The Outreach Team has been monitoring closely the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as the novel Coronavirus. Our first priority has been to work with our ministry partners in China and the surrounding region who are at risk of sustained exposure to ensure that our church is providing the necessary resources and support to them in this extremely difficult time. Your prayers for these families are greatly appreciated. As you know, the nature and spread of the disease is changing daily. There is still much that is unknown about what the future holds, so we are focused what we know to be true and the things that are in our control.
We will be
sending emails to each of your teams by the end of this week with a similar
statement regarding Compassion Outreach’s response. Here are some answers to
common questions that will be helpful as you speak with your team members and
their loved ones…
How will Compassion decide whether or not to send a GO Team?
· First, we will not make decisions about the future based in fear (Matt 6:34). It is too early at this stage for most of our international teams to make a decision about whether it is safe to travel. We can always cancel a trip, but we can’t make changes once it is cancelled. So we will move forward with caution until it becomes clear that it would be unwise to continue on a case by case basis for each team. Early Teams whose funding deadlines have been postponed will receive direct communication from us through Managed Missions.
· We are monitoring daily the numerous resources at our disposal in order to make informed decisions as the time for travel nears for our teams:
o CDC Travel advisories: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. At this time none of the countries where we plan to send Teams in 2020 have travel advisories.
o News outlets – in particular local media in the countries where our teams will be traveling. We gather our news from multiple US and international sources to attempt to gain a balanced and objective perspective on the potential risk.
o Our Ministry Partners on the ground are best equipped to give up to date and balanced insight into the current reality where they live and serve. Our partners are extremely conscientious of the safety of our teams and will err on the side of caution when it comes to encouraging our teams to come.
What will happen to the funds team members raised if their trip is cancelled?
· Because all funds given toward our teams are tax deductible donations they are non-refundable. However, if Compassion Outreach decides to cancel a trip, the entirety of the funds raised including deposits will be held in the team member’s name for use on a trip in 2021. If a team member is considering not going on their trip they should notify the Outreach Team as soon as possible and their funding will be addressed on a case by case basis.
When will GO Teams know if their trip is going to be postponed/cancelled?
· As much as possible we will decide at the time of the team’s 100% funding deadline whether or not the team will travel – before airfare is purchased. That said, we will continue to monitor the situation for each team up until the time of departure and make decisions as needed on a case by case basis.
We are taking this threat very seriously and know that we have a great responsibility as we lead and send. It is of no benefit to our partners or those they serve to put our teams at unnecessary risk. However, sadly it looks like this virus will be with us for a while and as you know there are confirmed cases in the US – including our own state. In God’s Kingdom Jesus made clear that we will not be insulated from the troubles of the world, but that we should face those troubles with courage and eyes fixed firmly on the One who risked it all for us (John 16:33). We are committed to being obedient to the call He has given our church and each of our GO Team members as ‘goers’. Please pray with us for all those affected and for wisdom as we move forward. Our world is in desperate need of hope – let us pray that His church would be used to bring Him glory.
If you have questions or concerns
about your team please feel free to reach out to me or Sarah directly.
Likewise, if you encounter Team Members who have questions not answered here,
please refer them to Sarah or myself.
Thank you for your leadership and commitment to these teams – we are so grateful for you!