March 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

Greetings from Knysna where we are coming to the end of our first day of a 21-day national “lockdown” due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We can leave our home to seek medical attention should it be needed and once a week to get groceries. Like you, we are trusting the Lord, doing our best to stay safe, and seeking ministry opportunities in this crisis. Thank you for your prayers for Amy, who has finally recovered from the concussion she suffered on February 15. Her recovery was far more extensive than anticipated, but we’re grateful for God’s grace and excellent medical care! We missed getting an update to you in February, mostly due to Amy’s health (she’s the one who puts everything online and prepares the final draft of the letters!) and the fact that the rest of us were a bit overwhelmed having to do even a fraction of what she normally does to keep this household running!

Our ministry here has been largely put on hold, at least in terms of our normal activities. Our Biblical Leadership Institute has suspended classes until at least late-April. Our church plant has had to revert to watching the service on YouTube for Sunday and Thursday Bible study/prayer time over Zoom. It’s times like these which make technology such a blessing! Our involvement with the Deaf School is in abeyance as well since all schools are shut down. Finally, Amy’s computer training classes have stopped mid-term with the hope of finishing later this year. In all of this, however, we trust God and remind ourselves of James 4:13-17. In that passage, James reminds us to submit all planning – even the plan to live! – to the Lord. To not do so is sinful. And so, we trust in God, knowing He holds all things together by His power. And we trust that His will for our lives and our plans is far greater than what we could come enact on our own.

For the near future, we are turning our attention to helping our community. For us, a three-week lockdown, though highly annoying, is something to which we can adjust. However, an inevitable consequence of the lockdown is that many in our town will go hungry and face life-threatening circumstances. The majority of Knysna residents depend on day-to-day work and pay to survive. With everyone forced to stay home, thousands of people will not have money for even basic needs such as food. Many employers are paying their workers as much as possible to soften the blow of not being able to work, but business owners themselves are facing great loss. The government is promising to provide relief, but we know that many will not get the help they need. To that end, we have begun purchasing and distributing “food hampers” to several that we know and minister to or with. A typical food hamper contains enough of the basic food staples to last a small family 3 to 4 weeks. This doesn’t mean they have three meals a day for a month – it means they’ll have enough for one basic meal each day that at least can get them to the next day.

The food hamper providing just one meal a day sounds meager and insufficient, but right now, it’s the best “first step” in giving assistance. The good news is that a 50-pound food hamper only costs about $20. Imagine that – for only $20 we can help a family eat for about one month! Our ministry team has already come together to help purchase several, but we could use help purchasing more. I know that in these times, many of you are going without and having to make your own personal sacrifices. I imagine that perhaps some of you are suffering in your own right. I don’t make this request lightly, and please don’t feel pressure to give. But if in the whirlwind of all this you could spare $20, we would be ever so grateful. If you are interested in helping please send a check made payable to Calvary Baptist Church and in the memo put “Knysna Hope – food hampers.” You can mail the check to the following:

Calvary Baptist Church
Attn: Mary Hampton
1380 South Valley Forge Road
Lansdale PA 19446

It would be helpful if you would also respond to this email and let us know how much you will be giving. We will purchase and deliver hampers if we know how much is coming in for them. Please know those who receive them will be forever grateful.

We are praying for you, and we thank you for praying for us! We cannot imagine what God may have in store, but we trust in His goodness to us, knowing that all things work together to make us more like Jesus Christ. To Him alone be the glory!

With Love and Appreciation,
The Coon Family