Good news in the midst of it all!
July 3, 2020
Hello from the Andes Mountains!
As of July 1, the quarantine has been lifted here in Peru except for a few areas that are still suffering high numbers of Covid infected persons. We are a little surprised at the lift because of the continued rise in numbers in our area. One hospital has “collapsed” from the overload. The regional government and health officials for our area have asked the president of the country to continue the quarantine but it appears to have been denied. The country is still under a “state of emergency”, meaning that no one can be out between 10pm and 4am each day unless they have a work permit. There are still rules in place as we are in phase three of opening up. Restaurants can now have up to 40% capacity while malls can have up to 50%. We have been told that domestic air flights and bus travel will return on July 15. There are still no civic, sports, or religious gatherings allowed. We are expecting the numbers to continue to rise because of relaxing the regulations. We know that the US and other areas are going through the same. We are just taking precautions and praying.
Staying busy, the Lord has opened the door for me to be the “on-line guest speaker” for our home church a couple of times and I have also preached for our Peruvian churches through the internet. Carla recently taught a kids’ class online for both of our Peruvian churches. As any pastor will tell you, it is not the same as being in the church building with a congregation in the pews, but it is great to be able to continue to preach and teach the Word.
Now for some great news! God has been using this time to fortify families! We have heard from people in our church who, for the first time ever, have started daily family Bible studies in their homes. This is a direct result of them being confined with extra time on their hands. What a blessing to hear that they are “redeeming the time”. We are having good attendance of our on-line services. PTL, our Cajamarca pastor was able to lead a man to the Lord recently, during the quarantine!
Even though the quarantine has been lifted, there are many who continue to suffer from being unable to work and provide for their families. We continue to deliver food to help with their need. Also, another unique door has opened to us. Before the quarantine, many Venezuelans migrated to Peru because of the terrible political climate and problems in their country. Many worked in the streets here washing car windshields, selling bottled water or candy, and doing any odd jobs they could find. When the quarantine was proclaimed, many were immediately out of work and had nowhere to go for help since they are not citizens. We have found several families sitting along the street with home-made white flags to let people know that they are in need. Carla and I drive the streets and drop off bags of food for them. Along with the food, we are giving them New Testaments, tracts, and little evangelistic booklets for their children to read and color. We have also had some people knock on our door asking for food, which we are happy to provide. God has blessed as some of our faithful supporters have sent funds to help us purchase these essentials. The need continues. If the Lord puts it on your heart to help with our FOOD PANTRY ministry, please send your gift to our support agency at Central Missionary Clearinghouse and let us know so we can plan accordingly.
Even more great news! Just yesterday we were able to receive our shipment that has been in storage for around two months. Victory Baptist Press in Florida and Beacon of Truth Baptist Ministries in S. Carolina joined together to send us almost 8000 Bibles and just under a half million Romans booklets for our distribution ministry. The container arrived in Peru right after the quarantine started and was then trucked to a storage facility here in Cajamarca. The trucking company finally received approval to make the delivery. We had a great group of twenty-five church members, plus two other friends who showed up to help unload. It took a little over two and a half hours before we had it all placed in the distribution storage building here on-site. We are hoping to be able to start distribution soon as they open the bus stations for shipping within Peru. We continue to get requests weekly.
Thank you all for your faithfulness to this ministry. May God richly bless each of you,
Don & Carla Rich
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