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As of today, July 19, the unrest is subsiding, but challenges remain. The supply chain has been disrupted and the country is dealing with the third wave surge in COVID-19. We want our friends to stay safe, so we'd like to send this message to those of them who receive our newsletter.
To our African friends:
· Please social distance, wear masks, and use sanitizer multiple times during the day. If you don't have sanitizer, wash your hands with soap and clean water.
· When shopping for groceries or supplies, get enough to last for a week or two, instead of running daily to the store. This reduces the chances of being exposed to the virus.
· If you must be in a small home with infected family members, try to create a barrier using anything like blankets or cardboard to isolate the infected members from the rest of the group.
· If you start to feel sick, isolate yourself immediately from others; don’t wait until you’re really sick.
· Large gatherings are COVID-19 spreader events, especially funerals. Instead of attending, send encouragement by letter or WhatsApp. People will understand because everyone is aware of the COVID-19 situation. (Many people are staying away for this reason.) Your life is more important than showing support by being at a funeral. If you live nearby, you can drop food at the gate. If you have a funeral for someone in your own family, limit it to just a small number and ask others not to come.
· Some people think Christians should not show fear, believing that God can protect them. He can, but God expects us to use common sense. We would not swim in a river full of crocodiles, would we? Taking precautions doesn’t mean we’re showing a lack of faith. God wants us to stay alive so that we can be an influence to others in the future. Gatherings, including secret prayer meetings, should be avoided until the pandemic is under control. Also, it is discouraging to see pastors dying. But like all of us, pastors are subject to things that affect the human body. They are not supernatural physical beings. This is another reason to limit funerals to immediate family; we don’t want to put our pastors in a risky situation.
· Misinformation and myths are circulating about vaccinations in general conversation or on social media, such as the vaccination is the “mark of the beast.” Don't follow just any influential person, but trusted health officials. Many people didn’t take ARVs for a long time because of various myths. But those who have taken them are managing their lives well. Each person should consult with their doctor or clinic provider and make a decision based on their own health situation.
· More information is being gathered over time. Try to keep up with current information.
· If you are already sick or are still recovering, wait a few weeks before taking the vaccine. It is a prevention, not a cure. (Check with your clinic regarding the timing of when to take it.) Some people have been sick, received the vaccine, and died. It wasn’t the vaccine that killed them. They just weren’t able to get the vaccine before they were infected.
· Although trials such as this can be frightening, we don’t need to panic. Throughout history, the world has been through catastrophes and diseases, and humanity got through it. On days when you are feeling down, remember that hard things will come and go, but our faith will outlast it all. This is not the time to step back as a believer – it’s the time to step up! Look for a verse every day that will encourage you and others. Find safe ways to be an encouragement to others. Read the Bible and develop a closer relationship with God. He is with us in the midst of all things!
From your friends in America - we're praying for you!