Caring for CSI Ministries Missionaries and Ministry Partners During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dear friends of CSI Ministries,
With the COVID-19 spread declared a worldwide pandemic life as we know it continues to unfold in ways unknown and uncertain. Somehow I think God knew this was coming! As partners of CSI Ministries, we know many of you likely have questions about how this affects the people connected to our organization. We are doing our best to take care of our missionaries and national staff during this season of uncertainty. Here are some thoughts to some questions that have been asked.
1. How does the outbreak of COVID-19 impact CSI missionaries and national staff?
For 50+ years CSI missionaries and teams have been serving through times disrupted by natural disasters, political unrest, and other unforeseen situations. We want to take great care of those we have all come to love that serves with, through and for CSI. We are committed to taking measures that consider the safety and well-being of staff and missionaries as well as being intentional to care for the communities with whom we serve and partner. All of our missionaries and Jamaica staff are safe and well. We are in ongoing communication by video conference calls and other means to help them navigate the evolving situation.
2. What are the CSI priorities?
Frankly, times will get a bit tough. With teams unable to travel at this point until June 1st at the earliest we have to rethink how to operate in a God-honoring fashion still serving to impact people for the Gospel. As a priority, we will channel funds to our Jamaican staff so they may have income and not be left struggling. Likewise, we want to fulfill our Student Support commitments as long as schools are operating. And, as times toughen, we need to be ever aware of those we have served in Highgate, the Western Paradise and Belize City communities and throughout the United States as to how to weather the storm together.
3. Are CSI missionaries coming home and is the CSI office operating?
Currently, the Jamaican missionaries are staying put and caring for the community as they are able. The CSI headquarters in Kokomo is still functioning but in a different fashion. All employees are able to work remotely. Mail is being collected and processed in as timely a fashion as possible. We are grateful that technology allows us to connect our missionaries without interruption in meeting using Zoom, phone, and email. Also, those missionaries currently raising support to enter the field will still be actively doing this so that they can fulfill their call to serve as quickly as possible.
4. How is this drastic change financially implicating CSI Ministries?
For our missionaries and staff fundraising in the U.S. or preparing to serve in their ministry location, COVID-19 does impact us financially as events, church gatherings, and conferences have been canceled for the foreseeable future. With cancellation or postponement of teams, a major source of field income is removed that normally contributes to staff salaries, utilities and overhead. Likewise, the inability to meet at churches and operate in a face to face manner reduces our overall operating income and missionary support raising. We are putting in measures to cover immediately needed expenses and work diligently fulfilling the spending priorities of Jamaican staff, etc. as mentioned before.
5. How does COVID-19 impact the individuals serving as volunteers with CSI?
Teams and interns through at least June 1st will not be traveling as planned. We want to be in timely communication with teams and ministry locations further out to assess logistics and safety to travel. Some locations may open up in different time frames so alternate locations to serve or postponing dates may be options. We are seeking other ways that we may use our assets, time and talents in ways yet unknown to us. If you have ideas where we can be of service – let us know!
6. What can you do to help?
Please join us in praying for all those affected by the COVID-19 situation, especially those who are more vulnerable to the virus. Lift up those in government leadership and the healthcare industry who are working hard to keep the disease under control. And please pray that the body of Christ would be His hands and feet as we continue to spread the hope of the Gospel. Please continue to financially support CSI as possible. Any extra given is much appreciated and will be prioritized keeping staff employed to serve as effectively as possible wherever we can.
As an act of encouragement, please reach out to any missionaries you support—with CSI Ministries or any other organization. A Scripture verse, prayer, or word of reassurance will go a long way, as will simply offering them your time and a listening ear. We are all depending on the personal relationships we have during this season of uncertainty, and missionaries are no exception.
Executive Director, CSI Ministries