Jacob called Monday of this last week saying that they are all doing well, but the lockdown continues through May 17 and could be extended as Covid-19 cases are increasing in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu, and Marayoor is close to the border.
People still can go out of their homes, and group limits have been increased from 5 to 10. Little children are getting long hair because few people are getting haircuts.
Paulson is one of the pastors at the church in Marayoor, and he has a regular practice of walking to the church to pray each morning. Throughout this lockdown, he has continued to do this. But recently, the government sent a number of new police to the town of Marayoor. Several of them saw Paulson walking, so they stopped to ask him where he was going. He told them that he was walking to the church to pray as he does each morning and that he needs this for his physical health as well. So the police told him to hop in their vehicle and let them take him to the church. But to his dismay, they took him to the police station. They showed him two cells and made it clear that if he continues to go to the church, he will be placed in one of them!
When the chief police saw Paulson, he said, “What are you doing here, Pastor?” The chief police knows Jacob and the church pastors very well. Paulson told him that the police officers brought him in for walking to church. At this the chief police took charge making it clear that he could continue to walk to the church to pray. Paulson was very grateful for this!
The 8 boys from the Tribal area are still living in the church, and Jacob is using this time to teach them so that they can go back to their people and teach them about God. They get up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning for Bible study and several hours of reading each day. They read out loud to help them continue to learn to read more fluently as they have only recently learned to read at the schools that we have been supporting in the Tribal area. They are being taught to pray.
The boys are concerned about how their people are doing in the Tribal area as they have heard nothing since they have come out to Marayoor. They are not allowed to travel back given the lockdown.
Local and Tribal families are needing food. Many families have bought so much food on credit from the local store owners that the stores are not willing to lend to them anymore. Because of this, some families are desperately needing rice.
While Jacob can’t travel to the Tribal area, he could arrange for John and Suresh, who live in Tamil Nadu, to take rice back to the Tribal area and check in on some of the groups. Of course, Jacob and Paulson could distribute food to needy families in the Marayoor area.
To help with this need, we are suggesting that we give money for 1000 pounds of rice with vegetables for needy families that Jacob and the church can reach out to. At $25 per family, $1000 would support 40 families for 2 weeks which is about the duration of the lockdown.
If any of you would like help with this support, please contact one of the India board, Monroe, Kenneth, or Jonathan with your pledged amount so that we can get word to Jacob to begin purchase and distribution of food to families in need. We will need to know as soon as possible so that Jacob can begin to organize relief for these families.
Blessings to all of you!
The India Board