Saturday, March 6, 2021

 Walking with God through the Covid Crisis

When things locked down in Kenya a year ago, Tabitha Ministry stopped our Bible study group meetings. We didn't know when we would be able to resume them, or how many leaders we might lose to the pandemic.  We didn't know if many of our members who rely on local markets for purchases and business would be able to feed their families.  With churches closed, where would the fellowship happen? 

Our top leaders meeting in January

God worked in ways we could not have imagined.  We heard testimonies from our leaders when we resumed meeting in October.

Families: With schools closed and curfews in place, men, women and children spent much more time together.  Parents reported getting to know their children better than they ever had.  Christian parents had special times of devotions and teaching with their children.  Some marriages were strengthened.  One of our top leaders saw a significant movement towards Christ and becoming a responsible provider in her husband and is still rejoicing in this change.

Church Growth:  A hospital employee at the Kapsoiyo local church had been using our "Walking with God through Crises" Bible study guide with his family.  He urged his pastor to obtain copies for the church.  The pastor did so, and divided the congregation into 11 areas.  For each area, he chose four laypeople to lead, and gave them a copy of the guide in Kipsigis.  Each Sunday during the lock-down, these layleaders visited two families each, using these studies to share God's Word, and worshiping together.  The church members grew in faith and fellowship, and at least two men came to Christ through these visits.  Praise the Lord!  In many other areas, our Tabitha leaders were chosen to lead house fellowship groups during the lock-down.

We were very concerned about Marta, one of our older leaders, and urged her to stay at home during the pandemic.  She did, but could not turn away the children in her neighborhood who were home from school.  Each day she welcomed them and taught them the Word of God.  They began asking her to teach their parents, too.  Today, there is a Sunday School and preaching point in her neighborhood because of her faithfulness and God's work in her neighbors' hearts during COVID.  Praise the Lord!
Marta and her husband

Economic help:  Hannah, one of our Tabitha leaders, was already making soap and selling it in the market when COVID hit.  So we carefully invited six leaders at a time to come learn the skill, and then they taught their leaders under them.  Many of them were helped to produce the soap needed for cleanliness at home during the COVID time.  Some were able to keep making it and still have a thriving business.  Sarah, one of our leaders, testified that the income from selling soap is now paying for her childrens' school fees.  Praise the Lord!

Hannah teaching soap making

We also thank God, that just as lock downs began last year, fields were getting ready to harvest.  God provided a good harvest that helped the rural families.  The government allowed trucking to continue, so the rural areas were able to continue providing produce for the cities. 

Health: COVID-19 did arrive in our side of the country and in our county eventually, around August.  But the numbers of cases were much fewer than anticipated, and the number of severe illnesses were limited.  Churches and markets are now open, with spacing and mask-wearing, and our study groups have been meeting since October.  We thank God that vaccines arrived in Kenya this week, and we hope for God's continued containment of the illness.