A Sacrificial Gift of Face Masks
by Patricia L. Duggan, member at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton, New Jersey, and communications coordinator for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries.
From the June 2020 issue of New Horrizons
During this global crisis, we may not be giving much thought about what we can do for people in other parts of the globe. But Christians from halfway across the world have been thinking of us in the OPC.
In early April, David Nakhla, administrator for the Committee on Diaconal Ministries, received an offer for a donation of 7,500 masks. The offer came from a man named Frank, who was representing a group of Christian churches in Asia. We happily accepted, since at that time masks were in short supply, but we didn’t immediately know the circumstances of this sacrificial gift.
As we waited for the supply of masks, we began to learn more about the lives of the people behind this generosity through Frank. He wrote, “My tears almost came out when I heard our sister church donated about $1,000 for the masks. This small church was forced by the government to move at least thirty times last year because their Christian school was being defined as a ‘house church.’ Most are factory workers with a salary of $600 to $800 per month, for 10–12 hours per day of work. You might have had the same feeling of mine, very touching moment, not because of the money, but because of their love from God!”
Our friends were not doing this for their own recognition. (In fact, for safety reasons, we can’t fully identify them.) Rather, in genuine love for the Lord, their desire was that the masks be given to brothers and sisters and to the lost in a country far from them—and given in Jesus’s name, not their own. “Let’s pray that our Lord Jesus uses these masks to strengthen his people as well as reach those who are lost,” wrote Frank.
Their donation enabled the distribution of thousands of masks to at least sixteen states. Deacons, elders, and pastors gave the masks to neighbors, church members, friends, and the vulnerable in the name of the Lord. What a blessing to be involved in meeting the needs of hospitals and healthcare workers here in the states while proclaiming Christ!
David Nakhla sent a message of unity in Christ with the mask distributions: “I trust you receive and use these masks with thanksgiving for that communion we have in Christ, communion that can be experienced across country borders, language barriers, and economic differences. And may we all be encouraged to pray for our brothers and sisters in Asia who have plenty of distress and suffering of their own.”
Vern Picknally, pastor of Bethel Reformed in Fremont, Michigan, wrote this letter of thanks: “Brothers and sisters in Asia, thank you so much for your care to my daughter, Vera, and many other nurses. Vera is a registered nurse at a hospital outside Chicago. Her unit/floor was converted to a COVID-19 unit, so she is in direct care of patients with the virus. Her hospital has a very short supply of masks and the nurses are regularly reusing them. She is taking the masks that you sent to distribute to other nurses and aides in her hospital. Both Vera and I thank you for your mercy and love shown to her and others.”
Bob Scott, elder at Living Hope OPC in Allentown, Pennsylvania, wrote: “Please tell Frank that we really appreciate their sacrifice to get these masks to the United States and help our church. As I have read and reread his note to you, I am reminded of the New Testament churches supporting their brothers in Christ that they did not know personally but would be united to in heaven. Our church prays for the church in Asia, that one day they will be allowed to worship our God without fear of personal persecution.”
Please pray for the saints in Asia who struggle daily. If you have received a supply of masks and would like to encourage our brothers and sisters in their faith, feel free to email your note to David Nakhla.