1. Primarily, we serve God by serving those missionaries who associate with FBMI. In doing so, we partner with their sending pastors and churches.
  2. We also serve those who support these FBMI missionaries financially and in prayer.
  3. We are responsible to wisely inform, advise, and influence missionaries when it comes to matters of their safety. We should also help them to be wise stewards of all resources, including their lives, health, and spiritual influence.

Nature of the Concern:

  1. As Christians and as citizens of the United States, we are to submit to our authorities.
  2. The U.S. Department of State provides extensive, helpful, and necessary resources, direction, and assistance to U.S. citizens when it comes to international travel and life as an expatriate. We are very grateful for the dedicated professionals who serve in this area.
  3. The U.S. Department of State has developed an evidence-based system to advise travelers with regard to the safety of travel to specific regions, countries, and even destinations. The degree of risk is communicated by way of “travel advisories.” Their website has a section dedicated to this purpose:
  4. Travel advisories are determined by an analysis of widely differing “risk indicators.”
      a. Crime, terrorism, and civil unrest
      b. Health and natural disasters (such as we are experiencing with COVID-19)
      c. Time-limited events or others which create unique risks
      d. Kidnapping and hostage-taking
  5. There are four levels of travel advisories: (1) Exercise normal precautions, (2) Exercise increased caution, (3) Reconsider travel, and (4) Do not travel.
  6. If the travel advisory is at Level 4 (“Do not travel to ____ due to ___.”), it is of great concern.
      a. The missionary already living and ministering abroad, whose country is newly designated “Level 4,” is in the best position to evaluate the degree of risk personally and locally and to determine the wisest course of action. It might well be wiser to stay put and to avoid the increased risks of travel and even increasing risk at the destination.  FBMI will provide all possible assistance for these missionaries on the field.
      b. On the other hand, a missionary in the U.S. might feel compelled to travel to a Level 4 travel-advisory destination despite the warning. What should be FBMI’s response?

 In the Event of Proposed Travel to a Level 4 Travel-Advisory Destination:

  1. FBMI will help the missionary understand the likely consequences, should they choose to disregard the published direction of governmental authority. These include:
      a. The United States government’s resources might only be partially available, if at all, to help in time of need. Quoting a recent advisory, “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in some areas of ____.”
      b. FBMI’s resources will only be partially available to help.

      1. i. Resources that FBMI has secured through third parties for emergency evacuation will likely not be available.
      1. ii. Communication and financial resources and services may be disrupted.
      c. Personal resources and assets of the missionaries themselves might be lost. For example, life insurance policies may be invalidated if it is determined that the person, as a U.S. citizen, went somewhere when the U.S. government told him not to travel to that destination.
      d. Finally, we recognize that the U.S. government has intelligence resources that we do not have. They quite likely make determinations with regard to safety based upon evidence and resources that they cannot disclose or mention.  There might be unforeseen hazards.
  2. FBMI will also advise the missionary that they might be acting contrary to the written Word. We are directed to submit to governmental authority when it does not conflict with higher, divine authority.  Clear divine direction should be present to travel to a level four area.
      a. Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
      b. I Peter 2:13-14, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
  3. If the missionary determines to go to a country where his civil authority has told him not to go, then the missionary will acknowledge that he will be responsible for the consequences of his actions. He also determines to be especially prudent with regard to existing guidelines.  For example, for one Level 4 country, the State Department website says, “If you decide to travel to ____:” and then they follow it with an extensive series of recommendations. The State Department understands that all areas of the country are not under equal risk and that some travelers are much more experienced and resourced than others. FBMI will continue to provide:
      a. Ongoing services for the missionary to the extent of FBMI’s ability.
      b. Love and prayer for the missionary, his family, his church, and his spiritual ministry and influence overall.
      c. Representation of the missionary to his sending and supporting churches.