ESUMC mission coordinator Andree van Rooy announced on Sunday, 19 April during morning devotions that ESUMC made a special €1,500 grant to the Methodist mission in Macedonia. The grant comes from the ESUMC mission fund. Due to poverty, bad economy, internal strife, and lack of good infrastructure, Macedonia has been particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ESUMC grant will be utilized to support several United Methodist projects which are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic – the Miss Stone Center in Strumica, the Roma children’s school and project in Ohrid, and a feeding program in Radovis. Read more about the Macedonia mission’s ministry below.
Martin Konev reports from Diakonie Macedonia, “Miss Stone Zentrum”:
‘Today begins the second month the huge challenge of Coronavirus. Unfortunately, the number of new infections increases daily. Through bad politics of the state and the state Institutions Macedonia finds itself at a collapse and without any help from the outside world, cannot emerge from this crisis.
Our Minister of Health admitted publicly that there are no measures to overcome the crisis. At the same time, the Minister of Health opened a bank account through which citizens can make donations towards handling the crisis. For other countries this might sound like a ludicrous decision, but for us this is a reality because Macedonia finds itself in full quarantine and only the food industry and other vital businesses are in operation while other economic sectors are not functioning anymore. The workers/employees have to satisfy themselves with a minimum wage or they are retrenched. We at “Miss Stone” Centre also experience huge problems, for example, increases in food prices but also the absence of certain products. As a result of vegetable and fruit markets being closed, we have an additional problem. Because of drastic limitations on movement, we have compounded problems. Since our leader and cook have to get up at four in the morning to start the work we do, they have to apply to the Police services, under difficult circumstances, for special permits. This was hardly granted, when we were presented with the main problem that many needy recipients of the meals on wheels are over 67 years of age and they are only allowed to be outside between 6-11 in the morning. For this reason, the meals have to be prepared earlier and be ready by 10:00. This puts a lot of stress on our kitchen staff, who up until now, first cooked for the “Meals on Wheels” and then cooked the food for Radovis. Now, the cooking has to happen parallel. We were, therefore, compelled to hire an extra vehicle.’
The measures laid down by the country are working. The protection measures, which we have to adopt, and the facemasks which we have made, are bearing fruit: Until now we have no Coronavirus cases, either amongst the recipients of these meals or amongst the co-workers. However, also here we have taken extra measures that have not been planned into the budget, such as protective clothing and expensive disinfectants. An additional measure is the replacement of our old thermal dishes with disposable containers. We have done this on hygienic grounds, since the ceramic dishes that we were using up until now carry with them a danger of infection with the coronavirus which we could bring back with us to our kitchens. We have to prevent infection at all costs. Unfortunately, it is also very difficult to find appropriate food containers. The ones we have tested thus far do not maintain the heat of the food. Here too, we urgently need help.
Thanks for donations
We are grateful to God that He has protected us thus far and has given us the strength in these difficult times. We thank all our donors who, through their support, help us to touch those who need our help the most.
Account: Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche in Österreich
IBAN: AT57 2081 5000 0095 2523
Please mark the bank transfer as ‘Diakonija Makedonija’.
The bank details for the United Methodist mission in Macedonia are below:
Martin Konev is the Project Coordinator of Diakonie Macedonia “Miss Stone” Centre in Strumica.