This tweet reminds us that mission agencies are already feeling the impact of Covid-19:
Some my South Asian colleagues are suffering from it right now. And, someone I know with YWAM says they have lost several in India to COVID just this past week alone with several more currently on ventilators.
— Steve Schirmer 耶利米 ن (@SteveSchirmer) April 20, 2021
I haven’t yet heard of American missionaries sent overseas who have contracted Covid-19 and died of it (although it’s probably happened). But I have certainly heard of numerous ‘near-culture’ and ‘same-culture’ (e.g. ‘home’) mission workers who have died from Covid-19, and this tweet is evidence that some of the ‘internationalized’ agencies (which are often larger) are also already being impacted.
This will almost certainly continue over the next several years. We should not think that mission ‘among the unreached’ will ‘return to normal’ soon. This is not to say that ministry in these contexts should be avoided—but agencies and workers need to consider what working in the context of pandemic disease and war will require.
Nearly all Gospel advance among the unreached over the centuries has taken place inside environments of significant risk, and Matthew 24 reminds us that it is within the environment of risk that closure—whenever it happens—will happen.
Taleb’s “Antifragile” may be a worthwhile book for mission agencies to read. (It’s on my list of books to re-read this year.) An antifragile organization is, in his description, one that grows as a result of exposure to risk, rather than being broken by it.