As the quarantine extends, the concerns and needs of vulnerable families in Bolivia grow. The COVID-19 quarantine means there is no public transport, and a strict curfew where a person can only leave their house once a week during certain times. Though these are good measures, they have caused many challenges for families who live in remote communities and rely on informal jobs.
Thankfully, God hasn’t stopped working, and He is using Compassion’s local church partners as an instrument to continue to reach and bless those in most need. These tough realities have caused the churches to come up with creative methods to provide for the families who need support but can longer travel to the Compassion centre.
Compassion-assisted families line up outside a grocery store to pick up food supplies ordered by their Compassion centre.
“We couldn’t leave the families without provision, so we contacted the community’s store, and the owner gave food baskets to the families. They are very thankful, and we are too, for the great support this meant for these vulnerable families to soothe the situation. It’s an honour to work for the Lord,” says Carmen, the director of a local Compassion centre.
In Potosí, a high plateau city, staff have also contacted stores to arrange for families to pick up supplies directly, paid for by the Compassion centre.
“As a church, we knew we had to do something. There are families in extreme poverty. We started with those most in need and now we are reaching the rest. They all are vulnerable,” says Marianela, director of another local Compassion centre.
A young Compassion-assisted woman sits with the food basket she’s received.
In this case, a parent from the family receives two vouchers for the store, one for a food basket containing essentials like cereals, sugar and oil, and another voucher for a choice between chicken, beef, eggs, vegetables or fruit. Some families have vegetable gardens at home, so they are free to choose what they need. The system allows family members to comply with the government’s social distancing restrictions, helping to keep them safe.
“What inspires us is the love we have for Jesus and compassion for the children. It is a big satisfaction for us that many families who live in remote areas can still come to these stores. May God have mercy for them,” says Marianela.
Across Bolivia, Compassion’s church pastors have also shown that despite the quarantine, their love and service towards the children and families they serve have no limits. Like Pastor German Morales of Ekklesia Sipe Sipe church, who is sending out spiritual support virtually.
“We are doing different work to be able to reach families. We are in touch with parents through WhatsApp and share the gospel message and prayers with them. Every day, in the morning, we send them a devotion called ‘The Spiritual Quarantine’. We want families to be united during this time. Usually, they have different occupations and are busy, but now it’s time for the families to be restored,” says Pastor German.
Local pastors and other church staff, like Pastor German, deliver food bags to the most vulnerable in their community.
“The greatest difficulty is not being able to move around due to the quarantine. We can’t go anywhere…so obtaining food is difficult. We also struggle to reach all the children with food because not all of them live close by. But we will try to obtain permission to travel about and that way we will be able to provide food to at least the most vulnerable families.”
Please keep the Compassion Bolivia team in your prayers as they work to continue supporting the children in Compassion’s programs. For our most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit our updates page.
You can help families affected by COVID-19 through our Disaster Relief Fund.
Words by Galia Oropeza and Laura Phillips