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Gifts to MTW’s Compassion Fund Helped Communities Around the Globe During COVID-19

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Dec 29, 2020

Generous gifts to the MTW Compassion Fund in 2020 have fed needy families in rural Asia. Not only that, they have paved the road for the gospel.

Deep in the remote hills of South Asia, MTW missionaries have partnered with the local Presbyterian denomination for more than a decade: planting churches and training local Christian leaders with solid, Reformed theology. ­The roads are rough, poverty is rampant, and some areas still lack electricity. Many live a hand to mouth existence—buying food with the money they earn each day.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the country quickly went on lockdown. With workers unable to leave their homes or transport goods to market, incomes dried up. And without income, many soon ran out of food. “Everybody was really worried,” says AS,* a local pastor and leader in the Presbyterian denomination. “They thought: ‘What will we eat? What will we do?’”

Worried for their churches and the surrounding communities, AS and his fellow pastors began to pray. ­Then they reached out to their MTW missionary partners, including Michael Chabon.*

“What happened to the world economy had a significant effect in Asia, and this was a poor church to begin with,” Michael explains. “This spring, AS reached out to ask: ‘Can MTW help out with any kind of relief?’ Through the Compassion Fund, God provided about $9,000.”

Thanks to generous gifts, AS and other leaders were able to distribute one month’s supply of rice, lentils, salt, and other basic food items to 561 families in strategic locations.

“MTW’s response was exceptional—far beyond our expectations,” AS says. “Church members were so encouraged—they don’t even have the words to express their thanks to Mission to the World and to our God … Now they know that even in difficulties, even in disaster, the almighty God is with us. He is able to provide.”

While most of those who received food relief were members of local church plants, leadership also distributed packages to suffering Muslim and Hindu communities where evangelists have been ministering for years.

“Now they say: ‘Our Christian brothers and sisters are the ones taking care of us, giving during our desperate time of need,’” says local pastor RK.* “When they saw how Christians were taking care of them and each other, the Lord revealed His special way of grace.”

For RK and other local pastors, this is just one more step in a nearly a decade of faithful ministry in a tough community that is only just recently beginning to bear fruit. For years, evangelists and church planters were met with only hostility or indifference. Now there are two churches in the area, and growing inroads of trust with Muslim and Hindu neighbors. In late September, 143 people were baptized.

“God is really at work in their hearts,” RK says.

This is just one story of many in a difficult but truly remarkable year. For many MTW missionaries serving across the emerging world, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have not only disrupted their ministries, they have threatened the lives and livelihoods of their most vulnerable neighbors.

In 17 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, MTW missionaries requested and received money from the Compassion Fund to feed those most severely impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns.­ These efforts—made possible by generous donors—have helped families and demonstrated the love of Christ to those in need. Praise God!

And yet, vulnerable populations around the world remain at risk. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc, MTW missionaries and their local church partners will continue to care for their neighbors’ physical needs and to share the gospel of hope in a time of great hopelessness.

Every year the Compassion Fund gives help where help is needed most around the world. Generous gifts enable our missionaries and national partners to quickly respond to urgent situations in their communities, meeting physical needs, sharing the love of Christ, and establishing a foothold for gospel ministry.

As 2020 draws to a close and you consider your year-end giving would you join us in our efforts to serve the most vulnerable and share the love of Christ by giving to the MTW Compassion Fund?

*Names have been changed.

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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