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Caring for WGM Missionaries During COVID-19

Caring for WGM Missionaries During COVID-19

With the COVID-19 situation continuing to develop at different rates around the globe, we know you likely have questions about how everything affects World Gospel Mission and the people connected to our organization. We are doing our best to take care of our missionaries during this season of uncertainty. We have answered some questions you may be asking right now below.

1. How does COVID-19 impact WGM missionaries?

For over 100 years, WGM missionaries have been serving in ministry locations impacted by natural disaster, war, political unrest, and other challenging situations. At World Gospel Mission, we seek to bring the message of hope through the Gospel while also working to mitigate unnecessary risk to our missionaries as they meet the needs of those they serve. The entire globe has found itself in an unprecedented time as it responds to the COVID-19 situation. WGM is committed to taking measures that consider the safety and well-being of its missionaries as well as being intentional in the communities we serve and partner with.

2. Are WGM missionaries returning home from the field?

The decision for a missionary to come home or stay on the field is made by them in consultation with their local and regional WGM leadership under guidelines established by the WGM COVID-19 task force. Additionally, a missionary’s presence in their host country may be affected by local laws and regulations. Each missionary’s situation is unique, and WGM is assisting them individually in making this decision.

3. Is COVID-19 impacting missionaries’ access to services from World Gospel Mission?

The World Gospel Mission headquarters in Marion, Indiana, is still functioning. However, we have asked all employees who are able to work remotely to do so in order to increase social distancing and decrease exposure. We are grateful that technology allows WGM staff to continue to serve our missionaries without interruption, as they meet with them using Zoom, phone, and email. Additionally, our Member Health team is providing care and counsel, and Area Team Leaders continue to care for teams and members in their ministry locations.

5. Is World Gospel Mission continuing to send missionaries to the field?

WGM continues to mobilize and prepare people for where God is calling them. Some missionaries may delay their departure dates due to changes in training and fundraising. Once the uncertainties of COVID-19 have passed, we will continue to send out those whom God has called.

6. Are there any financial implications to missionaries serving in areas impacted by COVID-19?

WGM’s Financial Service Team is still processing checks and sending receipts. The impact of COVID-19 on our office and disruptions to other services outside our control may impact the turnaround for processing gifts. With this in mind, we ask that missionary supporters consider giving via EFT (electronic funds transfer) through our website (www.wgm.org) to ensure prompt processing of gifts. Our Financial Services Team is available to assist with this at donations@wgm.org or 765-664-7331.

For our missionaries serving around the world, COVID-19 may impact their financial expenses, causing their expenses to increase. Such an increase could be the result of rising expenses in-country, supporting local ministries, and serving a local community which is being significantly impacted by COVID-19.

For our missionaries fundraising in the U.S. and preparing to serve in their ministry location, COVID-19 may impact their financial expenses as events, church gatherings, and conferences have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. These cancellations also may impact when they can attend training as well as their departure dates, which may be affected by the U.S. State Department’s statement on March 19 regarding traveling internationally. Currently WGM is advising our missionaries not to plan any international travel due to the real possibility of getting stranded trying to make a connecting flight en route.

7. How does COVID-19 impact the individuals serving as volunteers (1–12 months of service) or on teams (1– 2 weeks) with WGM?

WGM has postponed travel for teams and volunteers planning to depart between now and April 30. For individual volunteers currently serving abroad who are planning to return between now and August 1, we are encouraging them to heed the State Department’s advisory posted on March 19 and make arrangements to return to the US immediately. A decision has not yet been made for teams and volunteers planning to serve in May or after, but we are continuing to monitor the situation and will make adjustments as needed.

8. What can I do to help?

Please join us in praying for all those affected by the COVID-19 situation, especially those who are more vulnerable to the virus. Lift up those in government leadership and the healthcare industry who are working hard to keep the disease under control. And please pray that the body of Christ would be His hands and feet as we continue to spread the hope of the Gospel.

As an act of encouragement, please reach out to any missionaries you support—with World Gospel Mission or any other organization. A Scripture verse, prayer, or word of reassurance will go a long way, as will simply offering them your time and a listening ear. We are all depending on the personal relationships we have during this season of uncertainty, and missionaries are no exception.

I am encouraged by the fact that adversity makes us stronger, not weaker.  When we appear on the other side of this situation, you will be stronger, your missionaries will be stronger, and WGM as an organization will be stronger.

I am also encouraged by the fact that in times of adversity, people who do not know Christ turn to him in far greater numbers than any other time.  This will be a year in which your impact on the lives of lost people around the world will dramatically increase through your missionaries.

Serving Him with You,

Dr. Dan Schafer
President of World Gospel Mission

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