The INs and OUTs of Quarantine!
March 1, 2021
In our last prayer letter, we were glad to announce that as of November our churches were able to have in-person services. This was after eight months of just virtual services because of the strict quarantine measures here in Peru. We enjoyed a great time of careful fellowship as we followed the protocols that had been put in place. This included limited capacity, spaced seating, masks, hand sanitizer, temperatures taken at the door, and a pan of bleach water to step in, then wipe our feet before entering the sanctuary.
Sadly, on Sunday January 31, the country went back into quarantine. This time each area of Peru was individually evaluated and placed in different levels of concern. Our area here in Cajamarca was placed in the “Very High” category which is the third highest of four levels. Churches and all public gatherings were shut down once again. We were not allowed to drive our personal vehicle on Saturday or Sunday. A mandatory curfew of 8pm was in place.
But praise the Lord, after one month the government once again reviewed the situation and our area has been downgraded one level to “High”. We will once again be allowed to have church services March 1-14th with 30% capacity. Time will tell what will happen after that. They are now re-evaluating every two weeks.
Our Guadalupe church was in the “High” category and still able to have services during the first two-week period. Then the government extended the quarantine for two more weeks and our Guadalupe church area was moved to “Very High”, causing the church doors to close once again and services to go back to virtual. We remain in constant contact with our national pastor there and they are doing well. PTL, they have also been downgraded for the coming two-week period and can start in-person services again.
We know that the entire world is experiencing similar problems and don’t want this to read like complaining. As frustrating as it is, we know that God is in control. We just want to keep everyone up to date with what is going on here so you will know how to pray. That is why we call it a “prayer letter”. 🙂
After waiting and watching, we are planning a short furlough beginning in May. To limit exposure to the virus we are only contacting those supporting churches we were unable to visit on our last furlough in 2018. The three-month window we were able to carve out will be our shortest furlough to date, but we need this time for Carla to visit a specialist. As we explained in our last letter, we have had conflicting diagnosis’s as to whether she has lupus. We want to get a definitive answer while we are in and start treatment if necessary. Your prayers are appreciated. We are required to have a negative Covid test before flying and will be self-quarantining when we arrive.
Our Food Distribution Ministry continues but on a much smaller scale. Praise the Lord, many people are now back at work in our area since the quarantine has been adjusted to allow businesses to open with restrictions.
The Bible & Tract Distribution ministry has once again been stalled. With the new restrictions bus stations closed again, and distribution has stopped except for the local pastors who can come to our location and pick up what they need. However, we have received the blessing of pictures from pastors who received Bibles and materials before the recent quarantine measures. They have been busy distributing them. The Word is still going out.
We are so blessed to be able to end this letter on a high note. Since our last prayer letter SIX MORE SOULS have been SAVED in our churches! Some are studying discipleship classes with our pastors. Two young ladies in our Cajamarca church are anxiously waiting for the church to re-open so they can be baptized! Through it all, God is good, faithful, and merciful!
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support of what God is doing here in Peru and around S. America.
Don & Carla Rich
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