Loja church supports struggling members during COVID-19
By Anthony Guarnizo and Adriana Abendano | Ecuador in Amérique du sud
Iglesia Cristiana Salvos por Gracia, a church in Loja, Ecuador, that works closely with SIM, has been supporting struggling members during the COVID-19 crisis. Financial aid through SIM allowed the church to extend more resources to families. Anthony, the pastor, and his wife, Adriana, recount how they began outreach to the church body.
Since the isolation stage of the pandemic, our church has felt the need to accompany brothers and sisters in Christ who are more vulnerable because of poor health and unemployment.
We made a list of the neediest people. Despite the limited financial resources of our congregation, families began to make food baskets to deliver to those on the list.
After receiving a basket, one of church member said: “Thank you for your love, generosity and fidelity to God. May God pay you for the provisions that you generously leave in my house.
“In this quarantine and confinement, I have realised that once again our God is great and powerful. He is immensely great and powerful.”
From week to week, needs increased, and more families were unable to pay rent and other expenses. We trusted God would work in an extraordinary way, but we did not know what he was going to do.
One day, we received a message from SIM, which greatly encouraged us. They reminded us that the mission is praying for us and wanted to help support brothers and sisters with urgent needs. This was the Lord's answer to our prayers!
Through the financial aid we received from SIM, we were able to make more baskets full of groceries, personal care supplies and medicine for six families in our church.
Henry and his family received one of the care packages. Henry has been a member of our congregation since we started the ministry. He has not had a permanent job for the last two years. His wife works as a teacher and her salary has been their only source of income to provide for their two children. Sadly, in this crisis, the school has not been paying her on time.
Five months ago, Henry suffered an accident and damaged his heel. He has been bed-ridden for three months and unable to walk.
The quarantine in Loja prevented Henry from starting rehabilitation therapy. This caused pain in his leg to come back. He also suffered further emotional pain through a sense of helplessness since he couldn’t provide for his family.
As his church family, we stepped in when we saw him hurting. We have been able to support him and his family spiritually and emotionally during these challenges.
Henry said: “I want to express my gratitude: First, to God for his blessing, then to Anthony and Adriana, servants of God, and to the SIM mission, for the provision that came to our house today.
“Those of us who love God need to be thankful and have a constant grateful attitude because we know that we have received much more than we deserve. We are free and saved through Jesus Christ and that is the greatest gift that God has given us.
“Thank you, Iglesia Salvos por Gracia, once again, for being present in my operation, recovery, quarantine, anguish, etc. My family and I are very grateful for this selfless work by the church. May God continue to glorify himself greatly in their lives.”
Partner with SIM to help the vulnerable
SIM works together with local churches like this one and is intent to help vulnerable brothers and sisters in Christ during the COVID-19 crisis. Read about SIM’s COVID-19 Immediate Response project and our other ministries who are striving to share Christ’s love and alleviate the challenges of the coronavirus.
May all experience God’s presence and provision in times of trouble through the body of Christ. Pray with us for:
• Iglesia Cristiana Salvos por Gracia as they care for those affected by the pandemic. May their kindness and ministry point many to deeper faith in the Lord’s promises.
• Henry to recover, his wife to receive pay on time, and his family to continue relying on Christ through this tumultuous time.
• Anthony and Adriana to effectively and compassionately shepherd Iglesia Cristiana Salvos por Gracia.