May 15, 2020
Global Diaconate COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund
UPDATE (June 2021)
Here are more recent descriptions of the COVID-19 situation from two of our partners:
In the last three months, 3,600 pastors have died in the state of Andhra Pradesh. We are surrounded by death. We have lost 48 pastors from my friend circle these last weeks. An hour before writing this, we lost Pastor Timothy from our network. And several others are in desperate situations. For many, the wives have also died, and their children are now orphans. Hospitals have extremely limited care and charge large amounts of money to release patients who have died. We have paid many of these hospital bills so the families can receive the body of the deceased for burial. We have purchased medical kits and are passing them out to COVID-19 patients. And we purchased an expensive oxygen concentrator to give oxygen to patients in our area since the hospitals are unable to care for all the sick. We have given all the financial help we can, and now we have run out of funds. This last week has been hardest for me with all the news of death and virus sickness.—India
The situation is getting worse here! Thousands are suffering, and 187 pastors and leaders are going to their eternal home due to COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands around us have used up their supplies to feed their family due to the prolonged lockdown. The big names in politics and businesses are turning merciless to the poor. Almost every hour I hear an appeal for survival. The local community leaders who know my name and how I am involved in relief-oriented ministries are asking for help. It is getting so hopeless in many areas that the suicide rates are climbing.—Nepal
The Global Diaconate is continuing to evaluate and help as much as possible where our partners are involved, but the needs are much greater than our available resources. We are asking that you remember Bethlehem’s Pandemic Relief Fund as you consider how you can be involved and help with the worldwide relief efforts. All grants from the Global Diaconate are given through our partners and target the most needy. All resources are all ultimately intended to bring glory to our great God and caring Father.
Here are two things you can do to help: First, you can pray for those around the world who continue to suffer the effects of this global pandemic and for those who are on the ground working to alleviate as much of the pain as possible. Pray that they would shower people with the love of Christ as they reach out in practical ways to help them fight COVID-19. Second, if you want to give money where 100% will go directly to COVID-19 needs, go to the Giving page. Go to “All Church” and then in the drop-down menu go to Pandemic Relief. The Global Diaconate will receive the funds and disperse them to where the needs are greatest.
Bethlehem Baptist Church exists to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ,” and our Global Diaconate helps spread this passion by “seeking to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel through significant ministries of mercy to the poor and suffering around the globe in the name of Jesus.”
Bethlehem has been generous in providing about $100,000 annually, funded incrementally each month from tithes & offerings in support of the “poorest of the poor” through our ministries around the world. Historically, these funds have gone to about 20 Bethlehem global projects each year. Specific project proposals are evaluated for possible funding by Bethlehem’s Global Diaconate, which has members representing each of our three campuses.
Our first priority is proposals from our global partners. Our second priority is trusted partners or organizations. Our third priority is established relationships (e.g., members of Bethlehem with trusted links to an overseas ministry). Given global realities this year, the Global Diaconate funding has been largely disbursed, and what we have been able to give is a mere token of the actual need expressed by our global partners.
Since the beginning of 2020, our world has seen a dramatic increase in threats against the global Church—through expanding targeted Islamic terrorist attacks in Africa, the Near East, and regional warfare—and now most recently through the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought most of the world to economic shutdowns, suffering, starvation, and death. Our global partners have been ministering in the midst of these realities. This past month alone, our Global Diaconate has received more than 14 requests for urgent support for medical supplies and food, and we expect these requests to increase.
The Global Diaconate is asking our Bethlehem church community to consider giving to a special—and we hope temporary—COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund.
Our intent is to continue to serve the poorest of the poor and, with a crisis like this, that description is now applicable to a much larger group than it would be under normal circumstances. Many of our global partners work directly with or very closely to these needy people. Our desire is to help those in great need who have minimal chance of receiving help from other sources. The funds will be used to meet acute needs related to the pandemic such as food, clean water, hygiene items, medical supplies, or to provide for lost income that is needed to pay for shelter or other critical needs—all in the name of Christ!
We know that many in our congregation have the gift of giving, as well as a heart for God-honoring disaster relief and crisis response. We want to provide a trustworthy method to channel your giving through our global partners and other trusted partners.
Would you please consider a gift above and beyond your regular giving to bless the poorest of the poor? And please pray that God would use your efforts to further his kingdom!
To give, use one of these options …
- Make an online donation in Bethlehem’s giving portal that is designated for the “Pandemic Relief Fund” (Fund – All Church; Sub Fund – Pandemic Relief Fund).
- On the Bethlehem App, make your donation under Giving > Giving Designation > All Church: Pandemic Relief Fund.
- Give by text message by texting “Pandemic X” (where X is the desired donation amount in dollars) to 612-223-7432.
- Give by check by noting “Pandemic Relief Fund” in the memo line and sending your check to Bethlehem Baptist Church, 720 13th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415.
Thank you for partnering with us.
Pastor Brad Nelson for the Global Diaconate Team
Steve Prater, Deacon and Chairman of the Global Diaconate
Richard Swanson, North Campus Member (PhD. Economic Anthropology)