicia Arango, offering their help amid the crisis the country is facing due to the coronavirus.
In the letter, they presented a project called “Cooperation, join us”, led by several humanitarian organizations, such as World Vision, Betany, Samaritans Purse, Compassion, among others.
SPIRITUAL AND VOLUNTEERING SUPPORT
“The Christian church in Colombia offers the country all the potential and helping force that we have developed over more than 150 years of social work”, they said.
The churches give support in four specific areas: spiritual accompaniment, media, psychological counseling, and volunteering for social service.
“Additionally, we provide our worship places throughout the country, to be used as food collection centers or shelters, as long as they meet the specifications required for these ends”, the letter added.
EVANGELICAL SOCIAL ACTION IN CUBA
Meanwhile, the Cuban Christian Reformed church maintains its humanitarian programs in Cuba, despite the advance of the pandemic.
“We have not suspended our services. We continue helping the elderly, the bedridden and the families with food and financial aid”, the president of that denomination, Yordanys Díaz, told Cuban newspaper Diario de Cuba.
“The church, the 19 canteens, the two nursing houses continue to work, and we bring food to the homes of those in need”,he added.
Diaz explained that “in some communities we have had to deliver raw food and in others we have to give them money, as there are places where there is no food to buy in large quantities”.
CHURCHES CLOSED BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT ORDER
He demanded all the churches of his denomination on the island to take social isolation measures, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Like other Protestant denominations, such as the Evangelical League of Cuba, “we went ahead of the government and close our buildings and national offices”, Díaz explained.
The religious leader himself has suffered the uncertainty of a possible contagion with Covid-19, since he was hospitalized for “an asthma crisis” due to excessive manipulation of chlorine, and thought he had been infected.
“I was very concerned, I have three children and I had had contact with a group of almost 70 people who were in our seminary. When the coronavirus test was negative, I thanked the Lord”, he recalled.
As part of civil society, many believers have mobilized to produce and give protection masks or to become involved in volunteering to assist the elderly, one of the groups at greater risk of the disease.
PERUVIAN HEALTH MINISTER MET WITH EVANGELICAL LEADERS
In Peru, the Minister of Health , Víctor Zamora, met with authorities of the National Evangelical Council of Peru (CONEP), the Union of Evangelical Christian Churches of Peru (UNICEP), the Assemblies of God and members of other churches.
The Minister informed them about the situation of the pandemic, and the need of support becuae they expect that this week the number of deaths will increase.
The president of UNICEP, pastor Cristian Scheelje, and Jorge Márquez, Director of UNICEP government affairs, reported on a group of 400 specialized volunteers who have been trained to attend line 113, which receives reports of alleged suspected cases of the COVID-19.
At the same time, UNICEP is sending 1000 bottles of water and food to support the staff who have been attending more than 40,000 calls a day.