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Dear Prayer Partners,
The end of 2020 gave people a wishful dream of the end of the pandemic and brought about a flesh start of normalcy. However, that dream was dashed when a variant of the virus stormed through UK with quicker and wider infections. The year 2021 actually started with a new surge in all the countries throughout the world. A variant was also found in South Africa during December 2020. It is spreading even faster than the UK variant and has been causing more deaths. In South Africa, there were 120,000 new cases from September to November of 2020. New cases of the variant has jumped to 630,000 during the two-month period of December 2020 and January 2021, a 500% increase. At the same time, the death toll was over 20,000, more than the last 12 months combined. This puts enormous pressure on the medical system, and beds in the hospitals and ICU’s are in alarming shortages. There is no official data on the infection rates and resulting death figures for the Chinese population in South Africa, but we do know of people who had been recovered as well as those who had passed away. One Chinese church in Cape Town continued to hold meetings during the lockdown period. Some among the congregation were infected, resulted in the death of the pastor. Another pastor in Durban got the virus when she disturbed food parcels to the poor. We thank God that she had since recovered. Therefore, no matter how the situation looks, we still need to exercise all precautionary measures possible to protect ourselves. The greatest challenge for our brothers and sisters, though, would be to strictly enforce mask wearing for their customers. Nevertheless, we should not be overly anxious because our God will keep and protect us. We need to be on high alert, but we can do it with thankfulness.
Some Chinese opted to receive their vaccination in China when they returned on their business trip. This is mostly due to the lack of transparency in the government’s plan in acquiring and distributing of the vaccine. The announced plan is to vaccinate 2/3 of the population, but there is no date in sight as when the general public will have access to it. The experts warn that if the coronavirus cannot be brought under control soon, the delay of vaccination will cause a third wave of infection. The economy has already been adversely impacted, the dire situation compounded with the need of payment for the large amount of vaccines. Please pray for the government in its efforts in securing enough vaccines for South Africa.
The case for the US government to ban WeChat was presented to the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco on January 14th. It was the court’s opinion to continue to suspend the Executive Order due to a possible infringement on the users’ right of free speech and the lack of alternatives offered by the Order. This case is still pending. Please continue to pray for a favorable result so we can continue our ministry on WeChat.
Thanksgiving and Prayer Requests:
- We thank God that our on-line meetings are in smooth operation with good attendance and attentiveness.
- We thank God for our continued ministry on WeChat. Please pray that the ban will finally be denied.
- Please continue to pray for wisdom for the South Africa officials to set up effective measures to halt the spread of the virus and pray for the people to comply with these measures.
- Please pray for quick administration of vaccines for South Africa.
- Please pray for Sister Lin of our Durban church. Her cancer has spread to her lungs. We thank the Lord that her operation was successful. Please pray for her full recovery.
- Please continue to pray for the health and safety of our brothers and sisters.
In His service,
Ko-Ta & Christina