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Covid-19 Updates

Updated May 20, 2020

GENERAL UPDATE 5/20/20: Due to the continuing presence and spread of the coronavirus in EM partner communities—along with international and local government restrictions in place throughout the coming months—Experience Mission has decided to cancel ALL remaining mission trips between May and mid-August 2020. (This cancelation includes all 3 IMMERSION programs set to take place from July 7-August 7, 2020, in Cuba, Namibia, and the Holy Land.) We feel it is in the best interest of our community partners, local community members, and volunteer teams to make these changes. Since we all started to feel the real impact of COVID-19, it has been an arduous journey for EM. This will be the first summer in 17 years that we will not have mission trip teams serving alongside our local community partners. These decisions have been difficult and incredibly disappointing for all involved, including our staff who have worked hard all year to make these trips possible.

We will be working closely with mission trip teams and IMMERSION volunteers to reschedule trips for 2021 and 2022, transferring over a large portion of funds raised by team members toward a future trip. We are also exploring ways for the wider EM network of volunteers and churches to support our ministry and church partners across the U.S. and beyond who will no longer be receiving mission teams this summer. If your trip has been affected and you still have additional questions or have not been able to connect with our staff directly, please contact us here.

We are continuing to move forward with plans for the start of the 2020-2021 Gap Year and 1- and 3-month IMMERSION programs this Fall to Belize, Haiti, South Africa, and the Holy Land. We are hopeful for the state of our world 3 months from now and are looking forward to mission trip opportunities in the fall of 2020 and spring and summer 2021. Health and safety will remain our top priority for our partner communities and volunteer teams coming to serve. We remain closely connected with our local partners, working to craft future trips and service opportunities that protect the most vulnerable in their communities while also seeking meaningful ways for teams to connect, immerse and serve where it is safe and viable for all.

Thank you for the grace and patience you have shown EM during this challenging season. We value your continued prayers and support as we all move forward together.

 

IMMERSION FIELD UPDATE 4/13/20: The final 3 remaining IMMERSION team members who had not returned to the U.S. were able to fly home from South Africa, after 2 weeks on lockdown due to the coronavirus. While everyone involved—our staff, community partners, and IMMERSION team members—are sad and disappointed that trips and programs had to be cut short, we're very thankful that all team members have made it safely home in the midst of this global health crisis.

GENERAL UPDATE 3/23/20: All 1-2 week mission trips planned for March and April have been canceled and rerouted to later dates and/or different communities. All 1-9 month IMMERSION team members have been brought back to the U.S. or are making their way back as soon as possible amid flight cancelations and government border shutdowns.

 
 

If you are still planning to travel for a 2020 Mission Trip or IMMERSION program with Experience Mission, we know you may have real fears or questions about health and safety. We all may have different reactions as we watch the news or listen to reports from around the globe, balancing and filtering updates. In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worldwide, we feel it is important to respond to these concerns and express our care for all people we work alongside.
 

Safety is always a big priority for us.

Over the last several years, over 3,000 short-term mission trip volunteers and 120 IMMERSION team members have trusted Experience Mission each year to lead them into communities around the world. Local partners trust EM to bring these guests into their homes, churches and communities, as well. Although we can never eliminate all risk, and the information about the Coronavirus is constantly being updated, we are committed to helping those involved in our programs have an experience that is both safe and meaningful.

In order to make informed, evidence-based decisions about domestic and international missions programs, we are carefully listening to information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and monitor restrictions put in place in the U.S. by state and federal governments, as well as international countries where we serve. We will continue to follow updates and make changes to upcoming programs as needed.

The CDC's Travel Updates can be found here: www.cdc.gov/travel
 

Our commitment to EM volunteer team members

We want to provide helpful information and insight into the locations where we work, allowing each participant or group to evaluate the facts about traveling abroad and make the decision that is best for them.

Our commitment to EM host communities

We want to keep our partner communities around the world safe, especially in locations where the elderly, young children, or those without access to good healthcare may be especially at-risk. We never want to be the ones to bring sickness or harm to a community.

Our heart for missions in 2020

Just 2 months ago, thousands of volunteers were primed and ready to serve on mission trips in 2020 (and dozens of communities and ministries were excited and ready to receive them), and we sincerely hoped that by following the commitments above we would be able to continue a large amount of our scheduled mission trip programs in the summer and beyond. This, however, has shown itself not to be possible for a large percentage of our partner communities and teams, both in the U.S. and beyond. As we look ahead to the Fall and the start of IMMERSION programs once again in August, we hope to see the remaining volunteers still serve in 2020 with a couple of commitments.

We will continue to do everything in our power to keep volunteer teams and local community members safe during all remaining 2020 missions programs. We will be monitoring updates from the CDC, the World Health Organization, and individual state and national governments while continuing to update this page as necessary in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of how you might love and serve others across the U.S. or around the world, even in a time of great uncertainty.

- The EM Team

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