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Differing COVID-19 Realities but Unity in a Call to Love Others

Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

COVID-19 is now fully etched into our collective life experience as if it were a major natural disaster or a war that we have all lived through in some way shape or form. It has created the same emotions of grief and loss. It changed the way we live, both for a moment and perhaps for a lifetime. 

No matter where you sit on the spectrum during this pandemic, you’re probably in some kind of ‘survival mode’… homeschooling, working from the kitchen table, staying in touch with people through Zoom. For those in this delicate work-life balance…I feel ya.

This ‘new normal’ in the U.S. is sort of kitschy and cool. We’re able to have virtual meetings/hang outs and be connected with others who were once distant because they weren’t geographically close. We’re able to enjoy the outdoors more and spend more time with family.

The ‘benefits’ of COVID-19 aren’t so wide spanning to everysector of the global populace. In the developing world where Join the Journey has a number of partnerships, people are stuck in a dire choice: feed their families and or remain in place as a precautionary measure. There is no stock of food or stimulus check. Life has to continue on as ‘normal’ because they have no other choice.

Facing a pandemic in a first world country is difficult no doubt but the changes we’ve had to make can be seen as changes to convenience – we long for the days we can go back to restaurants and entertainment.

As a leader of a non-profit whose mission is to help the most impoverished, I often compare my life to the life of the people we empower. My lights work. My Internet works. I have a full meal with chicken, vegetables, and rice. These are luxuries that so many of our friends around the world don’t have.

In this time of COVID-19, I’ve been thinking of that difference even more. How does my own uncertainty and fear compare to theirs…where health care is so fragile that contracting COVID-19 would lead to certain death?

In 2010 I went to Haiti and walked in the tents of those who survived the earthquake. That image of families crowded together in a space no bigger than a bathroom remains with me. Many still live like that – and many are isolating like that right now.

Those who know me personally can attest to my need to act. I can’t simply do nothing, knowing our friends in these hardest-hit places are struggling. I have dedicated my life to serving my country and helping the poor. I’ll be honest with you, it’s a tough duality – being blessed with riches and yet having witnessed first-hand just how much they struggle.

In the countries and communities we serve at Join the Journey, food and supplies are already scarce. Hospitals are often under-equipped and usually understaffed. In these areas, where social distancing and hand hygiene are unachievable targets, this pandemic has been no different, it has only added more pressure. This being said, our main concern for the people we help is economic, now more than ever.

With our micro-loans, we have been able to help so many people already. Florence Massoma, from Great Soppo, Cameroon, has been able to boost her smoked fish business at the local market. This gives her independence and allows her to take care of her 4 children, putting food on the table and shoes on their feet.

In the same village we were also able to help Atam Nicoline, a seamstress. She needed a loan to continue her dressmaking business. Through the generous donations of our U.S. community, we were able to grant her request and she is in business. She’s doing great and we look forward to seeing the fruits of that business continue to pay off for her.

Earlier this year, we were blessed with enough funding to help Ana Mae, from Dahug, Philippines, she has been able to feed her family and send her children to school. However, she’s now in a government-enforced shelter in place status in the Philippines. We are praying for that country’s recovery and for street markets to be able to resume again.

There are many like Ana Mae in true lockdown in this time. Cases in Haiti, Peru, Cameroon, and the Philippines continue to increase and people are struggling to find food and supplies for their daily tasks. Many are unable to work and need our assistance to continue eating and living.

We’re actively helping the people in these communities, and have been able to provide simple supplies such as masks and deliver food where to those most in need.

At Join the Journey, we are passionate about our mission and the work we are called upon to do. With our micro-loans, we’ll continue to change lives and empower people like Ana Mae, Atum, and Florence, and help others in vulnerable places throughout Sub-Saharan African and the Caribbean.

A lot of people among the poorest households, includingothers suddenly distressed by this pandemic, will need our continued support to survive these trying times. Our goal is to protect the people we’ve helped and their family members, so they come out on the other side of this pandemic stronger and ready to continue their lives. But at present, without an income, they are unable to survive. They need our help and they need it now.

God has protected and guided Join the Journey in countless ways, and we can fully trust He is with us now in our efforts to continue to help those in need.

Please join us as we continue to provide for these communities, by donating and lending. We welcome your prayers for safety, courage, and God’s continued guidance to do the right thing in these tough times.

STAY HOME. SAVE LIVES.

STAY home as much as you can

KEEP a safe distance

WASH hands often

COVER your cough

SICK? Call ahead

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