Oakseed Ministries International in India:
Many of us have seen the dire situation that India is in with the coronavirus on the news.
What makes the situation so critical?
India's health care system has been underfunded for years. Their spending on healthcare was 1.28% of its GDP; by comparison, it was 17% in the US. There is one doctor per 1,456 people in India.
In smaller cities, towns, and rural areas, the situation is terrible. Hospitals have inadequate equipment and staff. In many parts of rural India, people must travel miles to get to any medical services. In urban slums density of the population makes it difficult for easily accessible healthcare in emergencies. Patients often have to share hospital beds, nose-caps for breathing oxygen, and other supplies.
The impact of unplanned lockdowns on migrant workers in the urban slums of the megacities has crippled families, businesses, and communities. India's strict lockdown measures, such as severing transport links, took a toll on the nation's estimated 100 million migrant workers, triggering an exodus from major cities where they worked in garment factories, building sites, and brick kilns. One of the Covid-19 migrants shared with Oakseed: 'Lockdown will make us beg for food again… We would be hungry a lot of the time. We ate once a day. The battle in the slums for food was intense.'
How is the church in India being affected in this crisis?
You may be aware that many large international ministries have had to pull out of India in the last few years. There is increasing persecution of Christians from the government and an incentive program to inform on neighbors who are practicing Christianity. Funding restrictions have made it difficult for Christian organizations to hold bank accounts or receive any foreign funding. Please be praying for the church in India to be steadfast and bold in their faith, despite growing persecution and threats.
We have also seen wonderful opportunities for Christians during this pandemic. Churches and ministries have been able to host events online or broadcast on radios in homes or in the slums. Ministries that have school-like programs for slum children have been able to minister to whole families during the lockdown, an answer to many years of prayer for such opportunities. There have also been opportunities to serve those in desperate need because there are no other options for food and necessities. When they come for survival needs, they are also blessed by the gospel.
How can we be praying for India, and are there things we can do to help?
The most important thing we can be doing is praying for India, the church in India, and recovery from the pandemic.
Oakseed supplies food ration (bare necessities) for slum dwellers' families who have lost their jobs for months together due to lockdown. We have a special fund set aside to help with emergency expenses like purchasing essential hygienic supplies, essential household goods. We are also providing necessary medical supplies as needed for the sick and impacted. Any amount will make a significant difference in the lives of a slum family. $20 will cover the food ration for one slum family for a month. If God is leading you to give, please know that these gifts will not only meet urgent physical needs, but they will given in the name of Jesus. They will allow our Ministry Partners on the frontlines of these slums every day to bless those they work with and develop lasting relationships that will give opportunities to show God's love to those in desperate need of his love and hope!
If you have questions, please visit Oakseed.org.