By Kim Cruise
Missions discipleship specialist, Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union
While COVID-19 spreads sickness and death across many countries, responses vary, but the most common response is fear. Fear of a loved one contracting the virus and suffering alone because no visitors are allowed. Fear of doctors and nurses being spread too thinly to meet the needs. Fear of retirement savings being reduced to a pittance. Fear of not being able to pay this month’s bills or provide food for the family. Virtually no one is untouched by this pandemic.
Missionaries who are serving far from home are in a unique situation. Missionaries, with few exceptions, are helpers and givers. That’s why they have left everything to give the gospel and serve through meeting human needs in a myriad of ways. Being told to stay at home while surrounded by so many dire needs, many struggle with the tough decision: “Do I follow government and WHO advice, or do I take the risk and go help anyways? When I chose to follow Christ, wasn’t there an inherent risk involved?” During our years of service in the Philippines, we were often called upon to be the “ambulance” since most families do not own a vehicle. What does a missionary do when asked to drive a seriously ill person to the hospital but doing so may risk their own family’s lives? This is the same basic issue facing frontline doctors and nurses right now.
Many missionaries serve in countries where the income and standard of living is far, far below that of America. They often use portions of their own support to help the poor around them with medical expenses, food, etc. With many businesses closing down, those who live “hand to mouth” have no savings and will suffer the most. Missionaries often feel overwhelmed with the needs around them and that is going to be multiplied exponentially right now. Ask if they need extra funds right now to help out and take up a special offering to help them help others. [Read more…]