In the United States, some may feel like the pandemic is finally winding down. But in other parts of the world, that is not the case. In the face of the physical and economic hardships caused by the pandemic, church communities around the world are being the hands and feet of Christ. Mennonite churches in Iquitos, Peru, and throughout Colombia recently received grants to help with their ministries.
In Iquitos, Peru, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita del Perú (Mennonite Christian Church of Peru) is providing basic food supplies to families who have been unable to work during the pandemic, due to the stall in Peru's informal jobs economy. In addition, the church is providing financial aid to those trying to restart their small businesses. Pastor David Moreno wrote, "Most of the members of our faith community have informal jobs, such as working in food sales, door-to-door sales, mechanical workshops, cell phone repair, music classes, small neighborhood stores, etc." He said that most of these businesses were unsustainable during the pandemic and will need financial support to restart.
In Colombia, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL-Mennonite Christian Church of Columbia) is doing many of the same things — funding small businesses, as well as providing basic food supplies. In addition, the church is helping some families purchase medication, as well as providing rent assistance for others.
The funds for both of these ministries were provided through Mennonite Mission Network's emergency fund, in response to proposals written by local leaders. Mission Network's donor base has been incredibly generous during this difficult time, and the organization is called to share this generosity with local churches that are meeting the needs of their communities. Linda Shelly, the regional director for Latin America, said, "It's highly important and significant that the church partners feel this call to respond to the human need in their church families and broader communities — to try to find ways to support people in these difficult times. Being able to help others contributes to a sense of hope."