In nations around the world, a major fear and reality during the pandemic is starvation. As restrictions increase, food becomes harder to come by. A large number of workers who rely on daily wages to simply feed their families have found themselves without jobs, meaning without food.
During this time, an organization in Southeast Asia called PEARL (Preventing Exploitation Actively Restoring Lives) has sought to serve and provide food for those in need. The organization is regularly active in community ministry, as its goal is to prevent human trafficking and restore those who have been exploited.
Opportunity for Community Outreach
The COVID-19 pandemic has opened this additional way PEARL can serve its communities.
“Once a week, the PEARL team passes out 70 meals with a scripture verse attached to the hungry on the streets,” says OC worker Debbie, who works with PEARL. “Sometimes we hand the meals to them without a conversation. Sometimes we get to be involved in a conversation, a story, and share a prayer.”
The team prepares the food boxes, prays over them, and loads what they can on motorcycles with two people – one to drive the other to carry the boxes of food.
Stories of Blessings
Here are a few stories from the distribution of the food:
“K and I gave food the several scavengers (people who go around town picking recycle bottles etc.), men and women at the trash containers, several rickshaw drivers, and to people who are sleeping under the building overhang. It was a true blessing to see their thankfulness in receiving the food we gave. We hope it was a help. Thank you, PEARL!” says Y.
“I, along with my younger sister, gave food to several scavengers, parking attendants, and street people. Then we went to (the nightclub district). We gave the boxes to several ladies living in one of the boarding houses. It was a blessing,” says P.
“Our first experience was meeting some youth who were begging (playing music or a guitar) at the traffic light. Then we met a scavenger pushing a cart with a little girl about 9 years old. She and her dad were very thankful. Then we went to an open-air market where several people were cleaning up the garbage of the day. As we went down the street we met an elderly man, Mr. P., with a young boy who looked like he had special needs. I pray all of those who received a box of rice truly felt the presence of God close to them and give them hope. Very blessed!” says M and E.
“Last night was my fourth night to go to the back streets of our hometown to pass out a simple hot meal and warm tea. Our team of two, Ika and myself, went to a dorm-type setting for the nightclub workers. As we walked down the narrow alley, I prayed for God to be our protection – not just from COVID-19. The simple rooms on both sides had young adult girls, some with children and some with male ‘guests.’ We eventually found Mrs. S. She was thrilled to greet us. Through our visit, we met two young girls KK and Erk, who eight months pregnant. None of them can go to their home villages. They all were thrilled when I shared God’s care for them because he created them and desires a future full of hope (Jer. 29:11). They also received prayers. It was a divine moment. I’m so privileged to have had this opportunity,” Debbie says.
A Need for Resources
PEARL is working hard to meet all of the needs, but there is need for greater resources. Below are a few opportunities to give and support this ministry. Please pray to the Lord about whether he’d have you give to this cause.
Here are the current compassion outreaches PEARL would like to do during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Weekly feed about 100 people until the end of the crisis. Twenty of these meals go to the nightclub singers who are stuck in our hometown and couldn’t get back to their villages. That is $80/ week.
- Give the sembako (nine essential foods basket) to the families of the children in the afterschool reading program once a month: $200/month.
- 100 free PEARL batik face masks and bottles of soap to needy communities $200 total.
- Invest in the nightclub district residents as a Kairos opportunity to show God’s unconditional love. There are significant needs. God may use this to gain PEARL community favor for future opportunities and outreach. 150 households @ $10 per household over the next three months. At total cost of $1,700 for the three-month period to begin the program.
Pray with One Challenge
Prayer for these efforts is critical. Join One Challenge in praying for the people of this SE Asia nation and the ministry of PEARL.
- Pray for those who who are willing to reach out beyond their comfort zone to help desperately hungry people.
- Pray for the immediate and eternal benefits of this simple action of providing food and other basic needs for the hungry.
- Praise God for His unfailing Love and Grace during the box meal handout time.
- Please pray for the immediate and eternal impacts from this simple act of unconditional love. Small catalysts that make huge impact.
- Pray for good health, provision, and a good witness as PEARL workers reach out to their neighbors during this intense challenging time.