Newsletter, April 22, 2021
It’s the evening of the 8th day of lockdown in Phnom Penh.
This dear country has fought hard against Covid, and until February 20, it was winning, with no reported deaths due to Covid and less than 500 recorded cases. However, that streak was broken after a group bribed their way out of mandatory hotel quarantine and spread the virus widely.
Schools, churches, and public gatherings were promptly sent online again, after just a few months of meeting in person with extensive social distancing + masking requirements. As the situation proved steadily more difficult to control, progressively tighter restrictions were instituted, culminating in strict lockdown of the entire city. At this point, we may send one household member out of our apartment for groceries 3 times per week. Certainly, this is challenging.
For the poor, though, it is truly devastating. The day laborers whose jobs are temporarily eliminated have lost the income that buys their families’ daily food supply. Access is further complicated by market closures and government roadblocks. Children in homes without even a smartphone have no option to study remotely, and their education is jeopardized. Yet again, the marginalized suffer the most. Realizing all this, Gregory has worked very hard to connect the resources of the church with needs in the community, and thankfully we have been able to offer relief to 162 families so far.
Our hearts are so grieved. Please pray with us for Cambodia and especially for the poor. Lord, have mercy.
The Rev. Gregory and Dr. Heidi Whitaker are SAMS Missionaries sent by Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton, IL. They serve in Phnom Phen, Cambodia. Gregory and Heidi hope to see the Anglican Church of Cambodia continue to grow and expand and eventually develop into a diocese with churches, education, and work among the poor. They aim to see Cambodian Christian physicians growing in their practice of medicine, in their faith, and in being missional in their contexts.
Note from Kate Ulrich, SAMS Communications Coordinator: In April, SAMS World Relief Fund provided a grant to the Whitakers and the Anglican Church of Cambodia of $3,000. The money is being used for food distribution among those suffering due to this outbreak. We invite you to provide further relief by giving to the the Whitakers’ Special Project Account . 100% of your gift will be committed to ministering to Cambodians. The SAMS World Relief Fund over the past year has granted more than $80,000 over 5 continents to come alongside the global Anglican church in mercy ministry. Thank you for your partnership in caring for our brothers and sisters around the world while sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.