Trip Safety During COVID-19

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we at Thirst Missions understand the importance of prudent precautions to ensure the safest environment possible for our staff and ministry partners. Over the past six months, our office has transitioned to a remote workplace. Staff have been asked to come into the office only when absolutely necessary to complete their work, and extra safety measures have been taken to follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks, and sanitize work stations. Our staff meetings have transitioned to video conferencing, as have our meetings with prospective location staff, church partners, and our service teams. These efforts were taken to protect our staff and those in our community at large.

Moving forward, we are committed to taking equally strong precautions to protect our service communities, location church partners, and the teams with whom we are blessed to serve. We are rigorously assessing all aspects of our trips to ensure the highest degree of safety possible for all involved. This includes such items as the cleanliness of lodging, meal prep, and transportation across all locations. We are also evaluating our ministries to focus on smaller groups serving in space, for the benefit of our mission teams, and the people those teams look to serve.

We are doubly blessed as an organization:

  • Our model of mission trips, which is based on private trips and one-to-one ministry partnerships, offers a safer alternative with respect to COVID-19 than the prevalent model of missions which calls for larger groups of multiple teams staying together, eating together, and serving together.
  • Our close location church partnerships offer us the opportunity to evaluate the safety of each particular church partner site, ensuring the comfort and safety of both the mission team and the community they serve.

These distinctives as an organization set us up very well for ministry to happen in 2021, even in the face of new challenges. Of course, there will always be risks involved in mission teams traveling and serving in any capacity. We do not strive to eliminate that risk, but to minimize it and shift our focus as servants of Jesus from meeting our needs to sharing the Gospel and meeting the needs of others.

As previously announced, we have suspended all mission trips through March 1, 2021. As we approach this date, we will continue to evaluate the safety of hosting prospective trips in our service locations. Our expectation is that, with appropriate precautions, we will be able to resume our efforts in ministry at that point. In the meantime, we ask that you would consider the following:

  • Start planning your 2021 trip. An effective mission trip takes a lot of preparation, promotion, and vision casting that often can take six to twelve months, depending on the size of the team, service location, and type of ministry work being done. Do not wait until next spring to start planning, because by then, it will be too late! 
  • Prayerfully consider how you can safely be the hands and feet of Jesus in your own communities. We look forward with anticipation to the ministry that will happen through Thirst Missions in 2021. These efforts, though, will only be extensions of the work already being done in your churches, neighborhoods, and communities. We would love to talk through ideas on how you can mobilize a service team locally as you begin preparations for longer-term ministry abroad.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about ministry opportunities with Thirst Missions, or if you have questions on what a mission trip could look like with us in 2021.

Blessings,

The Thirst Missions Team

2021 COVID Assurance Policy 

Dear Potential Team Leader, 

We know that all of us as believers are facing a few realities we need to reconcile. First, COVID is a real threat that affects all of us, and something we all need to take seriously and plan for. We want nothing more than to see teams out in the field, but the safety of our teams (and the communities and churches we are serving) must come first.

Second, the need for ministry across our locations has never been greater.

Third, we know many teams and churches feel the call to get back out serving again. It’s a biblical mandate, and it doesn’t stop because of COVID. 

We will not be hosting any teams until March 2021 at the earliest, but we do expect we’ll see a return to a “new normal” in 2021 of teams serving in the field

If you would like to take the steps to get a team together to go, but you have the looming “what if” question of COVID, you’re not alone. In this unique circumstance, we have chosen to offer a COVID refund policy, applicable only to teams signing up for a 2021 trip, in the event that the state of COVID makes it inadvisable for you to go on your 2021 trip. 

COVID Refund Details

There are two criteria that would trigger a refund from Thirst Missions to your church/team. 

  1. There is no widely available and affordable vaccine yet. (Available meaning you can get it within a two-hour drive and affordable meaning $200 or less.) 
  2. COVID is making travel difficult or inadvisable to your location. Examples include: 
    1.  a COVID-related travel ban or advisory in the area you are going to serve (Appalachia, Alaska, Belize, or Puerto Rico). 
    2. Your home airport is closed and/or quarantine is required after you arrive back home. This is not what we would consider viable travel. 

The Thirst Missions payment schedule has the registration payment, then payments of 10 percent, 30 percent, and a final payment of 60 percent two months before your trip. The decision about a refund would be made by Thirst Missions 10 weeks (2.5 months) before travel, and before you’ve made that final 60% payment. 

The refund would be 95% of what has been paid in, with the 5% going to defray some of our administration costs for trip planning and preparation. 

This policy was designed with the specific purpose of providing the assurance necessary for teams to move forward in their missions trip planning and preparation for the 2021 season. As such, this amended refund policy will only apply for trips scheduled for this period. 

Additionally, this policy will not apply to trips paid for with credits from previously scheduled trips. In the event that a trip is partially paid for by credit, only the amount paid for with non-credit funds is eligible for refund.

If you have any questions regarding this policy amendment, or would like to learn more about what a trip with Thirst Missions could look like for your church in 2021, please do not hesitate to contact us at 651.464.2212.

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