In April I’m going with a group of youth workers from around the United States who are interested in bringing teams from their church to Haiti… but need to go check it out first.
Since that last post, the zika virus has become a front page news story. The impact of the virus itself, from what I understand, is relatively mild as far as viruses go. (Malaria is more common, dengue is more dangerous, chikungunya is more painful.) But the potential impact on unborn children has the potential to be absolutely devastating. There are governments encouraging families to not get pregnant if they live in an infected area, even the Pope weighed in this week, relaxing the Catholic Church’s strict prohibition on contraception: ” “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one [Zika], such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”
As of right now there is not a travel warning for Haiti related to the Zika Virus. But there is a Level 2 travel notice from the Centers for Disease Control providing travelers to infected areas with information on how to avoid contracting the virus. These precautions get personal… sexual even… and that, I’m sure, is bringing about caution on traveling to anywhere that might be infected.
We Will Be Cautious
This is the great advantage of working with the local church in Haiti through Praying Pelican Missions. You will be the guest of local ministry leaders, people who are living with zika every day, who will go above and beyond to make sure that every detail of the trip is well thought out and safe for you. This extends far beyond mosquitos! Where you sleep, what you eat and drink, where we travel… all of these things are done in a way that manages the risk for you.
There’s no guarantee that you won’t get sick. But as someone who has been to Haiti a number of times I’m much more worried about a participant getting sick from dehydration than I am anything else. (Kidney failure is a big deal!)
We Must Go Because We Are Sent
When it comes to risk and the American fascination with risk abatement, I like to keep things in proper perspective. We don’t do missions work because we want to. We don’t do missions work to see stuff or to check off a box that says “been there, done that, got the t-shirt.” We do missions work because we are sent by God to be the hands and feet of Jesus. When we lift up the local church by providing encouragement (and empowerment) for a pastor’s vision we are also partnering with the God who is big enough to see the big picture, powerful enough to prevent harm, and wise enough to allow us to trust that His ways are much safer than our ways.
When I think about doing something risky in response to His calling, I think the risk is not going.
There’s still time to join the Haiti Vision Trip in April. Click here for more info.