At the beginning of May, the Free Church of Scotland's Mission Board received an urgent request from partners in India seeking financial assistance to help mitigate the local impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown. The Board quickly decided to launch a month-long public appeal which has seen a fantastic response exceeding all expectations.
The Mission Board had initially agreed to match the first £5000 raised while the Government would also contribute 25%, through the Gift Aid scheme, on top of donations given by those who had indicated that they were UK taxpayers.
Donations and Gift Aid declarations are currently being processed but it is likely the total will break £40,000.
Since the close of the appeal on the 30th of May some of the money has already been put to good use locally. Funds have been used primarily for distributing 1200 "One Month Grocery Kits" to 1200 families of 15 different locations in Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The salaries of local church workers and schools have also been paid.
Mission Board Chairman Rev. Bob Akroyd said, "As the Appeal for India comes to a close, there has been a remarkable, indeed unprecedented, response."
"First and foremost, we thank God for working in the hearts of his people here in Scotland and in India. Secondly, we recognise and give thanks for the generosity of God's people - so many have felt compelled to give both small amounts and large."
"Finally, we want to pray for our brothers and sisters in India that they might know God's blessing and appreciate the love and support of their fellow Christians in the Free Church of Scotland. As we pray for others, I hope we can heed the exhortation of John Wesley spoken many years ago, "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
The Free Church of Scotland has been supporting ministries in India for many years and hopes to continue to help at this difficult time.
Below are two videos created by Mr Pradeep Kumar showing some of the local work.