A Hope and Assistance 7979 Let’s Love Move . Word / CSG
“Thank you very much! When my child was diagnosed with COVID–19, even my family ignored us, only you and your friends were willing to take us in.” Ai Ying (pseudonym) shared with crying tone in the phone to our team leader. Later, our team leader shared with us the content of their conversation. Bukit Mertajam Baptist Church, HISTEAM 7979 Care Station’s volunteer Sis. Mei Foong felt relieved and comforted by what she heard, once again she managed to help another family.
Ai Ying and her family of seven stay in a small house. When her youngest son was unfortunately diagnosed with COVID – 19, the family became high-risk close contacts. Therefore, the landlord stopped renting to them and told them to leave immediately. Their relatives were also reluctant to deal with them for fear of getting in trouble.
Ai Ying, who has nowhere to go, felt very helpless and in despair, she sat in her car all by herself and cried.
As it happened, some brothers and sisters in our church cell group know Ai Ying, they decided to extend assistance to her when they came to know of her situation. In this way, while her youngest son who had diagnosed with COVID – 19 was sent to the government quarantine centre; Ai Ying’s family stayed in the church quarantine house under the arrangement of the church. All of a sudden, Ai Ying's family went from being displaced to finding a place to stay, finally able to go through quarantine period with peace of mind.
At the same time, after the church received Ai Ying and her family into the quarantine house, the CG leader also began to pray together with Ai Ying for her house renting issue. Ai Ying also actively discussed with her the landlord, hoping that he would rent the house to them again. One day, when the CG leader met Ai Ying's landlord, she also talked with the landlord about renting the house. Finally, the landlord agreed to rent the house to Ai Ying’s family again.
During the quarantine period, the church often invited Ai Ying and her family to participate in church worships or cell group meetings, which made them felt the genuine care of church brothers and sisters. “In the past, I had been exposed to the Gospel, although I have not accepted Christ, but now I feel that only Christian will help me unconditionally, regardless of the cost.” Ai Ying said at last.
Apart from Ai Ying's family, there were many disadvantaged and poor families in Penang Bukit Mertajam’s community who also face various difficulties. Because of the pandemic, their lives became worse than ever, and some have even lost their jobs, making life quite difficult. When the pandemic worsened, they, who are at grassroots level have no choice but to go out to work in order to make a living. Compare with those who works from home, they are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and belong to the high-risk group.
This September, the church started “7979, Love Quarantine House” ministry, set up 6 quarantine rooms in 3 houses. Since the establishment of quarantine house, the church had hosted 22 occupants*, most of them were church’s brothers and sisters. Majority of those church members were aid recipients who had been benefited from Church programs, they were those disadvantaged and poor families who were attending church worship after they accepted Christ. Their living environment were often small dwellings, with large families living together. If a family member was unfortunately diagnosed, it would be difficult to quarantine at home. When the quarantine houses were established, church brothers and sisters were given priority to stay in the quarantine house.
Facilities in quarantine house
Besides this, operating a quarantine house need a lot of manpower, cleaning and sanitizing alone already required a lot of manpower. For this matter, the church hired some people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Although the wages were not high, but they can at least have a job and make a living. Not only that, the church also bought a lot of pandemic prevention supplies, such as mask and oximeter. If anyone needs supplies, the church will give them away free of charge in response to the needs of the pandemic.
Some people could get nervous and scare whenever they heard the word “quarantine”. The church came out with the idea of using “food delicacy” to tackle this issue. Every day, the church’s kitchen team would prepare delicious meals, although it may not be sumptuous, yet this well thought and carefully prepared food could ease some of the anxiety during quarantine. Meanwhile, the church also arranged two groups of counsellors to minister to these occupants.
“Under privilege poor community need special attention and care. We are very thankful for the emergence of quarantine house ministry, it allows people who needed quarantine to have a safe place for quarantine.” Sis. Ruo Qi shared, that she herself was also one of the residents in quarantine house who came into contact with a diagnosed patient because of her ministry. She was very grateful for the church started the quarantine house ministry, because the quarantine house not only allows people who need quarantine to have a proper place to go, but also let people experience God’s love during quarantine.
Later on, Pr. Lily who also happened to stay in the church’s quarantine house before, shared: “If we are believers of Christ, isn’t it good that we can spend more time with God during quarantine? This is another form of blessing.” She believed the establishment of quarantine house gave hope and assistance to those who don’t have space for quarantine.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; …. Psalms 91:4
(*The total number of occupants shown was up till our interview in October)