Providing food during a pandemic

Tammar’s goal was to help 100 families.  

He knew that was unrealistic. After all, providing food to that many people would require a lot of money. Still, he believed that God would provide the necessary funds and that the members of the church he pastored would be able to help distribute the aid.  

In Central Asia, where Tammar pastored, churches are struggling to survive COVID-19. In countries where Christians can be persecuted because of their faith, believers face many challenges during lockdown. Many have lost their jobs, and often cannot count on support. When the government hands out aid, religious minorities might be last in line to receive it. Some people might be able to count on financial help from their family or friends, but many Christians have been rejected by their loved ones because of their faith.  

Tammar knew that, and he wanted to help. His church set the goal of providing food to 100 families. Nor was he the only one - another church that Open Doors partners with said, “In connection with the introduction of a state of emergency and quarantine in our country, we revised plans for our children's activities. We decided to provide grocery assistance to large and low-income families in order to establish contact with them.”  

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Bringing food to one of the many families struggling to survive the pandemic in Central Asia.

Food is not the only area of concern for persecuted Christians. In many countries, lockdown laws mean that believers can no longer gather and connect with each other. Some Christians are even forced to endure quarantine with the very people who abuse them. Zebede* is one such case: during lockdown, Zebede is forced to live under the care of her adult son, who beats her for reading the Bible and pressures her to renounce her faith. When Open Doors partners were able to bring her food, she burst into tears – not just because of the gift, but because she was able to see other Christians. Zebede continues to pray for her son every day.  

It’s not just Christians who are in need, and the distribution of food actually gave Tammar and his church a reason to visit the homes of people they would not otherwise have been able to reach. Tammar asked us to pray for those who have received the gospel in addition to food aid: “In every home, people heard about God and how He took care of them. Let what is sown grow in the hearts of men and women.”  

Pastor Tammar’s church was unsure if they would be able to help 100 families, but through God’s provision and the caring support of believers, the number was reached and exceeded. “We set the goal to help 100 families, but today we are talking about more than 2,000. This is a miracle for us. And it was made possible by those who gave us a part of their life, expressed in money.”  

Thanks to the efforts of Tammar’s church and the believers in the area, over 2,000 families not only received necessary aid but also heard the good news of Jesus Christ.  

This work was not without a cost, however. After helping deliver so much aid, Pastor Tammar tested positive for COVID-19, and in July the virus claimed his life.  

The last days of Tammar’s life were spent serving people and showing them the love of God. He finished the race well, but leaves behind his wife Nadine (two years ago, Nadine lost their unborn child as a result of persecution and abuse).  

Today, please pray for Nadine and other believers in Central Asia. Pray for a holy comfort to be given to Nadine, and for the seeds sown by Tammar’s work to bear beautiful fruit for the Kingdom of God. 

If you would like to send a message of encouragement to Nadine, you can email us: encouragement@odcan.org. We'll make sure all the messages get to her. Your support is a beautiful reminder of the family of believers coming together in times of hardship. 

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