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COVID-19 ministry update

COVID Response

Dear friends of Lifeline,

This is truly a global pandemic. Everyone around the world is trying to keep pace with the changes and figure out their next steps. We at Lifeline are in that same position. We are continually making changes to ensure staff safety and community health.

We wanted to give you a snapshot of the state of the ministry right now...

Because COVID-19 is impacting every Lifeline ministry and ministry location...

Winslow, Arizona
Local businesses and restaurants are adding restrictions. Tourism is expected to dwindle. Store shelves are bare and people are fearful. Many people work part-time and are out of work.
  • Our school is closed for two weeks. Online education is challenging due to families with no computers and/or Internet. The staff are distributing Lifeline's rice & bean meals to families in desperate need.
  • Our church plant is only six months old, and services are required to stop due to size restrictions. The church is attempting to use technology to keep people connected, but many in the community do not have Internet, smartphones or computers.
Overall, borders are closed, except for commercial traffic. Individually, each province is handling measures differently. Near our churches in Canada: schools are closed; restrictions on the size of gatherings for all events (even weddings and funerals); daycare, libraries, rec centers, community centers, etc. are closed; restaurants can do take out; and long-term care facilities have restricted access.
  • The Northern Hills Church (Calgary, AB) is no longer allowed to have in-person services. They are now meeting online.
  • Tableside Church (Vancouver, BC) is still meeting at this time, as they are home-based micro-church and fall below the size restrictions.
5 confirmed COVID-19 cases with quarantines on everyone who has had contact with them. No flight restrictions. All businesses, school, and social activities are normal. Most people are going about their normal routine. Everyone is aware of the situation.
  • House churches are currently meeting as normal, as they are smaller in size.
100 COVID-19 cases, which doubled in 2 days. Borders are closed. All businesses closed except pharmacies, grocery stories, agricultural/food industries, financial, and health services. People must stay at home. Schools are closed.
  • Our school is closed for 60 days. Staff are attempting to teach online, but students/families don't have Internet and/or computers at home.
El Salvador
Martial law is declared with many constitutional rights suspended. All borders are closed to foreigners. Businesses and stores are closed. Anyone 60+ and all pregnant women ordered to stay at home. Everyone else recommended to stay home. A run on food at grocery stories; there is a supply issue. People are fearful.
  • Our churches are meeting, but in small groups. They are intentionally keeping their numbers small.
Land borders closed with few flights allowed. Anyone entering country placed in quarantine upon arrival. Schools are closed 21 days. Groups over 100 prohibited. People encouraged to stay home. No public transportation. People are fearful.
  • Our church is still meeting, but due to transportation restrictions, the church cannot transport anyone in the church bus or church van. This was how they helped bring church members together to church. The church is also trying to communicate truth to alleviate fears.
Unrest, violence, and instability have been ongoing in some communities since 2019. The U.S. State Department travel advisory is Level 4: Do not travel. Suspected COVID-19 case in northern Haiti. All borders closed. Incoming flights from U.S. must have a document proving they have been screened and tested negative for COVID-19. Merchandise can pass. People encouraged to avoid crowds and hugs. Recommends limiting gathering sizes. Field staff shares that Haiti is not ready for the virus; they are vulnerable.
  • Churches are still meeting at this time.
  • Schools are open.
  • Our 2 clinics remain open but are concerned if/how they would treat COVID-19 cases.
  • Shipping 40-foot containers of our Lifeline meals are still permitted at this time.
  • As a preemptive measure: the Grand-Goave campus has initiated hand washing stations for everyone coming on campus.
Martial law and curfews in place. No one is to leave home. All businesses (public and private) ordered closed. Even grocery stores are closed in some cities, which is causing fear. Public transportation is suspended. All borders are closed.  
  • Our schools are closed and trying to use technology to communicate with students and families.
  • Churches cannot have services, due to the government mandate. They are looking for creative ways to minister.
  • Our clinic remains open, as mandated by the government. The immediate challenge: our staff relies on public transportation to get to the clinic, which is suspended.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Panama City. Groups are limited to under 50 people. Grocery stores are only allowing 25 people into a store at a time, which has caused 6 hour wait lines. Restaurants are closed for sit down. Public transport is operating at less than 50%. Schools are closed until mid-April. People are fearful. 
  • The launch of the church plant in Panama City has been postponed until April 26.
  • The Guaymi tribe is isolated in northern Panama and, thus far, hasn't been impacted by COVID-19.
Meal pack ministry
We're encouraging groups and churches to schedule their meal pack events for summer and fall, as dates will start to fill up quickly!
  • With the limit on group sizes, events through May 15 are being rescheduled.
  • 1.8 million meals that were scheduled to be packed in 55 events have been postponed. What does this mean? Each lost event means meals aren't getting to those who need it, along with support for the meal pack ministry.
Mission trip ministry
The last thing we want to do is inadvertently carry a disease to the people we want to serve!
  • All trips through May 2020 are being rescheduled. This applies to all locations and all trip types.
  • 16 teams with 108 participants have been impacted. What does this mean? A portion of each trip provides funding for that field ministry. Thus our field ministries are losing valuable resources.

As you can see, every ministry and every ministry location where Lifeline serves is being impacted by COVID-19.

We need your help to keep ministry moving...

Today, we met with our field leadership and they shared their challenges.
The immediate problem that many of their communities are facing: many people work a day for a day's paycheck, which then provides their food that day. With people forced to be at home and not working, then they can't work to provide food for their family. People are fearful.

So we're rethinking how we can meet immediate needs in our ministry communities. 
How can we keep our communities together? But we're also thinking outside the box: how can we innovate in ministry? How can we pivot this to be an opportunity to share the Good News?

But to make any of this happen, we need your help to keep Lifeline moving forward and not backward.

Donate now and make a global impact across the ministry!

Your donation today will make a global impact across all our ministries...from Haiti to Ecuador, Canada to Guatemala, Honduras and beyond. You are impacting all our ministries around the world!

The ministry needs your special gift now!
Serving our great God together,
Ben Simms
President & CEO
Lifeline Christian Mission

P.S. We're all experiencing challenging times right now. And we're keeping our focus on Christ and trusting in God's provision. He's always carried the ministry through difficult times in the past, and we know God will do the same today!

3 ways to donate now:
  • Online by credit card or bank transfer
  • By check in the U.S.: mail to Lifeline Christian Mission, PO Box 2288, Monument, CO 80132
  • By cheque in Canada: mail to Lifeline Christian Mission, Suite 100, 635 Northmount Dr. NW, Calgary, AB T2K 3J6

*Important note: these ministry updates are current as of the time of this email. The news is changing rapidly so we are trying to keep you updated as best we can.