Thought I would get a quick word out about how things in my GFM world are being impacted by the Corona Virus. I’m grateful for how the semester has been moving along. I had originally planned a less travel-intensive Feb-Mar-April in order to get after some much needed fundraising. Last year at this time I was traveling to every Central Area campus (NE, KS, IA, MO). This spring I have only two trips planned. I also have a fundraising trip on my calendar for later this month. It will most likely stay in the schedule unless something drastic changes with the people I plan to visit in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
What is InterVarsity telling you at this point?
National leaders are keeping watch on the spread of Corona and encouraging staff across the U.S. to stay informed via news – especially regular briefings from the Center For Disease Control and also those from the World Health Organization. They are encouraging wise decision making about conferences and events and staying in close communication with hosting facilities. InterVarsity is not recommending any particular travel policy or restrictions at this point. If staff need to change plans concerning non-essential travel based on local/regional circumstances, they are encouraged to do so with the approval of their supervisor.
What about overseas travel?
“Regarding InterVarsity’s international programs, our Overseas Crisis Management Team monitors and assesses risk every summer. We have redirected two East Asia GPs and one Study Abroad student trip to other countries; otherwise, most other programs are moving forward as planned.”
A few things worth saying (comments about our posture)
- We are calm, while continuing to realistically assess risk.
- At the same time, we are sensitive to others who may be suffering from increased anxiety. We are sensitive to how this is playing out in different contexts – from emptied grocery stores and supply shortages in parts of California to fully stocked shelves and relative calm in parts of the Midwest. Let’s lean into compassion for the various contexts that InterVarsity touches.
- We are more concerned for others who are sick with this (and other illnesses) rather than overly concerned about our own well-being. There is a powerful history of Christians caring for sick neighbors during outbreaks far worse than this.
- This situation has people thinking about their own mortality and fears. The shell keeping people from deep conversations is a bit thinner. Our ministry continues, and our desire continues to be that people experience the real hope of Christ at a time when there is so much hopelessness.
Am I worried about Covid 19? I am concerned. Anyone who does a people intensive ministry with lots of travel should be vigilant. In the non-ministry world of my family, I’m looking forward to my grand-daughter’s second birthday next month, my oldest son’s defense of his dissertation two days after Poppy’s birthday, and my youngest son’s graduation from Central High School in May. I’m making sure Corona knows it’s not welcome at any of our birthday parties, graduation celebrations or Easter!
I like the point our national leaders make reminding us that Christians have historically served well in circumstances like this. The way of Jesus is a way of self-sacrifice for others more needy. May Christ-following believers all over the globe continue to do so as we pray and take action to protect human flourishing. Thanks for your prayers. Thanks for your financial partnership!