IBSA has postponed three international mission trips in response to COVID-19 pandemic. Trips to Jamaica, Asia, and London have been delayed until later in the summer in hopes the virus will decline with warmer temperatures, said Brad Lovin, IBSA’s administrative director of mobilization.
“These decisions are meant to ensure we steward resources and time well for international missions,” Lovin said. “IBSA will continue to monitor developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak to further adjust mission opportunities in consideration of health and safety risks.”
The Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) is encouraging all mission volunteers from U.S. churches to postpone international mission-trip travel through April 30 at least.
“This situation is changing moment-by-moment,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood. “We just don’t know where a group might be delayed or which countries may not allow international travelers to enter or exit.
“We’ve already had to cancel several overseas meetings due to sudden travel bans and challenges associated with government-imposed quarantines. This recommendation for delayed mission-trip travel is temporary, but we believe it is necessary at this time.”
The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has postponed all events until April 30, and suspended staff and missionary travel until the same date. Churches and individuals that had signed up for a NAMB mission trip through April 30 were notified those trips have also been postponed.
On March 11, President Donald Trump announced a ban on most travel to the U.S. from much of Europe. Trump has since expanded the travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland, and has advised Americans against unnecessary travel.
Even before IMB’s travel announcement, the missions agency had appointed a task force to communicate with field personnel and church mission teams about COVID-19. In a press release, IMB said the group will recommendations to churches based on personal health risks, risks of spreading the virus, and the possibility of quarantine or delay by local governments including the U.S.
“We are thankful for the churches that partner with our IMB personnel around the world. The churches and their mission teams are vital to our work,” Chitwood said. “This is an unusual time for all of us, but we know that God is sovereign and that his work will not be stopped by this virus.”
-Illinois Baptist, with information from the International Mission Board