平安 (Ping Ahn), Peace from here in Illinois!
As many know, I am still in America after having come for my Chinese New Year holidays on February 9. I have not been able to return yet due to the current situation concerning COVID-19, which at first was a huge concern in China but is now becoming a major concern here in America.
Sports events, schools, large gatherings or small (including church worship services and conferences) are being canceled. If I am on your visiting schedule for Illinois Great Rivers Conference (IGRC), just let me know if I should continue to come or not.
If you do happen to cancel, or you have not been on my visiting list, I encourage you to read or print out the below as hand-outs or postings in your worship services, bulletins, meetings, announcement boards or monthly newsletters.
It’s a re-cap of what I’ve said before in these blog entries but condensed and easier to follow.
From Amity Foundation Teacher in China, Connie: News of Amity and how we United Methodists are helping China fight the coronavirus
If I were to visit you today, I would tell you a few things about The Amity Foundation, or Amity for short, and our United Methodist Church.
Amity is a Chinese, Christian-founded organization in China and is one of our United Methodist Advance Specials. I work in Amity’s education division as an English language teacher at the college level but let me tell you about the Amity division that is of particular importance at this moment.
Amity’s Emergency Relief Division in High Gear, with UMCOR support
The Amity Foundation’s emergency relief division has been very busy with the virus situation.
As of February 2, the Amity Foundation has received a total of RMB 35.57 Million yuan donation, or $5.3 million, from companies, organizations, online fundraising and individuals. More generous giving is still coming in. Our UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has already committed $10,000 to this effort.
The Amity volunteers, division staff and organizers have been transporting much needed supplies to hard-hit areas in the country, including:
- 470 tons of various disinfectants
- 15,000 coveralls
- 18,000 isolation gowns
- 50 patient monitors
- 60 oximeters
- 31,700 medical protective screens
- 730 air-purifying respirators
- 31, 855 protective facemasks
- 2,240 goggles
- 1,100 blankets
- 10,000 virus sampling kits
- 18,000 KN9 masks
- 8,400 packets of instant food (noodles, rice, oatmeal) for hospital health workers.
The supplies were delivered to more than 300 hospitals, medical centers, and more than 100 communities and township-level organizations in 14 cities in Hubei and Jiangsu Province, 1 autonomous prefecture and 3 counties. Furthermore, Amity prepared supplies to 7 medical aid teams from Jiangsu, before they departed to Hubei Province.
Christians in China are supporting Amity’s emergency relief operations as well. Chinese churches have raised more than $150,000 US dollars to support Amity’s relief efforts in containing the coronavirus.
Current Situation for the Country and Local Churches
At present, China has done a remarkable job in taking care of the spread of this illness and looking after the needs of the people as best as it can. The virus is now being controlled and daily life is slowly, cautiously returning to normal.
Despite optimism and relief, Chinese schools, music concerts, movie cinemas, some shopping malls, fitness centers, temples, mosques and churches are still not operating in full swing.
All churches in China have still suspended services but are now connected via online services. A special worship app on your phone can be downloaded and Christians can hear and see their local pastors giving the message, as well as sing hymns and read scripture together while at home. The app also allows for sharing among churches from different areas of the country so participating in other church services is easily done.
What a wonderful way for Christians across the country to connect and support one another.
My college students are doing online classes at the moment. Although I was not asked to teach them, the English majors and I have a cell phone support group where we share thoughts and feelings through messaging.
I leave you with one of our more interesting posts by some of my brightest students:
Chen: I am bored.
Yiyi: Me, too.
Chen: Bored from head to toe.
Yiyi: Ha, ha.
Chen: Even my nails. They’re screaming I AM BORED!
YiYi: You can find something fun to do.
Chen: Yes. Cut my nails and shut them up. Then I’ll be happy.
Please pray for my students, my college faculty and leaders, our world leaders and those who are in need of healing hands at this time.
Peace and Love,
Connie in Illinois
If you have power point ability and would like visuals, see the below.
The Amity Foundation in Action
My English Education Majors (Class 4, sophomores)