Supporters, we thank you

An update on the COVID-19 situation, and a message of thanks for our supporters.

Dear supporters

In the midst of all the change in our country and our world at this time, we want to say:

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. This means so much, especially in the current situation.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the world, and particularly affecting the most marginalised and vulnerable people. But God is still at work and we have the privilege to continue serving with Him, even when it looks different to usual.

Many Interserve workers have chosen to remain in their country of service. Some are able to provide front-line health support. Others, even in lockdown, are able to stay connected with their communities and demonstrate their love and commitment for the long haul.

  • Interserve workers in remote hospitals in Asia are busy preparing to treat patients with COVID-19. They are sourcing or making PPE, training local staff in isolation procedures and setting up hygiene processes. One worker shared that she has been using her sewing machine to make face-masks for the hospital. She says she is slow, but every bit helps.

Some Interserve workers have needed to return to Australia, or have been unable to return to their country of service after Home Assignment. Even in these situations, there are opportunities to be a blessing.

  • One Interserve couple who runs counselling training has moved to offering counselling sessions by Zoom, which are very much needed at this time.
  • Another worker, who needed to return home for health reasons, had an amazing experience in an airport where she was able to help to calm people’s fears as they waited for flights.

We know that God is at work in the midst of this crisis. We sense that the world will change as a result, but we don’t yet see how. Our prayer is that in the midst of our response we will also be able to be present to what God is saying to us, not just as Interserve, but as a global church.

Please pray for attentiveness to the Holy Spirit’s leading as we seek to manage risks and take up the opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic presents.

Interserve has been working for over 168 years. We’ve seen many times of crisis. And in all that time, the one we’ve been very sure of is that we are in God’s hands. We trust him for the future and all that lies ahead.

We are grateful for your support in so many ways. Be assured you and all the supporters around Australia are in our prayers daily. Thank you for your partnership with us.

Christine Gobius

National Director

P.S. We are still here if you need to contact us for anything at all – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Our response to COVID-19

To those who give, help and pray:

We hope and pray this finds you and your family safe and well in this time of uncertainty. The spread of the COVID-19 virus around the world and the responses of international governments has rapidly changed our global context.

Thank you so much for your care for Interserve workers. In the midst of this global crisis, we give thanks that all of them are presently safe and well. Individual situations will be changing, and we are working with people on a case-by-case basis according to their needs. 

These are the ways Interserve is responding to the current situation.

Interserve Australia’s overall position

Interserve’s international leadership has encouraged everyone in the Fellowship to view the outbreak of COVID–19 soberly, in the context of God’s unshakeable sovereignty and of our calling. We seek to uphold our shared values, especially those of Community, Partnership and Dependence on God, and to build one another up as we seek the Lord’s will together.

One Partner shared: “As a family we are challenging each other to not see problems but opportunities to grow in trust and shine light in and through this current crisis. We pray that this might also be your experience in the coming months of uncertainty ahead.” 

Interserve Australia is providing our workers with the member care, logistical support and financial resources they need as we face this global health crisis together.

Please join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus above the stormy waves of current events. 

Australian workers based overseas 

Interserve does not have a blanket repatriation policy. Some Interserve workers are returning to Australia and most are making an informed decision to stay. These decisions are made by each individual and family in consultation with their team leadership and medical advisors. We will support people in the decision they make, according to their needs. If you support a worker or family you will likely hear from them directly about their situation.

Workers returning to Australia will need to observe a compulsory 14–day quarantine.

Interserve Australia is ready to respond with emergency funds to cover evacuation, accommodation and travel in situations where it is required.

Interserve has International, National and local Medical Advisors who work together with global medical risk management agencies to provide advice and make decisions about our response to COVID-19. The situation is rapidly changing, and we can assure you that we will respond to each situation decisively as it arises. 

Our International Medical Advisor has provided all Interserve workers with advice and mitigation information since the virus emerged. In the countries where we serve, Team Leadership have made risk assessments according to local situations and are keeping workers informed. 

Financial support 

Interserve will continue to support all our workers throughout this crisis, including during times when their normal ministries are disrupted. This is part of our commitment to them, and it ensures that they are able to recommence their ministries when the opportunity returns. 

Donations towards our emergency funds are gratefully received. These funds are used to cover shortfalls and expenses for all Interserve workers according to need.

For our supporters who give financially, we acknowledge that this crisis may impact your ability to give. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need to make changes. 

Interserve Australia office 

Interserve offices are currently closed to the general public. Should you need to get in touch, please ring us at 1800 067 100 or email us at info@interserve.org.au.

Interserve staff are working from home. Our ability to provide member care to workers and assistance to supporters is continuing undisrupted. 

The Interserve Australia staff meet online for prayer each day. We are praying for our workers and for the people among whom they serve. Please be assured that you and all of our supporter community in Australia are also in our prayers. 

Events 

All Interserve-run events in Australia are postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future. We look forward to when we can be together in person again. Until then we continue in prayer for the people of Asia and the Arab world on a daily basis. If you would like to join us in this, we’ll be sharing frequent news and prayer points on Facebook and Instagram.

Prayer Groups are run by local prayer group leaders, who will decide on a case-by-case basis whether they will continue to meet. 

The long-term view 

Interserve workers serve among some of the world’s most marginalised people. Compelled by God’s enduring love, we see this as a long-term commitment. Interserve has been ministering for over 168 years, and by the grace of God, we will continue to serve after COVID-19 has passed.

This may be an uncertain time, but we serve an unshakeable God. It is on Him that we depend, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank you for your continued support for Interserve workers as we participate in God’s mission together. 

 

Christine Gobius
National Director