This is strange and difficult time and, in many ways, we are heading into uncharted territory. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership, to let you know how COVID-19 is affecting our work around the world, and finally, to ask how we might serve you in the days ahead.
We are taking the concerns presented by COVID-19 very seriously. This is a rapidly evolving and mostly unprecedented situation, so we are continually monitoring and reassessing our response. At the moment we are limiting our nonessential travel, and making preparations to work remotely if need be. As a trusted partner in this work, we will continue to update you if things change.
Currently, there is no immediate threat to our participating communities. In fact, most of the African countries where we work have been relatively unaffected. Furthermore, infrequency of travel to the remote communities where our clients live is some barrier of defense. However, if impact comes to those communities, a high percentage of people have underlying health concerns and access to healthcare is virtually nonexistent, making them especially vulnerable. Thus, the situation still merits close monitoring. We do not want to inadvertently become the vector that carries the virus into a community.
We will be relying very heavily on our international directors to keep us up to date and to make the best possible decisions for their programs.
Each of our partners is currently working on a detailed response plan. Our focus on building a strong dynamic of trust and collaboration will be invaluable at a time like this.
Because our work is locally led and implemented, much of it should be able to continue with little interruption. Savings groups will still get trained by community agents. Agricultural instruction will still take place. Tree planting will still continue. Small churches and Bible studies will still be able to meet. Furthermore, all of our work is designed to empower local families and give them the tools to continue even if for some reason our local partners were unable to serve them. To me, one of the most exciting things about our work is that, in the long run, it is not dependent on us.
One of our biggest beliefs is that we are called to stand with the most vulnerable. Our work over the years has taught us that vulnerable populations feel the effects of a crisis in a way those of us who are more privileged do not. Please keep them in your prayers and resist the temptation to turn inward.
We encourage all of you on this journey with us to exercise sound judgement.
Let’s take the appropriate precautions, both for our own safety and out of love for more vulnerable people you may come in contact with. Our hope is in Jesus, not in our circumstances. We have an opportunity to share that hope with others who may be looking ahead with anxiety.
Thank you so much for joining us and our international team in transforming lives and restoring creation. You have been a blessing to us and I truly hope that we can be a blessing to you. If there is any way we can be praying for you or your loved ones, or any other way that we can serve you, please do not hesitate to let us know.
–Scott Sabin, CEO