The coronavirus (COVID-19) that is now spreading globally has had a significant impact on OMF ministries in East Asia and our centres around the world. However, we are thankful that, at the time of writing, no OMF worker has been diagnosed with the virus.
We wanted to let you know how OMF International has been responding to this situation.
We have taken a number of practical steps to protect our workers as the outbreak develops:
- An international crisis management team was established to monitor the situation as it developed and coordinate our response.
- Our International Medical Team has been following the development of the outbreak closely. They have been providing OMF workers with regular updates and advice on practical steps to reduce the risk of infection since early February.
- At a more local level, country leadership teams and medical advisors have been assisting workers in appropriate preparations and contingency planning for the outbreak and its potential impacts.
- Team leaders are working closely with their team members to navigate the implications of travel restrictions and evolving advice from governments.
As the situation develops, we have also cancelled or postponed:
- Physical events and gatherings for OMF workers.
- Events for supporters such as information evenings, mission events and in-person prayer gatherings.
- Serve Asia short-term mission placements due to take place in the next three months (until 16 June). A decision will be made concerning placements later in the year in the coming weeks.
Additionally, following the advice of their respective governments, a number of OMF centres have closed their offices and asked staff to work remotely from home where possible.
Although some governments have issued statements that strongly encourage their citizens to return home, we have encouraged workers not in high risk contexts to continue with their ministries despite the present situation. Such crisis circumstances often provide opportunities to witness and minister beyond the ‘normal times’. However, OMF understands, and is giving support to, workers who want to return home for medical or other reasons.
No matter where they are, OMF workers continue to seek ways to practically show God’s love to their neighbours, share the good news of Jesus, and support local churches and believers through these difficult times.
Sam Wunderli, Assistant General Director
On behalf of the OMF International Leadership Team