Covid-19 lockdown measures affect everyone in South Africa but for foreigners and refugees without citizenship life under lockdown has become a desperate struggle for survival as they are not permitted to receive social grants or food from the government.
Macedonian Ministries in Pietermaritzburg has responded to the plight of 47 familes from French-speaking Central Africa who make up the congregation of Smirna Church in the inner city, by providing them with food and essential provisions throughout the lockdown period.
And the grateful founder of Smirna Church, Pastor Maisha Mongali, has displayed ingenuity in overcoming some of the challenges of ministering under lockdown.
Using WhatsApp for communication he distributed free data to members and held services online. When permitted, he carried out home visitations to pray with families and share God’s Word. Currently Smirna Church are meeting together again with necessary precautions in place.
“We appreciate good Samaritans. God is good all the time and we praise Him for the generosity we have experienced,” says Pastor Maisha in response to the vital support his congregation receive from Macedonian Ministries. “Pastor Trevor [Trevor Eayrs, founder of the evangelism, church planting, leadership training and humanitarian ministry] is a kind man of God – he refuses to just sit around when people are going to die without food.”
Pastor Maisha says he has seen many testimonies of God’s goodness in this time, such as when he witnessed his next-door neighbours earnestly give their lives to Christ after experiencing the love of God through a gift of food parcels.
“They didn’t know where their help would come from. I prayed with them, shared the Gospel and all of them committed their lives to Christ. You can’t believe it! It was wonderful,” says Ps Maisha.
“These are uncertain times, yet many people have learnt how to depend on God,” he says. “People fear the virus more than sin. While the coronavirus can physically kill you, sin will kill your inner life. Anything can happen to the church – we should be ready at any time.”
Macedonian Ministries (www.macministries.co.za) is a registered public benefit organisation which relies on the generosity of the public to enable it to reach out with the Gospel and to people in dire need.
“The generosity of South Africans allows many faith-filled testimonies to abound where there was previously no hope for miracles,” says Macedonia’s Pastor Trevor.