Mission Partner and Partner Church prayer update on COVID-19 January 2021

19 January 2021

Please keep Mission Partners and Partner Churches in your prayers.  For more prayer updates please read the Prayer and Care Leaflet from Methodists for World Mission.


South Africa – Freddie and Dee Takavarasha. Experiencing a second spike and people are in COVID-19 lockdown to limit spread. Freddie has been unable to preach online due to restricted internet provision in Upington circuit in northern part of the country. National vaccination may commence in May 2021.

Zimbabwe – Jonathan and Isabel Hill. Experiencing a second spike and they are in COVID-19 lockdown but there are a few students expected to take examinations still at school. Otherwise, most schools have closed. Online schooling is minimal due to unaffordability to pay for internet and equipment

Zambia – Keith and Ida Waddell. Experiencing a second spike but not in full lockdown. They still travel when essential but operate social distancing using PPE especially at mission hospitals and clinics.

Kenya – Claire Smithson. Experiencing a slight second spike but not in lockdown. National hospital workers are on strike, Maua mission hospital is very busy. Sadly, many patients are unable to pay their hospital bills and the hospital is struggling with no subvention from the government. The COVID-19 pandemic has contracted the economy, reducing the earning power of Kenyans

 Nigeria – Hans and Mary Van den Corput. Experiencing a slight second spike but not in lockdown. Both are still working using PPE. The mission hospital is busy as usual as is the work in the ‘Babies’ Home’

 Togo – Michael and Joanna Tettey. Not experiencing the second spike and not in lockdown. Both are still working with PPE and the kids are in school


Japan - Shelia Norris, The Japanese government can't legally impose lockdown on private citizens, but the requests for our cooperation in staying home are getting stronger and stronger.  For the moment, however, Nagasaki remains relatively safe.  The virus situation elsewhere is, sadly, not encouraging at the moment, and Japan doesn’t plan to start vaccinations until February, so it may get worse before it gets better.  We look forward with hope to whatever light the new year may bring in the midst of the darkness. Please read Shelia’s most recent newsletter here


Germany - Barry and Gillian Sloan are well, but living in strict lockdown - since 10th December and running until end January at least.

Saxony, where Barry and Gillian Sloan live, includes 6 of the 10 worst hit counties in Germany. The death rate this year is about 3 times higher than the normal winter death rate, due to Covid. Some crematoriums have run out of space to store the coffins waiting to be cremated. The bereavement process is made much more difficult by relatives not being able to attend funerals. Some have linked Saxony’s high infection rate to wider anti-government sentiment in a state where more than a quarter voted for the far-right Alternative for Germany party at the last national election. Other commentators have noted the state’s large number of elderly and its reliance on nursing home workers from the neighbouring Czech Republic, where COVID-19 infections are even higher.

Italy - Fiona Kendall and Daniel and Grace Pratt Morris Chapman - are well. Rome is less badly hit this time in comparison to north Italy. You can go anywhere outside as long as you where a mask and keep distance.


Angleena Keizer – Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem. The restriction of movement is much increased at the present time. The office administrator was fined for going to the MLO in Jerusalem, and it’s getting harder and harder for Angleena to get there.

Latin America and the Caribbean

No Mission Partners are in the region at present, but this is an update from the Partnership Coordinator on the general situation in the region.

Sadly, Latin America is experiencing a second wave of COVID infections. In some countries, such as Colombia, strict lockdowns have recommenced. In others, such as Mexico, life continues without strict lockdown measures even with very high rates of infections and COVID-related deaths. Furthermore, existing underinvestment in public health systems across the region has led to the collapse of public healthcare provision in several countries. Going against the grain is Cuba, which although one of the three countries in the Caribbean with the highest rates of COVID (alongside the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), it has fared well at controlling the rates of infection and deaths in relation to its population thanks to its robust public healthcare system and door to door track and trace system.

Several countries in the region have now acquired a COVID vaccine, including Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and Mexico. The Caribbean Community and Common Market known as CARICOM, is currently in negotiations with the African Union to purchase vaccines from among the 270 million doses that have been acquired for Africa. The general fear is that unequal access to purchasing vaccines will only serve to exacerbate the existing inequalities across the region.  However it is hoped that the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme will give poorer nations fairer opportunities in accessing vaccines.

Our partners in the region continue to observe strict hygiene protocols in local churches, as well as serve as centres of information concerning the vaccine, helping congregations to understand what is and is not misinformation . Online services and events held live on social media platforms continue to be the norm, as are virtual District and Connexional Conferences. Our partners are also concerned for developments of the virus in the UK and assure us of their regular intercession for us.