It took some time for us to adjust to the changes that the pandemic has brought upon us. In normal times. work as a field worker is dominated by travel and one to one encounters and small group meetings. This being stopped abruptly by the lockdown was a shock, and the initial days were disorienting. Work in office too was badly interrupted. But soon there came new ways of coping. Imperfect as they are, the work has gone on by His mercies.
Firstly, most of us discovered the possibilities of online meetings. For many of us it was the first time on Zoom and other platforms, especially the hosting bit. Staff have always been connecting with students and graduates on phone and WhatsApp, but now there was an exciting new way of connecting and this was used to a big advantage. In AP and Telangana some of our member graduates have taken it to another level by having daily meetings, inter-college meetings etc. There is also a plan to conduct a Pre-marital seminar at an intercollegiate level. Further conferences are also planned online.
Many of the students who had completed their final year just before the lockdown have now become house surgeons. This has been a very unusual beginning to their CRRI and many of them have been posted in COVID care wards where they have been witnesses in their work. The online meetings were a time where they could share about this demanding work and we could even say that the mentors who encouraged them felt encouraged by their lives.
Encouraged by the suggestion from Dr VP we also collected various questions through the staff which were occupying the minds of students, graduates and missions. These questions were sent to some leaders who responded to them in a meaningful and sensitive manner. These answers were sent to the staff to be circulated on WhatsApp groups. It may be possible to club them all into a small booklet.
There was also a follow-up meeting of the students who attended the Institute of Medical Missions in Asha Kiran. It was encouraging to see many of the participants join in and share about their work and the influence of the IMM on their lives. The mentors and resource people who had come for the IMM also took part in this online follow-up meet and encouraged the students.
Two of our staff have their residences in Mission Hospitals and they have been able to encourage many in these places. One of these hospitals had to be converted into a COVID care centre and for a small institution, this was a big challenge. Our staff here was able to encourage the workers by taking devotions for them and encouraging them.
At the office, the staff made innovations in shifting one of our office desktop computers to a house where our staff member was boarding during the lockdown. The family with who he has been staying have been very accommodating. Form here banking and the making of receipts have gone on. Other office staff have continued to work on communications and keeping in touch with members and supporters. Also, it is a time for auditing and several other issues that come up at the end of the financial year and staff are looking for innovative ways to get this done. We had a very sad incident in the early days of the pandemic. Dr Surya Prakash, father of Jacob Prakash our staff went to be with the Lord. He had spent his entire life serving in various mission hospitals. Unfortunately, when he became very sick he had to be shunted from hospital to hospital as COVID was suspected. The family bore the situation with courage and by His Grace, he was buried peacefully. He was a man of great faith and courage. Please uphold the family in your prayers.
We as staff have also been able to meet for prayer online. Staff have also had a new experience of staying with their families for an extended time. A new experience for most of us. It has been very edifying. We have also started an online seminar on enriching the family with good resource people helping us.
The Chairman, General Secretary and Treasurer have also been discussing ways of upgrading the communications, revamping the website and making an app etc, while being part of strengthening many groups themselves. There have been discussions on having online conferences also. The Lord willing the Executive committee will meet soon to discuss these issues among other things.
The support and encouragement from the members have made us glad and keeps us going forward in the work. Graduates have shouldered the work in many places and have been working very hard in this situation. Many members have responded to our appeal to help mission hospitals in this critical situation and have sent help to the missions directly. One of our members was instrumental in helping missions procuring PPEs.
The Lord has been merciful. In uncertain times like this, He has been our refuge and strength. He has strengthened our hearts and given fresh strength to our bodies and minds and has been with us protecting our students and graduates in their work in clinical care and strengthening our hearts.
The financial needs of EMFI for the month of April have been fully met. We are truly humbled by the mercies of the Lord through our dear friends who partner in the work in many ways.
All Glory be to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.