Updated information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on India, ServeTrust and Leena and her family.
On Friday, July 17, Leena’s town of Narasaraopet went back into complete lockdown. There is no stated end, although media reports estimate that it will last a week to 10 days. The lockdown means that only necessary business can be transacted in the early mornings. Leena and her team had been anticipating this announcement as the number of new cases had risen rapidly in the previous 10 days. They worked very hard to get monthly food supplies to villages and children to last them through the lockdown. In my last conversation with Leena on the 17th, she sounded very weary and exhausted.
When I asked Leena what we should tell her friends, she said, “Tell them I don’t like lockdown!” It keeps her from the people, creates too much joblessness and hunger, and causes loss. During the first lockdown, 7 of the 26 lambs that ServeTrust was raising for investment died because feed supplies were limited.
And in her typical enthusiastic way, she told us that “our gracious father has shown us his amazing grace.”. She is so thankful that God has protected everyone that is associated with ServeTrust. No family member, staff member, teacher, child, villager, pastor, etc has contracted coronavirus that she is aware of. She is so thankful to all of you for your prayers.
In the weeks between the lockdowns, Leena and her niece Aashika spent their days out among the people checking on them and providing hunger relief. Photos attached show teenagers in the after school program in Vijayawada in a socially distanced line to receive food, Aashika giving bananas to the children lined up in the Temple village, and a pastor giving a mask to a church member.
Leena’s 21 year old niece Aashika is taking a much more active role in the ministry. She is working as Leena’s assistant during this summer, learning on the job. She is helping to distribute food, ministering to people, and helping Leena with technology needs. Please pray for Aashika that she will discern God’s call on her within ServeTrust. At the same time, Aashika is completing her university classes so that she can take exams and graduate. She goes out with Leena during the day and returns at night to her studies, staying up until the wee hours of the morning.
Recently Leena has been very concerned for Aashika and for Jagan, Leena’s brother-in-law, both who have been suffering occasional fevers, cold symptoms and body aches. She asks for prayers for both. They do not suspect coronavirus. Most recently she reported that they are doing better, but are often working when they don’t feel well. A likely contributing factor is the intense Indian heat during this time of year.
And finally, Leena asks for prayers for one of her long time pastors, Subbarao and his wife, both who are suffering from heart difficulties. He has been the pastor of ServeTrust’s largest church, Eeti Baptist Church for 23 years. He is shown in the attached photo screening a church member for a fever.
We thank you greatly for your continued financial support in these unprecedented times and for your prayers which give Leena such comfort and energy.