As travel bans and quarantines continue to increase across the United States, ACU students continue to experience the global chaos that has been caused by COVID-19.
Katie Walker, a freshman psychology major from Coppell, traveled to Zambia on a missionary care trip and has since returned to the United States as of March 24.
“We went to Zambia to go visit a missionary that we support who runs a reunification house for kids whose mothers have died,” Walker said. “They house the children and feed them formula until the kids are old enough to go live back with their families.”
However, from day one the trip was chaotic as the spread of COVID-19 was rapidly increasing across the globe and throughout the two weeks of being there, Walker was consistently watching for updates and making travel plans.
“A few days in they announced they had also extended the travel ban to the UK so we had to find another way to get home,” Walker said. “The instant we got the notification it was extended to the UK. We immediately booked a flight leaving from South Africa going directly to Atlanta.”
However, Walker’s trip back to the United States was equally as chaotic with many people reacting to travel bans coming from across the globe.
“We figured out that the flight we booked on to leave was the very last flight leaving the continent of Africa headed back to the United States,” Walker said. “It was totally a God thing.”
Since her arrival back in the United States, Walker has been in mandatory quarantine after going through multiple screenings from medical personnel from the CDC.
“After they scanned all of our passports, they had a person with face masks and gear come and escort us to another and I just thought ‘oh my gosh it’s going down’,” Walker said. “They escorted me to this other room where I had to fill out all these sheets full of information where I lived exactly how long I was in London and give them all of this information about me so they could check and make sure I was staying in quarantine.”
As COVID-19’s spread continues to increase exponentially in the United States and globally, mission organizations and missionaries are feeling the effects as many church congregations are changing their way they function.
“As church congregations are now holding online church services, there’s a strong possibility that the giving will be affected,” said Dodd Roberts, Director of the Halbert Center for Missions and Global Service. “Unfortunately one of the effects of that has the potential to negatively harm missionaries and mission organizations because a lot of them survive and exist solely based on donations,”
In addition, trips funded by said churches are being cancelled, further adding to the global isolation brought on by the virus.
“Another way missions organizations can be hurt is by missing the connection of people from home,” Roberts said. “At times people undervalue the significance of the encouragement and comradery and overall support that visitors bring to missionaries and mission organizations and that work can be isolated and lonely.”
However, despite the high-risk travel situation and changes in missions overall, there are still ways to continue to help global service and missions.
“My advice to people that do have a heart for missions and God’s ministry in the world and that have a history of giving would be to keep giving,” Roberts said. “God will always bless us when we look beyond ourselves and our need to give whether that’s to a missions organization or to a church congregation. Now is more important than ever to give out of our abundance as well as our need.”