Dear Friend of IM,
Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
As with so many others around the country and around the world, my plans and expectations for the month of March and April have been reshaped by the rapid acceleration in official action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the world continues to manage the weight of this pandemic, we at IM have felt its effects in our hearts as well as in our operations. Our initial priority was to ensure that all IM domestic and international personnel were in locations where they could safely “shelter in place” and access needed resources for a lengthy period of time. We praise God for making that possible. We continue to pray for you, our friends—that you and your families are and will remain safe and sound.
In view of the currently available information concerning the expected trajectory of the pandemic, which is not expected to end worldwide for at least several months, IM leadership has decided to cancel the World Mission Conference and our Hear the Call Conference scheduled for July 2020. This was a prayerfully and carefully considered decision, and a very difficult one. For IM, the World Mission Conference is like our Olympics. Leaders, missionaries, aspiring missionaries, and supporters alike look forward to this annual gathering that brings news, testimonies, and encouragement from all over the globe. It allows our usually dispersed family to break bread and worship together.
However, as much as we will miss the opportunity to gather, it is clear to us that cancellation is the wisest and safest course of action. Given the nature of COVID-19 transmission, it would not be prudent for several hundred people from different regions of the world to gather in close quarters. Ever shifting travel restrictions may also leave attendees stranded far from home. In this time of heightened stress and anxiety, we want to be good neighbors and do our utmost to “flatten the curve” and otherwise contribute to ending this pandemic.
IM is currently reviewing options for web-based alternatives that would provide the sense of connectedness that the World Mission Conference brings. In the meantime, please check out the journals of IM missionaries, many of whom are sharing about how COVID-19 has impacted their part of the world.
Finally, like many other non-profit and charitable organizations, IM is concerned about the potential financial effects of COVID-19, because charitable giving is often impacted during times of economic distress. If you were planning to attend the World Mission Conference, would you prayerfully consider giving a portion of the money you would have spent (on travel, lodging, or conference fees) to the General Fund, World Mission Offering or to support IM missionaries? Your generosity now will support IM for difficult days ahead and ensure the work of God’s mission through IM continues.
Thank you for your continued support and prayer for IM. You are in our hearts and prayers as we walk through this challenging season as one family in Christ. May the Lord Jesus redeem our present difficulties in ways that will fill us with gratitude and awe in future days.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).
Rev. Sharon T. Koh