Dear Carla,

On Tuesday we entered into our fourth lockdown as a country. As of today, that counts for 60 days in lockdown. When we had our first lockdown, it was for a span of 21 days, and we all speculated that 21 days made for a good number to form the habit of social distancing. What we didn’t account for was that it was to become a habit. The habit was a more difficult one than merely social distancing – we were to brace for social isolation.

We have now been in isolation for 2 months, and it has habituated us to cope in ways we would have never imagined. Some members of our church have isolated themselves from social media, and some others have refrained from any contact over phone or text. As a pastor’s family, we are having a hard time catching a pulse on a shifting and changing congregation and her needs. A member lost his dad this past week and could not even travel to his hometown to perform the final rites as a son. He was also having a hard time trying to answer phone calls, and he longed for the warmth of human presence. We had him over, grieved through his loss, laughed about silly things, and just tried to recover memories of being and belonging. Pushpa, who had recently come to faith in Christ, came over to my home just to receive a tight, warm hug. The need for each other is so palpable, and online services have become wearying on preacher and audience alike. In fact, it has become so wearying that some of them came to our home for a quasi-live service.

Aside from social isolation, several in our congregation are in transition. Venky and I are moving into our new home, about 6 miles away from our current location. It will be difficult for those members of our church in the current locality, but the move will be beneficial for those living on the side of our new home. A core family who used to live there is now preparing for a move into another city, having found a job there. Another core member is moving to another city to pursue higher studies. Some are looking for new homes in new locations, while others are still looking for new jobs. What would all this mean for Anugraha? We still don’t know, but the Lord has always called us to look at the new things with awe and wonder, and with renewed hope of something that he is doing in and for us.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Is. 43:19)

PRAYER POINTS:

  • Pray that we may grow through these trials and come forth more splendidly.
  • Pray that our love for each other may not grow cold and that we would be intentional in moving closer to each other.
  • Pray for jobs for those looking for them, and pray for finances for those who are struggling to make ends meet.
  • Pray for conversions of souls even as many are coming to our doorstep in this time of need.
  • Pray for the health and protection of the elderly and vulnerable in our midst.
  • Thank you for all the contributions towards the needs of the saints here. We are humbled and so grateful for your support and love for us in this way. 
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