As it is all over the world, Covid-19 has affected us here in San Quintin. Thankfully the government has taken proactive measures, but we know that not only people’s health is affected but also the economy. Here in Baja California, the biggest source of income is the agricultural industry – so much so that the government deemed it essential labor, meaning that those who work in the fields continue to work. This has been good news for many families, as the majority of them are field workers and this way they are still obtaining an income during this difficult time.
Others who are struggling right now are the pastors. Pastoring here is quite different than in Canada in many ways. One of the biggest differences is that these pastors don’t get paid. Many of them came to be the leader of the church simply because the previous pastor appointed them, often despite their lack of education or experience. Make no mistake, though they may not be qualified in human eyes, they are called and qualified by God to take care of His sheep. But it is a calling that comes with much sacrifice.
These pastors don’t receive any income other than what people in their congregation feel led to give, so the tithes given by the church go to sustain the pastor and his family. At times that amount is sufficient, but often it is not nearly enough. Many pastors are faced with the need to work another day job on top of the great responsibility of leading the church. In this time when churches are no longer able to congregate, what little offerings that did come in are no longer available. And so many of these pastors are left in a very complicated financial situation.
One of these pastors recently shared with us his struggles. Before the pandemic broke out, there were plans for a group to serve with his family and church. One of the projects they planned to complete was fixing his roof, which had been ruined due to a lot of wind and rain this past winter season. A week or so before the group was scheduled to come, they told the pastor to go ahead and knock down his old roof so that on their arrival they could waste no time and immediately begin the reconstruction. He knocked out the old roof.
Days later, the pandemic was announced, borders were closed, the group was not able to come and serve. With his roof gaping open and more rain expected to fall in the coming days, the pastor had no choice but to put himself into debt to order the materials needed, then work hard on his own to finish the project. In sharing his struggles with us, he didn’t complain. He thanked God for health, protection, and provision.
He, along with the rest of the pastors we work with, don’t know how they are going to get through this time, but they pray and trust and continue to serve their congregations with all they have. They have been an inspiration to us. We continue to serve these pastors in the middle of all of this, bringing them groceries, supporting them with learning new technology to stay connected with their congregations, giving an encouraging word.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and giving that allows us to stick with these pastors through the hard times. It means more to them than you know. Please keep praying for them, as they pray for you. And keep believing, as they do, that our God is on the move, He is good, and He turns all things to good for those who love Him.