by Renee Gillespie, Marketing + Communications Specialist and Sevanand, a Frontier Fellowship partner in South Asia
The devastation of COVID-19 has left no community unaffected, from the mountain villages of Afghanistan to the loft apartments of New York City. All of our global partners have been forced to pivot in some way, shape or form. They each expressed to us the unique challenges they faced as a result of the pandemic—food shortages, lack of government assistance and more. Recently, one of our South Asia partners, Sevanand, gave an update to members of ECO, a Presbyterian denomination, in which he shared his experience throughout the past year.
South Asia—which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka—holds an immense amount of people in an extremely condensed area. This region faced some very specific obstacles in tackling COVID-19: insufficient infrastructure, poor and limited health care services, restricted travel even within individual nations, and lack of reliable internet service isolating millions of people. Even without a pandemic, South Asia struggles with many of these things, providing an uphill battle to care for the marginalized.
Sevanand and his team were forced to pivot, like we all were. He decided to focus on the strengths of his country and let them be the catalyst to overcome its weaknesses.
“When the pandemic hit, we were thinking: what do we do next? But the Lord began to prompt us to think about our opportunities. Every challenge brings opportunities. South Asia, despite its many challenges, has many opportunities, too.”
Sevanand gathered his team and together they met with local leaders via WhatsApp and Zoom. They formulated a plan and developed an online strategy. As a result, new church planters were mobilized and equipped to establish new churches in their communities. Businesses were started and flourished. Sevanand noted that creativity was required. The existence of local networks helped them to stay nimble, and his ministry distributed masks and relief funds. Leaning into their locally-led networks, they were empowered to bring hope and encouragement to their neighbors. Through the forming of new relationships and Disciple Making Movements, more than 15 thousand people came to faith in Christ through Sevanand’s ministry last year.
Despite the difficulties of this global pandemic, God is at work! We are thankful to see His work up-close through our global partners, and we know that this is just one story of His faithfulness.
To learn more about how you can come alongside Sevanand and other Frontier Fellowship partners as they provide relief and support to their communities during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Response page.