Below is a sample of the email that was sent to all of our Partners regarding the suspension of GO Teams…
I am praying as I write this email that it finds you all well and at peace. As the Coronavirus spreads rapidly across our world we are praying against a spirit of fear and that God would use His church to bring light and hope into dark places.
Currently the state of Georgia has reported 42 cases so far and our first death yesterday. Yesterday afternoon the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Global Travel Advisory of Level 3 which means they are encouraging all Americans to ‘Reconsider Travel’ outside the US. The CDC reports that, “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.” In addition, the US is increasing its limitations for travelers re-entering its borders from other countries and quarantine restrictions. Many countries where our partners serve are also starting to place restrictions on travel from foreign nationals.
For this reason, our Strategy Team has had to make the very difficult decision to suspend all travel for both domestic and international 2020 Compassion GO Teams indefinitely. We believe it is simply not wise or practical at this point for our teams to travel. We do not want to put our ministry partners or their communities at unnecessary risk by unintentionally spreading the virus ourselves – especially in places where there is already limited resources to respond to those in need. In many cases it is also reasonable to presume at this point that our teams would be too limited in their activities to be effective in carrying out ministry in the field. This is a burden we do not wish to place on the shoulders of our partners in the field.
Practically, what does this mean for the GO Teams who were planning to visit you this year?
- No steps will be taken to finalize travel plans for our teams until the restrictions on travel and/or re-entry are lifted. Essentially, everything related to our GO Team’s preparation is ‘on pause’ until further notice.
- This pause includes all support raising, financial deadlines and meetings for trips. We are encouraging our teams to use this time to serve our local communities. Compassion is proactively putting systems in place to serve the most vulnerable among us and those who will be affected economically and otherwise.
- We would ask you to please hold off on any in-country plans for our teams including airfare and lodging reservations etc. until further notice.
Does this mean that the team(s) are not coming?
- All GO Teams scheduled to travel between now and May 31st are officially postponed. After that, we will address each team on a case by case basis as soon as it’s practical.
- As soon as any changes are made to the status of your team and it is possible for us to move forward with their travel plans or reschedule we will contact you directly and work through next steps for preparation. We know that a pause on preparations now may mean that even if it is possible for the team to travel on their originally scheduled dates a postponement may be necessary in order to complete preparations on both sides. We will work with you when the time comes to decide together when it is reasonably possible for the team to travel.
- We are relying on your wisdom regarding whether it makes sense in your context for the team to travel. If restrictions are lifted here, but you feel it would be unwise or an undue burden on you to host a team, please don’t hesitate to share that with us. If your area is being affected by the virus we know that it will need to be your priority to serve your community.
Please let us know how you are and how you, your family or ministry may be affected by this pandemic. We want to support you in any way possible through strategic prayer or resources to respond in your communities!
We are praying that God would be made known throughout the world in this situation and use each of us to share the hope of Christ to those who are seeking it now. While our world is hurting, we know this is an incredible Kingdom opportunity. May we each do our part to be sure that His church brings Him glory!