Coronavirus and Cancelled Travel, Vacations, and Short Term Mission Trips

Is it possible cancelled short term mission trips is a good thing? Is it a disaster?

It seems silly to even say, but the coronavirus has disrupted summer travel plans. This obviously impacts vacations, work trips, and short term mission trips. 

  • Were you supposed to go on a trip that was cancelled?

  • Where were you going for summer vacation? Work trips?

  • Did you help fund a trip that was cancelled?

  • Were you receiving funds for a trip that was cancelled?

  • What are the potential long term implications for missions and development work, for better and for worse?

  • What do you think should be done with the funds, the projects, the staff?

  • Could it be that this is a good thing? Why or why not?

Check out these recent articles and I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.

Should You Cancel Your Summer Travel Plans?

By Catherin Marfin, The Dallas News. 1000 words.

Work trip? Vacation? Domestic or international travel? Road trip? What should we do?

I haven’t heard of any organizations still insisting on sending short termers abroad this summer, but just in case, or in case you are struggling with a decision or in case you’re thinking through the pros and cons of taking a vacation, here are some things to consider. Everything from potential quarantine, travel insurance, to high risk populations. These tips also apply for domestic trips as well.

What do you think?

Cancelled Mission Trips Expected to Have Long Term Fallout

By David Roach, Christianity Today. 1400 words.

Essentially all short term summer mission trips have been cancelled due to health concerns and travel restrictions. This article explores the financial implications of this, as well as the personal implications – as many who go on short term trips cite that experience as their desire to either give in the future, or become missionaries themselves.

Could this be a good thing? Could this finally force the western church to think differently about money, their role abroad, the strength of local churches, and to be creative in engaging in their own neighborhoods? I dare say the answer is yes, but that is not explored in this essay.

What do you think?

Should You Cancel Your Short-Term Mission Trip?

By Mike Easton, Outreach Magazine. 1500 words.

Mike presents his own reasons for why his organization made the decision to cancel summer trips. He also offers suggestions for how other organizations could think through this decision themselves and what the potential implications are.

This is a great quote from the essay, “It’s also important to not put too much stock in the effectiveness of your short-term trip. It might actually take more faith to recognize that God can work without your short-term trip in the lives of those overseas than to go forward with it.”

What do you think?

Witnessing in Place

By Mindy Belz, World Magazine. 2200 words.

This article is not exclusively about short term trips but it addresses staff, funding, and security topics. Here is a rather long quote:

“The whole globe is navigating life under the restrictions and threats of COVID-19…But missionaries who have accepted a calling to serve overseas—seemingly accustomed to hardship duty—also are navigating terrain that’s uniquely new. Most find themselves faced with random shortages of everyday supplies and enduring severe restrictions like curfews and limits on movement, not to mention the menace of the virus itself.

At the same time, the support systems they count on back home are strained. Mission administrators are working under stay-at-home orders, churches no longer meet, and family members themselves are at risk. Back in the States, college-age dependents have no classes to go to or homes they can get to. Aging parents seem more vulnerable than ever and impossible to reach physically. Most organizations have canceled short-term mission trips that provide needed help. Ongoing fundraising in the face of a global economic shutdown is daunting.

“How do we continue to call the North American church to care about the world?” said Matt Allison, director of operations at Serge. “There are acute needs on the U.S. home front, to be sure, but they can become a tunnel that keeps us from seeing the rest of the world in this pandemic.”

What do you think?

Subversive Mobilization: After the Trip Is Canceled

By Shane Bennet, Missions Catalyst. 200 words.

He presents three ideas for how to use the funds not spent on summer trips.

Frankly, I find the ideas a bit on the weak side.

What else could be done with all that money? Like, we’re talking upwards of $2 billion USD.

What do you think?

How Risky is it to Fly? Is There Any Way to Reduce the Risks?

By Laurel Wamsley, NPR Goats and Soda

If you must fly, here are some practical suggestions for how to be as safe as possible. Still, she pretty strongly recommends no flying.

What do you think?

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