Edited from a report by Romeo Fernando

What is the current situation in India?

The covid-19 situation is escalating to unprecedented levels across our country. It is expected to remain that way for some time. Not only are the Covid positive cases growing – compared to the first wave, the fatalities are alarmingly higher. In Vasai, too we keep getting obituaries from people we know, every day.  Several members from our community have lost friends and relatives: young and old. Many leaders from the local churches and the charismatic renewal have lost their life or are currently struggling in the hospital. 

Here are the latest statistics from our national English newspaper, ‘The Times of India’:

India is in the midst of a raging second wave of COVID-19.  On Thursday 6th of May, the recorded maximum fresh cases and fatalities in a day was 412,262 new infections and 3,980 deaths in the last 24 hours. The health ministry said, ‘According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India has total death toll of over 230,000 cases, while the infection tally increased to more than 21-million.

Since the last few weeks, the number of daily new infections has crippled the healthcare system; oxygen and PPE supplies have run out, there are no hospital beds available, and patients are dying on sidewalks and streets as they wait outside hospitals. Presently vaccinations are also not easily available. 

In New Delhi, our Capital and elsewhere, there is scarcity of wood to cremate the dead; long lines of families, waiting for hours to complete their last rites for their beloved one. The workers digging the graves are absolutely exhausted. The largest burial ground of the Muslim community in Delhi has no more place to bury their dead. The smaller Catholic parishes in some cities have had to divert the funeral services to the neighboring larger parishes.  

Help sent by many nations has yet to reach hospitals where they are urgently needed. Bribery for beds and inflated prices for medicines have skyrocketed…. the list goes on.

What is the scenario for our Sword of the Spirit communities?

We have 5 Sword of the Spirit communities in India. This is a list of the brothers and sisters who are positively diagnosed with COVID:

  • People of Praise: Bangalore: 2 
  • Community of the Risen Lord: 4 
  • Krist Kiran Parivar: 10 
  • Jesus: Light of the World: 2
  • Community of the Good Shepherd. 14

A good number of our brethren, quarantined at home, with symptoms that clearly indicated covid although they have not been counted in the list above because they do not have a positive test.

We are very grateful to the Lord however, that not a single life was lost, in any of our India zone communities. All have recovered or are recovering – though some were very critically serious. 

Do you feel any guidance from the Lord in this situation?

We have sensed a call from the Lord to rise to the occasion and partner with others in the charismatic renewal and in the church, to start conducting ‘Intercessory Prayer meetings,’ and invite others to join us, to pray for those suffering with COVID. The meetings are not focused on intercession alone but include Bible studies and pastoral wisdom to provide hope and solace, faith and courage to people in these challenging times.

We also intend on starting an ‘Online Mobile Prayer and Counselling’ ministry soon. For those tested positive and also help families in distress. This will take place at many times during the week and include early morning prayer, fasting and night vigils.

We have also been praying for the Global pandemic at our International Intercessory meetings on Saturday evenings.

What can we in the Sword of the Spirit support the communities in India?

At this moment can’t think of anything other than seeking your support in prayer and intercession.

Romeo Fernando is a Leader of the Community of the Good Shepherd in Vasai, India. He is also the leader of the India Zone of the Asian Region.