Covid-19: the toll in South Asia

We have all seen the tragic reports of the last 2-3 months as Covid-19 has rampaged through South Asia. Though it has peaked in some urban areas it is still spreading in more remote village areas.

Every death is painful: “We had another 3 deaths in the last four days,” a rural hospital reports. “This is the most difficult part we go through. The last moments are heart breaking. Only thing we can do is grieve and cry along with them. Offer them a shoulder and ensure their loved ones have a dignified death.”

As large number of pastors, missionaries and Christian workers have died. In India the estimate is over 800. Many were in their 30s and 40s, leaving behind young families. One group reports that they “keep receiving reports of pastors passing away and many are filled with fear and anguish. Please pray for these pastors’ families and congregations.”

Another comments that faith in the resurrection “doesn’t take away the numb feeling… [But] the amazing thing here is that morning and evening there are daily prayer meetings of hundreds of believers praying for those left behind, for the country, opening their pockets to help, and the continuation of witness.”

Pragasam David

Nearer home still, on 17th May in Chennai Pragasam David, father of Celia Avinash in SAC’s Sutton office, went to be with the Lord due to Covid related illness. Pragasam had served in Christian missions for over 40 years. He was a founding member of Arise and Build Christian (ABC) Prayer Fellowship in Chennai, a charity with primary focus on friendship evangelism and identifying mission fields across India.

He had a zeal and heart for good news to reach the unsaved which pushed him to travel through urban and rural parts across India, including Punjab, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra and Tamilnadu, to plant mission fields and train missionaries in friendship evangelism. Through this ABC was able to lead many hundreds to Christ.

He visited Kachhwa and met Dr Raju Abraham and other Kachhwa staff. After that ABC sent a couple, Selvakumar and Rachel, who have been working for nearly five years as church planters in the area, in partnership with Kachhwa Transformational Ministries.

Pragasam had a heart for young children and youth and served as director for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and other youth activities, both at the local church and in mission fields.

He was a faithful servant of Jesus to his last breath, worshipping and praying. He even wrote his last thank you letter for ABC’s monthly magazine from his hospital bed. He told a family member how proud and happy he was that his daughter Celia was also serving in mission, as part of SAC.

We thank God for his life and for his faithfulness to the cause of Christ and salvation.