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Dear Prayer Partners,
South Africa has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the African continent. As of now, more than 1,544,000 cases have been reported with 52,000 deaths. Yesterday’s data (965 new cases and 15 deaths) shows a slight improvement from the day before (1,387 cases and 46 deaths). Even though this month seems to be heading to a decline, some experts are worried that a surge will return in May as the government decided to keep the lockdown at the lowest level. The current low vaccination rate is actually the main concern because only 231,000 medical workers were vaccinated so far. There is, though, a bit of good news that the Health Department just announced the opening of 2,000 vaccination sites in May, targeting for 200,000 shots each day. Please pray for the undisrupted supply of vaccines so a high percentage of the population will be protected from the virus, thus stopping the spread and saving precious lives.
As the Easter holiday is approaching, South Africa faces another challenge. People tend to interpret the latest infection figures as a sign of success. Some religious leaders have petitioned the government to allow for large-scale indoor gatherings. Health officials at the same time warn against such provision and caution the high probability of a returning spike in cases. The government is indeed in a great dilemma. Please pray for wisdom for the government to make the right decision in this matter.
The court case on banning WeChat in the United States came to a halt as the new president was inaugurated on January 20th. The new administration has now asked for a suspension of proceedings while it revisits whether WeChat really pose a national security threat. That means we can continue to use WeChat in the US to serve our brothers and sisters in South Africa.
Before our weekly Bible studies, we usually have a wonderful chat and update each other. If needed, some of us will continue in private chats after the meeting. Everyone looks forward to this wonderful sharing and learning time together. Some of the brothers and sisters have since become more relaxed and involved in the discussions. Our worship services and sermons are in pre-recorded audio form; this also allows members of the churches to review again later. We thank God that everyone is on time for all the meetings on line.
Thanksgiving and Prayer Requests:
- Please pray for adequate supply of vaccines for South Africa and the smooth administration of shots as planned.
- Please continue to pray for wisdom for the South Africa officials to set up effective measures against the spread of the virus, especially during the upcoming Easter holiday.
- Please pray for brothers and sisters who open stores and operate factories. As most of the customers only put on their masks while walking in the stores, they face a higher risk of being infected.
- We thank the Lord for the latest development in the WeChat court case. Please continue to pray for the total dismissal of this case so we can serve our churches in South Africa with WeChat while in the US.
- Please continue to pray for Sister Lin for her quick recovery from her lung operation as well as her emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
In His service,
Ko-Ta & Christina