An open letter from our friends and global sent leaders, Abhishek and Angie Gier, May 31, 2021:
We thank God for your friendships every day. With the devastation in Delhi, even our entire family was infected (Abhishek, severely). We praise God He kept us alive. This is a time when we need your prayers most. There is more He wants us to do before calling us home.
In the beginning of April, we were warned of a second wave of COVID hitting us soon, but NO one was prepared to withstand it. It was like a war where the opponent is not geared up, but rather in a state of complacency, when the enemy attacks with full blows. In the pursuit to retaliate, they realize they do not even have the weapons to do so. The result is people getting killed like sitting ducks.
The city was engulfed with the sounds of sirens, as in during an airstrike. It was the cumulative noise of ambulances ferrying desperate people to hospitals. Within a week, that sound died, but not because cases went down. The virus had spiraled up so quickly that ambulances were serving multitudes lying on the streets outside hospitals gasping for breath, or for dead bodies. All helpline numbers went unanswered as there were no responders left.
All of India, and especially Delhi, got caught in a situation destroying the entirety of the city to its soul. Before the surge, we thought our battle in Delhi was for basic needs of food, shelter, employment, safety, empowering women, etc. But COVID taught us that our actual fight is for our dignity of existence and in death.
But COVID taught us that our actual fight is for our dignity of existence and in death.
Due to lack of beds, medicine, oxygen and space, the few inside the hospitals were hanging onto a last thread of hope that the hospital oxygen supply will not run out. Queues outside the hospitals rivaled those waiting at the crematorium for the chance to bid a loved one goodbye. The cast iron cremation chamber melted from constant use. It seemed that even the incinerator itself could not hold back its tears.
There was a photojournalist taking pictures at the crematorium before the state government banned photography there. A little girl tapped on his shoulder, pointed at the smoke from the furnace chimney, and said, “That’s my mother going up. Can you take her last picture? I couldn’t say bye to her.”
Now as we gather ourselves back, the battle has left its devastation all across the city. There isn’t a household in my knowledge who has not lost a loved one. There isn’t a person who can say all their friends are intact. There are no offices that will not have an empty workstation. Businesses have shut down, markets are ghost lanes, and people are confused if they should mourn their dead or fight for their survival. Dignity is still a far cry.
Like after every battle, you look out for the injured… the missing… the orphaned
Like after every battle, you look out for the injured, for those who lost their shelter. Look for the missing, for dead bodies, for those who are orphaned, for those who are widowed—that they are not being taken advantage of. Look for young girls left alone not being sold off, for the hungry, for the broken souls. Above all, look at your own wounds, nurse them so you are ready for the next battle, hopefully more prepared.
As a Leadership Foundation in Delhi, we are very much part of this battle and its aftermath. We intend to cajole our city back to life, revive it to be back on its feet, and clean up the mess that is left behind. We are accumulating resources and leaders of good will and good faith, developing joint initiatives to build capacity to help community at large to flourish. We will remind our people of the dignity of life.
We will remind our people of the dignity of life.
Our immediate response plan is to
- Identify families who have lost their sole bread earners and support them for the next 3-6 months until we can secure them government aid.
- Identify children who are orphaned and coordinate with various government departments to provide them safety.
- Identify widows who are now vulnerable to provide them with skills and livelihood.
- Identify young girls who are at increased risk of being trafficked or abused to be provided with skills and livelihood.
- Identify families who have lost livelihood and provide them immediate financial assistance until they find employment.
Our focus within 3-6 months will be to
- Help independent and house churches who have lost their pastors and leaders to COVID to develop and train new leaders.
- Develop enterprises with an aim to generate job opportunities.
- Develop readiness programs and protocols to anticipate future viral outbreak.
- Provide mentorship and financial aid to children who are on the verge of dropping out of school due to online classes (many lack a device to attend classes or must work to support their families).
- Encourage “ARK:” Acts of Random Kindness from those who have resources.
All the above responses require resources and partnership at a much larger level. Since most government resources are consumed in responding to COVID, there is huge competition for very limited resources. Local businesses are in the red due to lockdowns. We seek generosity of individuals who are blessed with resources so together we can respond to this battle, heal the city, and start to smile again.
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ABHISHEK AND ANGIE GIER call Delhi, India home. It’s a city with rampant abuse against women. But the Critical Care Center has become a model for restoring young girls out of sex slavery. They are creative catalysts, bringing work, wholeness and dignity to the most vulnerable.