Sharon Wilcox Link Letter no.21 September 2020

Dear friends,

I pray that you are all coping with whatever the current situation is for you during the coronavirus pandemic. Times have certainly changed.

I am grateful for your continued support as I seek to serve the Lord here in Santo Domingo. Things are certainly different. I am still teaching life skills by WhatsApp and relying on parents to help me. Sadly, for some of them, five months of teaching their children has taken its toll, and they are not quite so willing anymore. I am still able to meet up with the parents once a month to give them homework for their youngsters, as well as a few dollars to help with their difficult situations. Please pray for them as they continue to try to make ends meet. Some are back to work, others rely on handouts from the government or family members. Praise God that Gloria’s husband has gone back to work, although not many people have the money to pay a solicitor, so his work is sparse.

Javier learning about fractions

Apart from that, my life seems to revolve around various Zoom meetings. I have enjoyed being able to be at the New Wine online conference, and the CMS people in mission conference. I have also benefitted from weekly meetings with our mission partners in Latin America. It has been great to get to know people and to pray for them.

Via Facebook/video recordings I have joined in services at my home church, albeit not live, and their weekly prayer meeting by Zoom. It has been great through the summer to be able to partner with them to provide food parcels for 100 of the poorest families here in the First Baptist Church, those who have lost jobs or been affected by COVID-19. It has been a blessing for me to be able to visit church members, giving them a few groceries, chatting and praying with them. For many it has meant so much to know that they are not forgotten.

Eli answering Bible questions

The church here now only has a Zoom prayer meeting once a week, as they have resumed the other groups normally held at the church. Those are a men’s group/ladies’ group/young people’s group/discipleship and three Sunday school classes, as well as a service on Sunday morning. All by Zoom or Google Meet.

Pastor William’s cousin contracted COVID-19 while living with her two children, her mother and her aunt. Thankfully she has recovered, and did not pass it on to anyone else in the house. One of Pastor Rodrigo’s daughters is due to give birth at the beginning of September and will have a Caesarean birth due to the baby’s position in the womb. Please continue to pray for them. Rodrigo’s wife is one of the people in the church who has lost her job during the lockdown period. They have another daughter out of work, one at university and a son at college.

When you cannot afford a mask

Please continue to pray that the hospitals will be able to cope with the continuing need for beds, and for all the hospital workers, who are still under a lot of stress during this time. We have been in a state of emergency for over five months. The government has announced that that will be lifted on 13 September. It will be up to local councils to maintain control of biosecurity, but without the help of the military. Please pray for wisdom and for every citizen to realise that the pandemic has not ended and that we still need to protect ourselves. Since the announcement last week, people are already holding late night parties and ignoring the curfew.

My visa will run out on 2 December. I can renew it for another two years or can apply for a permanent residency visa. If I choose the latter, I can begin the process after 2 September, however the visa office here in Santo Domingo has closed down. That means I will need to travel to Quito or Guayaquil, ensuring I have all the necessary paperwork. At the moment long distance buses are not running consistently or to certain cities. Please pray that God will guide me through the process, which in the past has always had its difficulties.

Praying while delivering food.

I am thankful that I am well and that the nursing home where my mother is, in England, is allowing visitors again. She, like so many people, spent months confined to her bedroom as three people had the coronavirus in a different annex of the home. They now have the necessary controls in place and the residents can use communal areas again. After an eight-month wait, my sister has had treatment for skin cancer, which she says is healing well.

Helping an ex-colleague.

Once again, thank you for your continued support in its many forms.

Blessings from Santo Domingo.

Sharon

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