Mennonite Church Canada is inviting prayers for its ministry partners during the coronavirus outbreak, and for all of those in China and across the world who have been affected by the virus.
The coronavirus is disrupting the lives of many in China, including the 10 North American English teachers currently serving with Mennonite Partners in China (MPC), a program of MC Canada, Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Central Committee.
The service workers and several of their Chinese colleagues left China the middle of January for a mid-year retreat, held in Malaysia. Plans to return to China for the beginning of university classes by the middle of February have now been put on hold as school officials are requesting that they not return. Return travel is also complicated by cancelled flights and travel restrictions.
Most of MPC’s teachers are in Sichuan province, located next to Hubei, the centre of the outbreak. The six visiting professors from Sichuan who are currently at Eastern Mennonite University report that their families have needed to cancel many of their New Year holiday celebrations, including a wedding planned for Feb. 1.
China counted 17,205 confirmed cases with a death toll of 361 as of Sunday, Feb. 2, according to the New York Times.
Tobia and George Veith, who serve with MPC through MC Canada, have been told by friends in their northeastern city that church services and public gatherings have all been banned.
The Veiths report that Christians in their city are encouraging each other with Psalm 112:7: “They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.”