May 21, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, most of the countries where we work are extending their lockdowns—increasing the suffering of the poorest. In South Asia, the full lockdown is approaching eight weeks with no signs of easing up any form of non-essential travel. Our team is gathering reports every day from around the world about the ways the poor are suffering and dying from effects related to the shutdowns.
This has confirmed the new understanding of what it means to achieve our mission articulated in our COVID-19 Global Relief Effort. To date, we have approved distribution to over 30,000 individuals—prioritizing only the neediest, those with no remaining food or means to get it.
The weight of the moment is palpable for our teams on the front lines. The testimonies coming back from those receiving and giving aid are both heartbreaking and joyful! We have heard stories of those who had planned to walk 100 km for food, people evicted from their homes and sleeping on the street, many who had lost hope, mothers and fathers sharing the despair of being unable to provide for their children as they cry from hunger. People are running desperately up to the trucks carrying supplies, and recipients are continually thanking and blessing our staff. Unable to control their happiness, they are crying, praising God, and breaking out into singing and dancing.
Our team members have been deeply moved as they work to serve all those in need. "My heart felt overwhelmed with sorrow," said one of our staff members. "People should never suffer to this extent under our watch. My heart is utterly broken to see it."
Another team member shared, "I went home … and everything felt like a luxury! I have been hugely challenged in my personal capacity to regularly give more to poorer communities. I’ve heard stories of what people face on a daily basis, but to have a conversation with someone in that situation is different. I felt the love of God overwhelm me as we gave food away to people who are so desperate and in need, to give hope to people who’ve lost hope and are in despair."
That last statement from our team member is close to the heart of the moment, our mission, and the very meaning of our existence. It captures the broken-hearted joy of love in action that radiates from our God.
One of our beneficieries shared, “Today I came back to my house with your food package; when my younger daughter saw me from the gate in our house, she ran to me and asked, ‘Daddy, did you get some food?’ At that time, tears came up in my eyes. Children, they don’t understand about the situation. When we cannot provide food, they cry a lot. But then today we will be able to provide food, and they will be happy. Thanks to all who provided us this help. You are believing in a different religion, but you came first to help us.”
"We have no income in last two months,” states another. “We are suffering and starving with no food. I have two little children, and we are not able to provide two meals to my children. We were totally helpless. Nobody came to support or help us during the present situation. We are Muslim, but as a Christian, your church came to help us. Though we are believing in different faiths, your help gave me a message that we can follow different religions, but helping people and loving people is the first religion. What faith we are following doesn’t matter, but how we are loving and treating the human is the main religion. May Almighty God help your church more and more for helping other poor families also.”
The work being done at this moment highlights the heart of our mission of sharing God's love through action aimed where it is most needed. I want to thank all of you who are partnering with us and helping to make this crucial work a reality. The need is great, but together, we will find a way to reach as many people as possible.
April 13, 2020
Watch the latest update and hear about LJI's COVID-19 Global Relief Effort! To get involved and learn more, click here.
March 30, 2020
We know that many of you are facing a truly difficult reality, and our prayers are with you during this time. We encourage you to draw close to your families and to find ways to do your part at stopping this pandemic that is hurting some of the neediest people around the globe. As COVID-19 continues to impact the whole world, I wanted to share a bit about how our teams are responding to it.
Although many of the places where we work are in various stages of shutdown, we expect that traffickers are more likely to exploit than heed the precautions being put in place. Therefore, we are finding ways to keep our monitors working within the limits of their local situations; they are taking extra precautions to avoid catching or spreading the virus while still doing what they can to fight human trafficking. We are encouraging all our teams whose normal ways of working are being disrupted to think one step ahead and find creative ways to do transit monitoring, fight human trafficking, or help mitigate the ways that the worldwide shutdown is impacting the least of these.
As an organization, we have always resisted defining ourselves by our current work: using transit monitoring to fight human trafficking. Instead, we define ourselves by our mission statement—sharing the love of Jesus Christ by fighting the world’s greatest injustices—and by our three core values: Be the kingdom. Help those who need it most. And do much with little. The best way to achieve those things may depend very much on the situation.
After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, we as an organization were well-positioned for a short time to try to help meet the needs around us. At that time I wrote, “Though our core values remain unchanged, ‘those who need it most’ has changed,” and with that in mind, we were the first to get desperately needed supplies like tarps and blankets to over 3,000 families who were sleeping outside (some in the rain) in their villages. Today, we are all facing a crisis on a global scale, and I believe that the greatest need in the world right now may be the poor who are being impacted by the pandemic and shutdowns. In countries facing full nationwide lockdowns, those who live hand to mouth may not have more than a few days of savings before they run out of food and essential supplies. As an organization, we are actively seeking ways to identify and reach these people in places where non-essential businesses are being forced to close and there is no safety net to keep these people from doing without essentials.
We are humbled to have you with us on this journey to fight the world's greatest injustices—in these days more than ever. Thank you for being a part of the LJI global family!
President of Love Justice International
March 20, 2020
Love Justice Family,
Over the last few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has come to dominate the lives of people in nearly every corner of the world. I want you to know that you have been in my heart, thoughts, and prayers. You’re an important part of the global LJI family, and now more than ever, our connectedness matters. We want to know how you are and how we can pray for you.
Even though here in Nepal, we have yet to feel the effects of the coronavirus to the extent that many of you have, we are all in this together. We believe that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
It has been a stressful, concerning, emotional, uncertain, and scary time for everyone. For most of us, our world has felt out of control. For Love Justice International, the virus was initially a concern primarily for our Asia operations, and we put contingency plans in place for our family homes, expat staff, and school. Kathmandu was rated by the Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index as the 11th most susceptible city in the world for an outbreak. But now, this has become a truly worldwide problem with many countries around the globe shutting down schools, borders, travel, and large gatherings.
At Love Justice, we are committed to doing our small part to support the measures being recommended by health experts. In some places, our transit monitors are working with local authorities to screen temperatures of people crossing the border. Our data team is studying the growth and spread of the virus to contribute to the understanding of why it is spreading so quickly in some places but not others. (Nepal borders China, but currently has no confirmed active cases of coronavirus, and there are relatively fewer cases in all the countries where we work.) And we are directing our project staff and children on how to do their part, and to follow the guidelines of health experts and local authorities. We support the robust measures being enacted around the world because we believe they have worked and are working to slow the spread of the virus.
As of today, March 20, some reports show evidence that the shutdown measures that stopped the spread in China (which had no new cases yesterday for the first time since the outbreak began) are beginning to work in the rest of the world. There is no doubt that many new cases will arise in the coming weeks as testing improves around the world and the virus continues to spread. But the rapid escalation of the seriousness of the situation we have experienced in the past few weeks will not last forever.
As much as the world has changed over the last few weeks, some things remain the same. This pandemic has been a powerful reminder of the consequences of our actions, that we all have a responsibility to do our part to help and protect humanity—especially the weak and vulnerable around us—even if it is a tremendous sacrifice. We believe in a world where human life is valued! Whether it is our own family, friends, neighbors, or community, human beings are worth protecting whatever the cost. That is what our teams are still doing every day around the globe, and what the world is collectively doing right now—joining together in unity to protect one another. And it is working.
We are so thankful for everything you are doing to share the love and compassion of Christ. Your commitment of prayer, support, and generosity for the work we continue to do in the fight against the greatest injustices is truly humbling. Thank you!
As we look to the uncertainty of what the coming weeks may bring, we are going to be sharing stories of freedom, joy, and hope—which we all could use a bit more of in these turbulent times!
President of Love Justice International