Last week we shared about Pastor Roberto, a 64-year old pastor in Bolivia who became depressed while under quarantine. Generally a busy extrovert accustomed to days full of meetings, counseling and fellowshipping, Pastor Roberto’s life as he knew it came to an abrupt halt when he was suddenly forced to stay at home and away from other people.

Roberto’s depression was debilitating, preventing him from working a job he was passionate about and from meeting with people he cared for. Soon a colleague, along with Roberto’s son, realized that a couple of tech lessons could be the answer to Roberto’s problem.

The pair decided to teach him how to use WhatsApp, an app used for virtual communication. Since then, the Bolivian pastor is back to his old self, making virtual pastoral visits, contacting church members, connecting with the elderly in his community and continuing his work with the pastoral development program. Learning to break the digital divide can be difficult, but as for Pastor Roberto, it’s been worth the effort.

The leaders of other Bright Hope partner churches in Bolivia are being instructed on developing new skills that will allow them to grow technologically, intellectually and in finding new ways to connect.

MAKING IT PERSONAL

Think about the senior citizens in your community or church. Could any of them feel lonely or depressed because of the stay-at-home quarantine? If so, check out Coronavirus and COVID-19: Caregiving for the Elderly from Hopkinsmedicine.org. This article offers some great tips about how you can help older folks stay connected during the quarantine, including:

  • Show them how to video chat with others using smartphones, laptops or tablets
  • Use apps on these devices to provide captions for adults with hearing challenges
  • Encourage friends and family outside of your household to telephone, write notes or send cards to lift your loved one’s spirits

READ MORE ABOUT BOLIVIA AND COVID-19

Learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting Bolivians:

COVID-19: One Woman’s Journey from Near Death to Life

COVID-19 Update from Bolivia

World Bank facilitates immediate support and resources for the COID-19 emergency in Bolivia

COVID-19 Could Increase Extreme Poverty in Latin America by 22 Million

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