You hear us regularly pray for a particular school and ministry in India that is overseen by Helena, a long time ministry partner. That ministry is New Life Center in Dehradun, in the very northern part of India.
As the coronavirus trial impacts lots of places in the world, India is no exception. New Life Center is feeling the effects of this trial. In particular, they are facing financial pressures.
Below is a message from Helena explaining how Covid19 has impacted their ministry and the needs that it has caused.
- We want to encourage you to take a few minutes to read her message.
- Please pray for the children and staff of this ministry in India.
- If you want to give financially to help with their needs during this time:
- Go to Gateway's giving page.
- Click "give now."
- On that screen select "Add another account" and choose "India Child Sponsorship."
- Gifts can be one time or recurring.
- 100% of what is given under that category goes directly to the New Life Center in India.
Here is Helena's message to us:
Greetings to you all in this lock down period!!!
I believe that what we are facing here in India, will be the same there at your end too.....fighting COVID-19. The one global war that we all are fighting. At the same time when we read God's word, we Christians have the assurance that our God is mightier than the corona-virus. The battle belongs to Him. All we have to do is trust in Him and let Him take over our fears and anxieties. We are regularly praying for you all as we do for our own people here in the country.
Our Church members have made small whatsapp groups in which they continue to pray and keep connected. We do online service through Zoom. So far by God's grace no one from our church, projects or schools have reported to be infected by the virus. Praise God for that !!! Constantly we have been connecting with them to make sure that they are doing well.
As I mentioned in my previous report, we had to close down the schools, hostel and office for an indefinite period. Since last week we have started online studies with the students. This is a big challenge as many families don't even have whatsapp, leave alone internet. But we are trying to reach as many children as possible through phone to keep them connected with their studies. Since we do not have a website system, it does get a little more challenging for the teachers to use their personal numbers. Surprisingly the teachers and students are finding it very interesting to teach and learn through this online system.
Right now on the campus we are 25 of us .....11 children and the rest residential staff and their families. All are safe and protected. So in these days we do a lot of cleaning up in the campus, gardening, prayer walks within the campus, indoor games, watch movies in small groups, cook food.....Its kind of fun to see all of us somehow getting busy, in these lock down days.
At This time I want to say that I am so thankful to the Lord for this beautiful campus. Why I say this is because there are thousands of people who are living with their families in one room apartment, cannot get out of their homes in these days. Just getting frustrated and annoyed and angry. But here we are in this open campus, doing something to keep ourselves busy and happy. Praise God for His great Blessing.
In spite of all these blessings that we receive from our Lord daily, we do have some serious challenges that we are facing these days. I would like to mention these as SOS issues.
- As you all know that for the last few years we have been working on our schools to be self sufficient. Therefore most of the school salaries is being paid by the school fees. The same with the hostel children the support money not being enough, the children pay a small fee for the hostel.
So now we are facing the issue that the government has asked us not to take fees from the parents as many of them are without jobs these days. Many of the parents are daily wage laborers, depending on monthly salaries, and because of that they pay the fees monthly. So that in turn helps us to pay the salaries monthly. At the same time, the government has also ordered us to pay our employees immediately otherwise a case will be filed against the institution. Now at this crisis situation, where we cannot take fees, we are unable to pay our staff. We have not paid the staff since the month of March.
We are in a desperate state right now. Since this situation may be there till the month of June, we would like to at least give our staff and employees two months salary. Otherwise they will find it very difficult to feed their families. Many of them are the only bread earners in their family.
So far we have not got any financial help for the schools from any of our donors. We are in a crisis and we desperately need your help and support. 70% of the salaries we were raising from the schools, and 30% of the salaries was being raised from generous donors like you. This is both for the staff and pastors.
We urgently need to pay monthly salary to all our employees for the month of March and April. Salary for one month comes to US$15600 so for two months it is US$31200.
- The Indian Government or the FCRA department has sent all NGOs like us notice, stating that due to the COVID-19, we all have to contribute some kind of help to the community. Either in the medical field or in feeding the deprived community. Since this is like a forced relief project, NLC too has to do something.
We therefore discussed within our board. We decided that, since in Dehradun, there are already many NGOs distributing food and groceries to the slum areas, we will distribute groceries to the families in the remote mountain areas, where our two schools are situated (Lehman Memorial and Hope Academy). So far no help has been given or sent to those people living in those remote areas. Since the lock down, there is a great shortage for the essential supplies in this area.
Seeing the financial crisis that we already are in due to the salaries, this is an added burden financially. But nonetheless, locally we raised some money to help at-least 250 families. We distributed dry grocery (i.e. Rice 5kg, wheat flour 5kg, lentils 2kg, sugar 2kg, cooking oil 1ltr, one small packet each of three basic spices and one packet salt). This will probably last them for 15 days only.
The government requires us to do the same for at-least three months. We will not be able to raise this amount of money every time from the local people here.
For three months to help 250 families it is approximately coming to US$22 per month per family (per month US$ 5,500). We need this help too SOS. Every month we have to give a report to the government with the details. Also this distribution is done with the permission from the local government authorities and in the presence of their representatives. As I am writing this mail, the distribution is going on in both the school campuses in Hope Academy Damatoli and Lehman Memorial School Chowra.
We have never been in a more critical situation as this. Every time we need help we have approached you all, very generously you and the church have helped us. We are so grateful to you and thank the Lord for donors like you. You have always been by our side in prayer and encouraging us through thick and thin. I know that the Lord will open doors for His people during this crisis too. The Lord is watching over our sleepless nights seeing our tears. He will not fail us.With much prayers and tears of hope.