In every country in which we are working, our teams have to deal with the constantly changing reality of pandemic restrictions and supply issues. Fortunately, we have had some practice at this. Back to Jerusalem is used to working in volatile regions, where we always have to be ready to quickly change our plans. However, this situation also poses some completely new challenges. We would just like to give you a quick overview of a few of our projects and ask you to continue to pray.
Due to lockdown measures and travel restrictions, our students in the training school were not able to continue the practical part of their training. However, they are also unable to continue to the mission field, or go back home. For now, they are stuck in their training location and trying to make the most of their time there. Part of their training is learning English. Their usual teachers cannot be there because of travel restrictions. However, they are receiving online English lessons from Europe. They also receive spiritual input and encouragement from Chinese pastors through online church services.
Many of the Chinese factories are back in business, which means the delayed production of several electronic Bible devices has resumed. At the moment, we are producing 1000 audio Bibles for people groups in South Asia which have low literacy levels. Please pray the process will go smoothly and the units will be safely delivered in the months to come.
The production of Bible materials in Iran is still halted, because the country is still mostly in lockdown. As measures begining to be lifted, we hope to resume in the next couple of weeks.
Our businesses in North Korea have taken a hit from the very strict border lockdown the country enforced, early in the epidemic. They cannot be supplied with new merchandise and have struggled to remain open. North Korea still denies there are confirmed Corona cases, but a refugee recently tested positive immediately after arriving in China. No one knows how widespread Corona is in North Korea, but we know the medical system is not developed enough to deal with a serious outbreak. China has offered medical help to North Korea, as a serious health crisis could lead to political instability, which is what China wants to avoid. Also, the volume of illegal trade will mean that an outbreak in North Korea can easily jump back into China.
Because many countries are realising the dangers of depending too much on China for vital supplies, our factories in Vietnam have many new business opportunities. There are more orders from Europe and the US. That means more people working in the factories and more opportunities to share the gospel. This also generates income, which is used to build new business platforms in the country.
Very slowly restrictions in Iraq are being lifted, meaning we can re-start some of our projects. We were unable to get salaries to refugee women, because people had to stay indoors. But now, this work has resumed. Food related projects had continued, even though they were badly affected by recent floods. Soon we hope to open up our stores as well.
Getting funding to the right countries is a challenge at the moment — partly because of Corona related restrictions, but also because banks are becoming stricter. Many of the countries we send money to, raise red flags. Please pray that we will find new ways to continue to provide our people on the field with what they need!