When Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) hit Hong Kong with gale force, Breakthrough reacted quickly. It has launched an Internet videocam service enabling SARS patients to see and talk with their loved ones without contaminating them.
"Because of the quarantine, no visitors are allowed to see the patients except through electronic media," says longtime Breakthrough staffer Sookit Li.
The highly contagious disease makes many patients feel alienated and afraid. "We're still learning how to comfort and support without intruding on their privacy," Li says.
The project, called NetCare, also links hospital chaplains, Christian counselors, and volunteers together to support families in this crisis.
SARS has affected Breakthrough in other ways. The organization postponed its first-ever leadership training program in Shanghai. Li has cancelled monthly trips there in preparation for the Leadership Academy. One Breakthrough staffer's spouse was hospitalized with the disease but has recovered.
"We were hit hard by the SARS tornado," Li says. "Almost every day of the last month, we were handling crisis situations."
Also appearing on our site:
Breakthrough Dancing | A look at one of the most creative youth ministries in Hong Kong—if not the world.
For more stories on missions and church life in China and Hong Kong, see CT's World Report.
CT's previous coverage of SARS includes:
SARS Comes to Church | The deadly illness has changed Asia's church life, but the uncertainty is bringing people to Christ. (May 12, 2003)
Pastor Dies of SARS | Singapore churches on alert. (April 7, 2003)1