I greet you in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As our communities and nations wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at International Ministries (IM) join with believers around the world in praying for God’s mercy and healing on those affected by the virus, and for divine wisdom and grace for those working to contain its spread.
I am grateful to report that, at this time, there are no reported or suspected cases of COVID-19 amongst IM personnel either at home or abroad. However, as an organization, IM is taking prompt and precautionary action in keeping with the latest available information from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control. IM’s home office employees have been instructed to work remotely unless business reasons require their physical presence in the office, to cancel non-essential business travel, and to self-isolate for two weeks after any business or personal travel. IM’s global servants have been instructed to cancel planned trips through April to countries that have been flagged by the CDC at Risk Assessment Levels 2 and 3, to limit and obtain area director approval for essential travel to other regions, and to avoid non-essential large gatherings. We undertake such measures not only to safeguard our own health and wellness, but also in view of the impact our choices may have on friends and people around us.
I want to assure you that IM’s operations and mission will continue during this time. For home office personnel, clear lines of communications and reporting have been established to ensure that our work—especially our support functions for the needs of our global servants, staff, volunteers, international partners, and you, our friends—can proceed with minimal disruption. Likewise, IM global servants remain on the field and persist in their work of sharing the gospel and ministering to those in need.
Indeed, as in previous times of trouble, IM global servants have been able to parlay their long-term presence and partnership in the affected regions to provide timely assistance. Beginning in January, IM global servants and partners in Asia and North America, in cooperation with local churches, responded to the growing COVID-19 crisis by coordinating the delivery of needed medical supplies to China. Generous donations to the One Great Hour of Sharing Coronavirus fund made this effort possible.
IM has provided more than 9,500 coveralls to 6 hospitals in Wuhan and Nanjing in partnership with Amity Foundation in China. The banner says Amity Foundation and North America partners donate medical supplies in Coronavirus relief.
We covet your prayers as we continue working cross-culturally towards God’s kingdom of healing, health, and wellness on earth as it is in heaven. Even as we have seen news of panic and hoarding, we have also seen IM global servants and believers around the world bear witness to the gospel through their generosity, steadfastness, and incarnational presence. Please pray for us to hold fast to the constancy of God in these uncertain times and to be covered by God’s wisdom, compassion, and protection as we continue our work.
If you find yourself sequestered at home and in search of something to read, consider catching up on IM’s missionary journals. These journals remind us that our God has been actively at work before and during the present moment; may they bring us comfort and courage.
With God’s guidance, may we all proceed in this challenging season with caution, but not fear, and always with hope.
Rev. Sharon T. Koh