Updated: Apr 11, 2020
UGBOGBO CHURCH OF CHRIST
P O BOX 251, IGARRA,EDO STATE
A MESSAGE OF HOPE AMID THE SCARE OF THE GLOBAL THREAT OF THE VIRUS
The threat of the pandemic of the corona virus is no longer news to anyone. Especially in this era of social media and the many ways of disseminating information, whatever happens anywhere on the globe is news to everywhere else. And this can be good and bad
On Sunday [March 22] we held special prayers for the American society and especially for our brethren who are going through the terrors of the virus threats. We are aware that many aspects of the American life is being affected. We pray that God will provide a way out of this soon enough
Here in Nigeria, we are facing the many consequences of the virus as well. Personally, I know that the fear and the panic are hurting people more than the virus itself. As at today [ March 27th] , the information from the government is that 52 has been tested positive for the virus, and one has died. Some Nigerians are in doubt if the government is giving us the accurate information or not? The popular opinion here is that the tropical high temperatures somehow hinders the spread of the virus. But the fear has gripped everyone in both rural and urban places alike. The concern of most Nigerians is that with our level of ignorance; the poverty; and the congestion , if the virus breaks out full swing in Nigeria, then it would be a clean sweep.
Therefore the health departments are taking actions to educate and sensitize the masses in ways to prevent and curtail the spread of the virus:
Travels have been restricted
Schools have been closed down indefinitely
Markets are being restricted
Churches, Mosques and public gatherings are either completed banned , or reduced
Now there is a total lockdown for everyone- no market, no work and no gatterings. And these have serious consequences on the people:
There is panic buying, and this is leading to scarcity, hoarding and inflation- causing more sufferings for the poor.
Because transport and travels have been restricted, many rural folks who produce food are not able to bring the food out to the cities
So many people are already out of work. The artisans, the apprentices and other uneducated hand-work personnel are out of work and with no income. This is causing serious suffering to families, because these low income people are the bulk of the income earners in Nigeria.
Many imported products or raw materials are either completely out of stock or now too expensive to afford. Printing paper is the latter category. Our paper mostly come from China, and that is affecting our Print Ministry.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is facing other health threats besides the virus scare , and besides the other [perennial] fears of insecurities , Boko Haram, Herdsmen Terrorisms and banditry; we are presently facing the risk from Lassa Fever which has broken out again. Right now the outbreak of the Lassa Fever is worse in the states of Edo here and the nearby Ondo state. And the possibility of death by Lassa Fever for now, is far worse than from the Corona Virus.
On Sunday, in place of a sermon, I gave a Health Talk, and gave everyone assurances to hold on to faith and God in these trying times. And we must all know for sure that:
God is still on the throne [in spite of the global threat]. We must all reaffirm that God, not man ; not science and not technology , is in charge of our lives and existence
As bad as the situation may look, there are possibilities of good coming out of this. [Rom. 8. 28]. We may not immediately see any good, but God’s word says so.
No matter the weight of public opinion to the contrary, this is not the end of the world. Jesus says no one knows- only The Father [ Matt. 24.36]
Come what may, faithful Christians should not be too afraid of dying. The Bible reveals that there is a better place than this [diseased] world. [2Cor 5.1]
One factor that heightened the fear, worries and anxiety of many Nigerians is that if the virus can affect American life and economy this much, then we would be completely finished if we have it more than it presently is right now.[The number has risen to over 100 already. And knowing that we have little kits for testing, most people fear the number is far more] Especially gospel preachers who receive financial support from America are even more worried about their fate. In the past week, I have received so many calls from Nigerian preachers who are worried about the implication of this present situation on our own survival since we depend on American benevolences.
One preacher puts it this way : ‘’ if this situation causes American brethren to stop supporting us, for many of us, that would be worse than Coronavirus’’. But I continue to tell everyone to double up in prayers for God to have mercy on His children and bring quick relief. Because suffering for the people is increasing daily. Hunger is by far the worse!
We cannot stop living because of the virus. So in the present circumstances, I am using my time to write gospel materials down, so that in the future if things stabilize, and we have the money, we can start printing and distributing same for the work of evangelism.
It is my conviction that as we continue in prayers to God for His intervention, and as the Doctors and Health Workers continue in their search for a solution, help will not be far away. Amen!
On behalf of my family, the Ugbogbo congregation and the many concerned Nigerian Christians, I send our sympathies and encouragements to all who have been affected one way or the other by this global pandemic of the Corona Virus
May God use this to redirect us all to Him
Sylvester A Imogoh
For more information, go to https://www.camelbackchurchofchrist.org/missions