Though police barricades blocked roads in India, and those who break COVID-19 quarantine are arrested, Caleb Premanandam loaded his car with rice and lentils.
Premanandam could not ignore the suffering of homeless workers, stranded hundreds of miles from their villages, walking days with all their worldly possessions in bundles on top of their heads, carrying small children. They are among the poorest in India, working day to day cleaning hotels, driving rickshaws, laundering clothes, making bricks.
The government order to “shelter in place” only works for those who have shelter.
These people don’t.
Premanandam, who runs Harvest Ministries, a longtime partner of Southeast Christian Church, prayed and mobilized with a few supplies on hand. As he passed through one checkpoint with a load of food, a supervisor yelled at the officer, “Why did you allow him to go through?”
“I don’t know,” the officer answered.
Premanandam knows. “God makes a way when there is no way,” he said.
Near a kiln, he found more than 200 workers with children. He had rice and lentils for about 50 people and invited local police and officials to help serve a hot meal. He also handed out soap and taught workers how to wash their hands properly.
“These people are so hungry,” Premanandam said. “They need food to survive. We realize we have to do more. God is opening opportunities to demonstrate his love.”
Hindu radicals watched as Premanandam’s team of pastors cleaned and bandaged wounds, gave out food and clothing. Some have become friends who want to help with outreach.
There’s no doubt God has opened doors.
The local police commissioner eventually gave Premanandam a pass to get through police barricades. A Muslim imam offered his property to hold food giveaways.
Staff at Harvest Ministries are donating rice and lentils from their own resources to further outreach. Southeast is supporting outreach.
“This has humbled me a lot,” Premanandam said. “I realize when I obey God, whether we have money or not, He is more than willing to multiply it. Certainly, God guides and provides.”
They watch God multiply meager resources.
Pastor David Paul had food for about 50 people when police officers told others about the food giveaway. By the end of the day, his team fed close to 300 people.
Premanandam sees opportunity in the middle of the lockdown to reach people with food and to care for their health, hygiene, dental and vision needs.
“It reminds me of how Christians served unbelievers during the plagues in Rome,” he said. “They shared the little they had with those who were sick while everyone fled. I believe now is the opportunity to serve. We have decided to provide meals and medical help to as many as possible.”
Pastors with Harvest Ministries are not concerned for their own safety.
“Our families are concerned, but we believe we are called to take risks,” Premanandam said. “We invest our lives to save those who are lost. He will care for us.”
Pray for Harvest Ministries
>Pray for the health and safety of outreach teams.
>Pray that God’s love will continue to impact those hostile to the Gospel.
>Pray for more openings to demonstrate God’s love.
>Pray that outreach teams will have strength and wisdom.
>Pray against fear of COVID-19.
>Pray for resources to meet needs.