Many churches are adapting to COVID-19. You’re meeting in smaller groups, worshipping online, and caring for your community. In this stressful and anxious time, it’s important to remember your missionaries too. Here’s what you need to know about missionaries overseas—and how your church can continue supporting and caring for them during the coronavirus pandemic.
How Missionaries Are Caring for Themselves
The health and safety of missionaries, long-term volunteers, and other international staff members is important to Resonate Global Mission, World Renew, and the CRCNA. We are making informed decisions and helping to support them as they care for themselves.
Missionaries are taking precautions.
Missionaries and long-term volunteers in the field are taking similar precautions to those in Canada and the United States. They are washing their hands, staying home as much as possible, and physically distancing themselves from others while remaining connected to colleagues, friends, and those in their communities electronically.
Missionaries are adapting to COVID-19.
Many missionaries rely on travel, one-on-one meetings, and large and small group gatherings for ministry. Much of this travel and in-person ministry has been canceled or postponed, but missionaries are finding creative ways to adapt and respond to new needs in their communities. Things are changing day by day (even hour to hour) during this pandemic, but here’s a glimpse of how Resonate missionaries are adapting throughout the world.
They are prepared in the event of social upheaval.
There is potential for some countries to experience social and political upheaval during the coronavirus, and all international staff and long-term volunteers are making preparations. They are checking to make sure passports and visas are all up-to-date, purchasing food to last at least two weeks, buying enough fuel, making necessary repairs, and packing a bag in case they need to leave immediately.
Missionaries are not traveling for Re-Connect.
The CRNCA suspended all international and domestic travel for staff until health services are lifted. Some missionaries were scheduled for Re-Connect (formerly known as Home Service) during these upcoming months. They will not be traveling to churches in Canada and the United States. They will be remaining in their country of service and seeking alternative ways to connect with churches. If you’re not sure what your missionary’s plans are, get in touch and ask.
How You Can Help Care for Missionaries
While missionaries are disappointed that they will not be able to visit your church in-person as planned, there are ways you and your congregation can care for international staff and long-term volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay updated on their host country.
While you’re checking for updates on COVID-19, check in on the country where your missionary is serving. What effects is the coronavirus having on their host country? Let them know you’ve been staying updated.
Ask if they have any needs.
Ask your missionary if they have any needs your church can help meet. They might have a special ministry project that will help them serve their community during the coronavirus pandemic, or they might have a personal need.
Pray for them.
Ask your missionary if they have any specific prayer requests. Let them know you’re praying for them and check in to see how God is responding to their requests. Share prayer requests from your church and community too.
Keep lines of communication open. Just remember: some missionaries live in countries where it’s illegal or unsafe to share the gospel. Make sure you’re following guidelines for communicating with them safely.
Continue to share updates from your missionary with your church.
As missionaries and volunteers send prayer letters and updates, find a way to share them with your congregation: forward updates through email or share updates verbally through online gatherings. Again, some missionaries live in countries with security concerns. Make sure you're following guidelines for communicating about their ministry safely.
Invite them to worship with you.
Is your church gathering for worship online? Invite your missionary to join you—you could even give them an opportunity to share about their ministry and what life looks like for them during the pandemic.
How are you supporting missionaries during COVID-19? Share ideas in the comments below.