Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Recommended Readings: COVID-19 disrupts long-term missionaries

Short-term mission trips canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic are too numerous to document, and these cancellations are happening for obvious reasons: concerns about health and travel restrictions. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting long-term missionaries as well, in a variety of ways. Certainly, many long-term missionaries have seen their work impacted by the pandemic, but many are also facing challenges to even being able to serve as a missionary.

While we may think of long-term missionaries as people who stay in one place for a long time, long-term missionaries may still be quite mobile, and that mobility presents challenges amid the pandemic. UMNS has this story of Cuban missionaries to Angola whose travel for itineration was disrupted by the pandemic and who were almost prevented from returning to their place of service (story in Spanish). At other times, travel restrictions have caused the cancellation of planned itineration trips, as with this German family serving in Malawi (article in German).

Problems with travel and pandemic-related visa restrictions caused a missionary couple from the US serving in the Czech Republic to end their missionary service early. Some governments have recalled their citizens serving abroad as missionaries, including a Global Ministries missionary from Chile and these EMK Weltmission missionaries from Germany.

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic is also preventing some from becoming long-term missionaries in the first place. In one example, Global Ministries has cancelled its 2020 class of international Global Mission Fellows, a two-year program for young-adult missionary service.

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