Saturday, November 27

Community braces for bad news as church group grows to 332 people

With an increasing number of people connected to the Sāmoa Assemblies of God Church (AOG) requiring hospital care, people of faith are being asked to keep the Covid-19 group in their prayers.

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Staff from the lead agency, The Fono, prepare deliveries to families who are currently isolated due to Covid-19.
Photo: LDR / Supplied

There are now 332 people linked to the church who have tested positive for the delta strain, and Mika warns that there could be some “not so good” news in the coming days.

“Next week is going to be quite difficult for the church,” he said. “We have people in the ICU and in the hospital, and the best case scenario is that we see that they all recover and improve, so we would appreciate that people of faith pray for them.”

While Mika was unable to reveal how many are currently in the hospital, he said members will hold a series of prayer vigils for those in need of intensive care. “We hope for the best, but we also hope that not so good things will happen.”

The group grew out of a combined rally, attended by more than 500 people, with the attendance of several other churches. The event took place on Sunday, August 15, two days before the first case of the Delta community was detected and the country was locked up.

The racist abuse directed at the church last week left the community feeling “quite stressed and overwhelmed,” Mika said. The spin-off.

Speaker Jerome Mika at a test station for Assembly of God congregations in Māngere.

Jerome Mika, spokesperson for the Sāmoa Assemblies of God Church.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Mika said he was surprised to hear Judith Collins accuse him of launching “personal attacks” on behalf of the Labor Party after he told a reporter that no one from the church had heard from her.

“Who is this leader of the Pacific?” said yesterday the national leader in parliament. “Oh, the Vice Chairman of the Labor Party, Jerome Mika! Oh, also, the 2014 Labor Party candidate in Papakura, who came in second. So that’s the level they come down to.”

Mika said he was disappointed by the comments, which included Collins wrongly suggesting: “Stuff now they have removed that story from their website, because they finally realized they were sold a puppy. “

But given his deep ties to the church, his father is currently a minister in the church’s North Shore congregation, confident that most people in the Pacific will understand that his role is not political.

“A journalist asked me a yes or no question if Judith had contacted me, to which I said ‘no’, so it was not an attack on her. It is just a sign of a desperate politician trying to validate his Pacific credentials.

“I am the son of an AOG minister and I have various positions in the South Auckland community, so I am not doing this for the Labor Party.”

The government just announced a $ 26 million increase to support Pacific communities during the current outbreak.

In a statement, Deputy Minister of Health Aupito William Sio said the investment would allow for more targeted support to be channeled through the Pacific health and disability services.

“E fofo e le alamea le alame, the solutions to our challenges lie within communities. I am proud of our suppliers, leaders, communities and aiga del Pacífico for striving for each to play their part to keep us all safe.” said.

‘It’s been pretty sad at times’ – charity

Since the first shutdown, The Fono has been one of the leading agencies supporting people from the Pacific who have Covid-19 or who isolate themselves at home.

The Auckland-based Pacific-led social service provider supports those referred through the Auckland Regional Public Health Service and its Whānau Ora manager Europe Kupu said his team finds the work “very rewarding” .

“We have been supporting families with food support, financial assistance and we also have a mental health team that can sort them through the stress of being isolated,” he said.

“At times it has been quite sad, as some families have had to separate so that some can isolate themselves while others have to stay at home. We had a situation where a 19-year-old girl had to take care of three of her younger children. siblings at home while their parents were at MIQ. “

In addition to helping pay bills, deliver essential items, and do daily wellness checks, the organization has also been providing MIQ members with games for kids and traditional Pacific Islander food.

“Sometimes the food that the hotel serves is not what our elders are used to, so they have ordered food from the Pacific, like corned beef and tuna and things that they can cook themselves. It’s these little things that can make your stay more manageable. “

Despite the additional risks posed by the Delta variant, the team is passionate about supporting its fellow Pacific community members during this time, Kupu said.

“Our workers really go beyond the call of duty to get the packages there and just call them and see what else is needed. It is a very rewarding job, especially when we see how grateful people are and listen to their happy children.”

For Mika and the church group, the focus remains on ensuring that the growing contact list is tracked and that all unvaccinated church members are vaccinated as soon as possible.

“I’m working with the church on their contact lists, connecting them with social services, and we’ve also set up two testing stations for members. And we should soon have a better idea of ​​the extent of the outbreak.”

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