No one expected just a few weeks ago that we would be seeing massive halt in global travel and commerce. Needless to say, the COVID-19 crisis creates an exceptional set of challenges for an organization like ABWE—and impacts nearly every one of our 1,000 missionaries serving in 84 countries.
Members of our headquarters staff have been working around the clock to respond to unprecedented needs—addressing critical health questions, giving spiritual care to missionaries who are enduring isolation and high-levels of stress, providing travel and evacuation logistics, and empowering field leaders to quickly make wise decisions to preserve the longevity of their teams and ministries.
For 93 years, we have existed to serve our missionary family with practical ministry support.
For many of our missionaries, this support has never been more critical.
In response to the global COVID-19 crisis, ABWE has taken the following steps:
- We have formed a Crisis Management Team (CMT), meeting daily to evaluate and respond to the specific risks our missionaries face.
- We have canceled on-site events. In several cases, we were able to convert these events into a virtual format, so that we can continue to mobilize global workers.
- We have advised our global workforce on practical travel guidelines based on their location, and we have instituted a process to ensure that all remaining plans are thoroughly vetted by leadership.
- We have mobilized our Member Care team to provide support and housing recommendations for the many college-age missionary kids and third-culture kids left without living arrangements with the number of colleges and universities now shut down. This team is also providing missionaries spiritual encouragement through video conferencing appointments with the team.
But more must be done. Our teams serving in places across the globe where healthcare systems are poor are facing obstacles getting medical staff they need and obtaining necessary supplies. Our medical missionaries are preparing triage areas and training personnel, but it is only the beginning.
In South Asia, for instance, the COVID-19 crisis has come on the heels of a major hospital renewal in a developing country with millions already in dire medical need.
ABWE is adapting to these new challenges while serving our missionaries and furthering the Great Commission. But to do all these things, your missionaries need your continued support.
We know that where man sees obstacles, our sovereign God sees opportunities.
In 1968, when our missionaries in South Asia were stricken with a new strain of hepatitis and bedridden for up to six months, that team used their downtime to begin a new Bible translation. As a result, today there is a complete Bible in Bengali.
God is working all things together for our good and his glory (Rom. 8:28). He declares the end from the beginning because he purposefully planned it (Isaiah 46:10). And in spite of our fears, we are more than conquerors in his Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:37).
In light of this, we remain undaunted in our commitment to care for our missionaries and serve our God.
Thank you for your support. We also remember you in our prayers, as we are all too aware that we are not the only ones affected by these events.
For more information on ABWE and COVID-19, visit www.abwe.org/coronavirus.