This article was originally published in the June 2021 edition of ITMI Monthly.
India is in crisis. According to a May 5th report from the World Health Organization, “India reported 378,075 (7 Day Moving Average - 7DMA) new cases accounting for 47% of new cases reported globally.”
Indian writer and political activist, Arundhati Roy wrote, “It’s hard to convey the full depth and range of the trauma, the chaos and the indignity that people are being subjected to.”
“We do not have access to hospitals,” write Paul and Molly, our partners in India, “They are either closed down, lacking resources or at full capacity.”
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, one of the poorer states, local media reported that one hospital had 50 people queueing for each of its beds.
One nurse was quoted,
“The condition is so horrible that so many people are dying on the street, in their houses, before they can see a doctor or even have a test. From early morning to midnight my phone keeps ringing. Desperate relatives and friends are calling for help: ‘Please help me find a ventilator, bed, a nurse, oxygen cylinder, medicine.’ ”
When Paul’s mother was fighting COVID, he went to six hospitals before he was able to get her into one. Crematoriums are so overwhelmed, they’ve exhausted their supplies of wood.
Molly comments, “The Apostle Paul reminds us, our struggle is not of this world - we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities and the rulers of darkness of this present age.”(Eph. 6:12)
How has the COVID crisis in India affected our partners?
Strict lockdowns have resumed. Lockdowns are, “good and bad at the same time,” writes our Indian partner, David Kumar, “Good because it cuts down the spread, and bad because poor people, daily laborers and small business people suffer a lot.”
People like this rickshaw driver and father suffer without income during lockdowns.
Many daily laborers like this painter, photographed in an Indian slum are going on over a year without steady work or income.
Impoverished residents of an Indian slum photographed chopping ginger root, likely for a meager income, can't continue working during lockdowns.
The situation for families of the Modi Road slum where David and his wife, Taru, minister, is “very severe and dangerous.” Three of the four staff members of their Deepam primary school and women’s center live in COVID “red zones”, but all are safe so far.
David and Taru’s sons both fought COVID and are recovering. David and Taru themselves haven’t tested positive, but Taru has a bad cough. David is battling unrelated health issues at the same time.
Paul, Molly and their 23 children are locked down at their village home. Medicine and vitamins are not available. Vitamin C is gone or banned in some places. Praise the Lord, their miracle fruit trees - the ones that weren’t supposed to grow in the soil at Paul and Molly’s village home - are providing natural vitamins.
Paul’s mom is now recovering from COVID at the village home with Paul and Molly and their children, but her time in the hospital was a real trial.
“It’s a real pit,” Molly said of the hospital, “It’s not a place you’d want to be or want your family to be for sure.”
Another COVID patient lay less than 3 feet away. They were separated by a curtain, which did nothing to muffle his screams. He screamed all night, then died. Paul’s mom was up that entire night praying against the nightmare. “Get me out of here!” she pleaded with Paul.
Every day his mother was in the hospital, Paul’s brother, Xavier, donned a hazmat suit and stayed with her all night. That was after Xavier had worked all day at the sports outreach ministry camps he runs.
In Indian hospitals, there’s no one to help patients to the (shared) bathroom, get food to them or give medicine, so family members must bring food and medicine to the hospital and play the role of nurses.
Now that she’s recovering with Paul and Molly, she’s a constant reminder and encouragement in the Lord to their 23 children. “It may be 6 months to a year before she feels much better,” Molly writes, “That was true for Paul and me.”
Paul’s mother with an attendee of an outreach done by Paul’s church. (2018)
Grieving 40 people they care about.
Paul and Molly learn of more losses every day. “It is too hard to even wrap our minds around and overcome our own grief,” Molly laments.
Forty people they care about have passed away from COVID, including pastor friends, church members and Paul’s cousin, age 31 and mother of two.
Paul's cousin, mother of two, who lost the battle to COVID-19.
The pastors Paul meets with regularly to disciple and train via Zoom have also been hit hard.
Most have no income right now. Their families are hungry.
During Paul’s last session, when Paul saw their faces on the screen, he knew they were suffering deeply.
“The pastors in India are surrounded by heartache, many in depression and PTSD struggling themselves to make it. We want to do more, Lord! Help us help Your people!” Paul and Molly’s hearts cry.
Paul and Molly are praying for the resources to:
» Give $100 worth of basic food relief for 250 pastors, including those mentioned above. This would include some VBS kits for kids to access Biblical truths during these difficult times.
» Give $100 worth of basic needs and a VBS kit to the 200 most needy families in their church.
Most of the pastors Paul meets with regularly have no income right now. Their families are hungry.
Why are they choosing pastors and believers?
They cite Galatians 6:10,
“So then, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
If you have the opportunity, would you consider helping our partners provide relief and the Good News for the hurting in Jesus’ name?
The involvement of ITMI supporters in India has been deeply appreciated.
“Thank you for all you do for us In Touch family- God bless each of you. Thank you for reading, praying, loving us in this time in your own trials. Know that we pray for you. God is on the move here, you are a big part of that!”
“Right now our country is going through a great pain and grief, today we are fine but we do not know what holds for us tomorrow. We need your prayers more than ever before, please pray.
Once again we humbly want to thank you for being true brothers and sisters in the Lord and great partners in building His kingdom in this very needy part of the world. Please convey to all our prayer partners and friends how much we appreciate all prayers and support.”
Right now, an ITMI supporter has graciously promised to match all donations for India Relief and Evangelism up to $25,000!
That means right now, you can double the impact of your donation and help our partners reach more people with the hope of the Gospel and demonstrate the Lord’s love and concern for the suffering in India.
Your prayers and support have meant the world to ITMI and our partners. If you feel led to help, would you consider making a donation today so that your gift can be matched?
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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