Go or stay? Missionaries confront Zika virus dilemma

“As a husband and future father, I believe my family is my first mission field. God, then family, then ministry. … My hope is firmly in the Lord, and I know regardless of where He takes us, His will for our lives remains the same: make disciples.” World

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dgszweda's picture

I am not sure what to think of this article.  A young man and his wife decide to go to a developing country that deals with all types of diseases and conditions that are of high risk, and when something like the Zika virus comes along where there might or might not be a link to brain development in fetus's than they go back to the US, because it is safer?

apward's picture

That’s a tough situation in which to know what to do. I know missionaries who left Liberia during the ebola crisis, but there were some who stayed. During that time, our team of missionaries discussed if and when we would evacuate Togo if ebola came here too.

When we look at the NT, especially the book of Acts, it appears that God used persecution to move missionaries in and out of ministry situations. Persecution in Jerusalem moved people out to spread the gospel in other cities, and sometimes persecution moved missionaries out of cities where they were already ministering (e.g. Paul in Damascus, Acts 9:22-25). On the other hand, Paul’s ministry in Damascus, at that time, was primarily among the Jews, so if he had stayed there then he may have never become the apostle to the gentiles.

So I think we can see a principle that God does not always intend for us to stand and die wherever we are ministering. On the other hand, Paul didn’t stay in Jerusalem for very long, he kept moving forward.

Perhaps one day I’d move back to the States, but I don’t think that’s what God desires for me at this time in my life. If I had to leave Togo, I might go back to the States for a short time, but I’d be looking to return or to go to another country as soon as possible.