Joel Gamonal Visiting Church Member

By the grace of God, we are slowly getting back to some type of normal after this difficult situation.

My family is well.  My wife was the only one that caught COVID, but she was able to recover. Many died — family members, neighbors, and friends — as a result of this virus.  In just one week, I lost both my uncle and my aunt.

It has been difficult to minister to the Lord’s church under such severe public health restrictions. The government put us under a strict quarantine for several months.  The churches remained closed for a long time.  I have been preaching by means of live-stream.  This has been complicated, because not everyone has had Internet at his disposal at all times.

This pandemic has also affected the financial situation of many families, both inside and outside our church.  Due to the quarantine, people could not leave their homes.  Children could not go to school or out to play.  Adults could not go to work.  The vast majority of the people in Manchay live from what they earn from day to day.  Many were without food.  But by the grace of God, we began a Ministry of Mercy.  We thank God and those with generous hearts that donated help for our neighbors during this time.  With this ministry, we have taken food, medicine, and financial help to many people in extreme need in different areas of Manchay.

I have hurt with many that have lost their loved ones, accompanying them at their family members’ funerals, sharing a word of encouragement and hope in Jesus Christ.  In fact, during the first few months of the pandemic, the only sermons I was able to preach in person were preached in front of coffins — not pulpits.

Right now, we are living in a time of political crisis in our country.  There is great instability in the government.  We had presidential run-off elections two months ago. It has been a very marked conflict because of the extreme difference:  the choice was between democracy and communism.

Many times I have felt discouraged, helpless, and confused upon seeing so much instability in every aspect of my daily life.  But the Lord, in His power, has preserved me, making me rest in Him.  In the midst of this situation, He has taught me to continue trusting Him, in spite of my weakness.  Even when it is unclear to us how these circumstances will be able to improve, or when it seems the Lord does not answer our prayers, He tells us that we must trust Him.  He is our hope, and our greatest Comforter in the midst of trouble.  I have learned to see the hand of our good God a little better in these times of weakness.