Organization-wide Impact Update of COVID-19

Over the last few weeks, the impact of COVID-19 for our members has become increasingly clear. Our FarBeyond 2020 global conference in Slovenia, scheduled for April, was postponed until 2021. One of the main goals of FarBeyond was to bring members from around the world together to worship, plan, and share in community. Recognizing that a conference this April will not allow us to meet this objective, there was a unanimous recommendation that we move the conference to the spring of 2021. Since making this decision a few weeks ago, further travel restrictions have been implemented across the globe. Yet in spite of this, God is still at work. We have been able to reschedule our TeachBeyond conference and through this global crisis we are seeing our teams come together in unique and unprecedented ways.

At the time of writing, governments across the globe have closed nearly all of our TeachBeyond schools and informal educational initiatives. Many have had to quickly develop distance learning programs in response to the current situation; others don’t have this option. In order to help our schools and teachers, TeachBeyond has created a group which will pool advice and techniques to adapt a variety of curricula to a distance learning format, which includes, but is not limited to, online learning options. All are welcome to participate in this sharing endeavor. Find out more by contacting Joe Neff at Schools in Latin America, which had earlier faced enforced closures in the fall, are sharing their experiences with schools in Europe and Asia which are now also facing this challenge. Teachers, school leaders, and the global education services staff are offering their knowledge, experience, and resources to help support each of you in our global community.

Even though online options come with significant challenges, they remain a valuable – even essential – resource. A TeachBeyond worker in Asia shares, “The juniors’ semester has been cancelled, but lessons for the seniors have been moved online. This is increasingly challenging, since a number of students live in remote parts of the country and do not have a stable internet connection.” Another staff person in Asia wrote, “Tomorrow 18 million people and I are probably going to battle the grocery stores. After March break teachers will do online learning.”

The challenges these co-workers and others like them face, are the very challenges we wish to address. Through it all we want to remember that all of us are facing uncertainty. Organizationally we are closely monitoring each location, and asking all of our members to coordinate closely with their local and regional leaders to ensure timely, effective, and prudent decisions are made. In a world filled with fear and doubt, our prayer is that we will be faith-filled people who are neither frightened nor dismayed by the uncertainties around us. We are a people who believe with all our hearts that God is going with us wherever we go.

Please continue to pray for the many who are suffering from illness, and for those living in fear without knowing the Good News that our hope rests in Christ alone.

May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

David Durance