UPDATE on COVID-19 and Mission Discovery's Response
March 17, 2020
Once again, we find ourselves in the middle of a perfect storm. We had a similar situation in 2009 with H1N1, a major economic recession, and the sharp spike in drug-related violence in the Mexico border towns where we had many of our projects. By the grace of God, prayer, and thoughtful leadership from our board and staff, we survived the perfect storm!
I feel like once again, we are at those same crossroads. And this time, we will take the same approach. We will trust God's plan and providence, we will pray that God's people will rise up to show a hurting world that the love of Jesus is alive and active. We should look for opportunities to help our neighbors and the less fortunate in our communities. For such a time as this, we were predestined to be here and to be the Light a scared, hurting world is looking for: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2Tim 1:7
At the Mission Discovery office, we will be working remotely, if needed, especially if we are sick. We have had to cancel five spring trips. Four were virus related, and one, Haiti, was canceled for in-country violence. So far, the virus issue has only had a very slight impact on summer trips; please pray it remains this way.
As this situation with the virus seems to morph about every two hours, please join me in prayer for wisdom as we navigate through these difficult times. My desire is that through every aspect of the next few weeks, every portion of Mission Discovery will experience God's hand of favor, and we will once again weather another storm!
Health Concerns for Mission teams
February 27, 2020
Most people are aware of the concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus. If not, the Novel 2019-nCoV coronavirus originated in China and has been spreading to various places around the world. We take the health and safety of our teams seriously, so I’d like to take a moment to address the issue.
This is not the first virus situation that Mission Discovery has had to navigate. We had teams scheduled to travel to areas affected by SARS (sudden acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003, H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009, and Ebola in 2014. In each case, we monitored the situation over the months leading up to the trips and kept the parents and students informed. Viruses, like the flu and corona, can infect people year-round, but outbreaks tend to be seasonal and diminish once warm weather arrives. In the case of SARS and H1N1, the epidemics abated by summer and the mission trips went as planned and without incident.
To date, the only country severely affected by this recent outbreak is China. Is there cause for concern? Yes, it is vital for governments to monitor the virus and determine measures needed to contain the spread. But the reason the recent Novel 2019-nCoV virus is big news is not that it is particularly deadly, but because it is new. Unfortunately, the way the virus has been reported has possibly caused people to overreact. For example, in 2018 & 2019 in the United States, there were an estimated 80,000 flu-related deaths (via CDC). But few people realize the flu's real impact, and it is rarely a news-worthy topic because we know plenty of people who have gotten it and were totally fine.
I realize statistics do not mean much if you are a student and a bit scared about the coronavirus or, as a parent, thinking of your child going overseas and being beyond your protection. Making wise and safe choices for your children is not something to take lightly. We at Mission Discovery take seriously the responsibility of making sure all those who participate in our ministry do so safely. We will not hesitate to divert a team to a safe destination or cancel a trip if needed.
We will monitor the situation closely through the cdc.gov website, travel.state.gov website, country-specific government health websites as well as several cruise ship and airline websites. Each of these sites discuss the precautions being undertaken to keep people and those traveling to and from various locations safe.
As the U.S. prepares for the arrival of the coronavirus, we should all take proper precautions and be informed. We at Mission Discovery will be in contact with our ministry partners and monitor the situation on the ground. Therefore, at this time, we will not be canceling or changing any of our trips. I want to take the time to see how the virus progresses or spreads to other countries before taking such drastic measures.
Lastly, let us realize and take comfort in knowing God is in control. While he gave us the ability to make wise decisions, we don’t know all the facts; He alone reigns and is in control.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6
“The LORD is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” Psalm 27:1
Your prayers are coveted and needed as we navigate through this season. Please know that we will keep you informed of any changes we make.
Trusting in God,
Mission Discovery Inc.