MISSIONARY LIFE AND WORK IN LIGHT OF COVID-19
ANSWERING THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS BEING ASKED ABOUT OUR MISSIONARIES
All of us have been affected in different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve received numerous questions about how the subsequent lockdowns have affected the welfare and the day-to-day work of our missionaries.
1. How has COVID-19 affected WO’s missionaries?
Most of us are not accustomed to isolation, shortages, and uncertain times, but these are fairly normal conditions for most of our missionaries. In the last 12 months, some of our missionaries have endured devastating earthquakes, catastrophic cyclones, violent insurgencies and political instability. However, the COVID-related lockdown has added a new layer of complexity, which, as mature and faithful people, our missionaries are capably adapting to.
Almost all our missionaries are in some form of lockdown, though it varies from country to country. We ask all our personnel, both local and expatriate, to adhere to the requirements of local authorities, and to take necessary measures and precautions to minimise any exposure to, or transmission of, the virus.
2. How are the missionaries continuing their ministry?
The majority of missionaries are unable to minister face-to-face because of the lockdown restrictions, which has forced them to think creatively (outside the box) about how to continue their ministry. Many are doing discipleship and leadership development on-line.
Others have seen the Lord open new opportunities to assist those most affected by COVID in practical ways. Many missionaries have obtained permission from their local authorities to distribute food, medicine and basic supplies to the most vulnerable. This has brought remarkable results in places like Pakistan, Egypt, India, Thailand and Mozambique.
One of our missionaries in a sensitive country recently wrote:
‘COVID-19 has become a boon for the houses churches. It seems they have hit pay-dirt, as multiplication in the last two months has been beyond the wildest thoughts I’ve had. Every house church has multiplied by at least five times.’
Another missionary wrote how the care they’re giving to the poor has opened unprecedented doors into communities that, up to this point, have not been responsive to the gospel.
One of our missionaries in Indonesia wrote that ‘…during one of the food parcel hand-outs, we had the opportunity to pray for a man whose shoulders were frozen. He was not able to lift his hands above his head. After praying for him, we all rejoiced as he lifted his hands up high.’
3. Have World Outreach missionaries had to come ‘home’ from the field?
No, almost all our missionaries have remained on the field. The decision for a missionary to come home or stay on the field is made by them in consultation with their field leaders and home church. Even though many countries have requested their citizens to return home, WO missionaries are not visitors or tourists, but long-term residents of their host countries.
However, a handful have had to return home because the currency in their home country has collapsed, making it financially impractical to stay on the field. Rather than succumbing to this circumstance, they will in faith be actively seeking to raise a sufficient level to return to the field as soon as possible.
4. Is World Outreach continuing to send missionaries?
Naturally, everyone’s plans are on hold, but World Outreach continues to process new applications for missions service. Some pre-field training is done on-line, though the Nations (missionary preparation) course has had to be rescheduled for 2021. We’re continuing to plan for future new initiatives to unreached people groups. We fully anticipate that once the restrictions are eased, new missionaries will again be able to go to their fields.
5. What are the financial implications for missionaries throughout the COVID crisis?
A number of our missionaries have had their personal support affected because some of their financial partners have been affected by the consequences of COVID crisis. Our website and country offices are still actively processing donations to missionaries and projects.
Also, with the unprecedented opportunities we have to provide food and basic necessities for vulnerable families, we set up a special COVID-19 appeal to help provide resources for the missionaries. If you’d like to contribute, please press here.
6. What can I do to help?
- If you support a World Outreach missionary or project, please continue your faithful support. It is more necessary now than ever. GIVE TO OUR COVID APPEAL HERE
- If you haven’t already done so, please join our daily prayer network called Frontline Prayer. This provides you with daily, up-to-date prayer needs from the field. Click here to sign up.
- Please continue to pray fervently for the missionaries, their families, their ministry, the unreached people group they’re engaging and the country in which they service.
On behalf of the entire team at World Outreach, our heartfelt thanks for your partnership, prayer and interest in our work to the unreached people groups.