EMAS Canada depends on volunteers who travel internationally to deliver aid through education, medical and dental services. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had, is that close to 75% of our volunteers will not serve overseas in 2020. Several teams cancelled missions and two where cut short for the safety of our volunteers.
It is unclear when travel will resume. Some fundraising activities have been postponed because of physical distancing and reduced income among donors.
We recognize the need for, and naturally encourage, our volunteers to direct their time and energy to caring for relatives who are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus; furthermore, many, especially in healthcare, are expecting a backlog at work when routines return to normal.
Our revenue projections for the remainder of this year are dismal, but when two doctors in China, who became Christians through China East team paid for and sent 300 N95 masks to an anaesthetist in Toronto, we were reminded that God can, and will supply.
We may be unable to carry out the external expressions of our vision, through what we do on mission for the rest of this year. Nevertheless, teams continue to meet, to plan, and to prepare to reengage once safe travel is possible.
Teams and individuals have been mobilizing resources since January and have sent emergency supplies to countries where we serve, including the city of Wuhan in her most desperate hour. Saving, fundraising, and project planning for 2021 continues.
In about 720 BCE, Jerusalem was facing the threat of a siege, the enemy had proven its indomitability (2 Kings 18:35). Jerusalem anticipated fear that paralyses activity and made one feel that God had abandoned them. This crisis described in the Old Testament however became the backdrop for God to speak to His people about His overarching plans beyond their lifetime. The immediate threat was a blip in His transcendent program, and that is how our leaders are approaching the pandemic. We are looking ahead, possibly to reengineering EMAS Canada into an organization better able to impact the nations with the good news through healthcare.
Despite our apparent external difficulties and losses, we are seeing internal benefits. Teams are using teleconferencing and are reporting richer engagement. There is a new sense of urgency at meetings and improved efficiency; agendas are shorter and more focused. Prayer has risen to a higher priority. Lessons from the emergency distancing restrictions are saving resources allowing us to work remotely, and making us better stewards of time and money.
To support our partners at this time of urgent need, an EMAS Emergency Relief Fund is now receiving donations towards the pandemic.
Details about our response to the pandemic, and how you can serve with us can be found here.
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
A physician and surgeon in his native Kenya, Peter has a passion for Christ-centred healthcare and has a wealth of experience both hosting and sending short-term mission teams.