By: Jon Barr, Executive Director of Training Development
Under Covid-19 the YMI home office is staffed only by our office administrator, Erin. In mid-March we initiated a Covid-19 pandemic office protocol. Randy, Jon and Sonnet would work from home, and Erin would hold down the office. Erin would sanitize the office the end of each day so we could go to the office after hours and on weekends.
These past months and summer were going to be a high travel period for home office personnel with scheduled visits to a closed Asian country to complete the final class of a MA in youth ministry, to Malaysia in April, Romania and Russia in May, Florida for our bi-annual summit the first of July, and then off to Ethiopia in late July. Instead, like most of you, YMI has been dealing with the pandemic.
Travel plans were quickly replaced by complicated rescheduling plans. Those plans are now being replaced by concerns of motivation and finances for our students around the world who are enrolled in our MA and BA programs as their countries are facing quarantines and economic turmoil, both now and likely for some time to come.
While our home office was adapting to the pandemic, our trainers and their families were also adapting. It was determined by YMI, through an emergency contingency plan assessment, that our trainer/missionaries would be best served to sit tight in their countries of ministry. Traveling through airports and the potential for interrupted flight schedules left us believing that their best option was to stay put. For most, their countries have even stricter in-home quarantining rules than we have had to do deal with in the States. And all of them had to cancel time in the States with friends and family after we cancelled the YMI Summit.
But all of this has produced a few unique circumstances.
Malaysia and the Kaptain family
Steve’s visa ran out in early May. All of Malaysia’s government offices were shut down making a visa renewal impossible. Even with an expired visa Steve and family were able to exit Malaysia early June for their scheduled furlough this year.
They are now in California looking forward to visiting family, friends and churches.
Visas are a very important part of a trainer’s life and Steve is praying that his request for future visas will be accepted.
Romania (The Rice and Hinton Families)
In Romania special permission was required to leave apartments, even to buy food and toilet paper.
Then, their annual youth conference scheduled for May was facing cancellation. But they decided to go virtual on Zoom! Normally 150 people attend the annual youth conference, but by moving it to Zoom they had over 300 live viewers and now have over 3000 views on the YouTube link! This is such an encouragement to all who worked on the conference.
Ukraine (The Hughes Family)
Sam also took advantage of the quarantine and taught several virtual classes. As he taught, he created procedures for YMI trainers worldwide to offer virtual classes, which may be the key to future YMI training.
On a sadder note, Sam’s grandfather passed away in early June. Although Sam could have made it back to the USA, due to the restrictions in Ukraine he would not have been allowed to return.
Mexico (The Reyes Family)
In Mexico City where social distancing is virtually impossible, only Robbie leaves the house. And upon return he follows the protocol of everything he wears goes in the washer, and he goes in the shower.
Mexico is one of the hot spots now and Robbie may be doing this for weeks to come. Robbie and Erika have connected with several of their neighbors.