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Avant is Responding to COVID-19 with Action and Prayer


April 7, 2020 Update:

  • Prayer: Some Avant members in Italy, Spain and the United States are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are self-quarantined in areas that are under shelter-at-home orders. Please pray for restoration of health and protection of exposed family members. We know that you may also be directly or indirectly affected. Our staff and leadership team starts each work day in prayer. Let us know how can we pray for you.
  • Office: The Kansas City office building remains closed to visitors, and most staff members continue to work from home. A minimum team providing essential payroll and medical benefit services for our members continues to work in the building, following social distancing protocols. You can still reach the office by phone (see numbers in the footer of this page) or via our contact form. The work of the home office is not closed, just the building.
  • Giving: In this season, Avant is emphasizing the need of its Missionary Aid Acount rather than normal project fundraising efforts. Gifts to this fund will help those missionaries with the most financial need who are experiencing drops in their support accounts brought on by giving reductions in this crisis. As you are able, please continue to support Avant missionaries as normal through prayer and giving. Reach out to them to offer encouragement and prayer, or just someone to talk to. And consider a special gift to this vital aid fund. Click Here to Give to the Missionary Aid Account.



March 20, 2020 Update:

  • Avant still has no confirmed infections of COVID-19 within our membership. However, a handful of our families on lockdown in Spain are now showing symptoms. It is unknown if they would test positive because they currently do not have access to testing options. Please join the Avant family in prayer for them.
  • Avant has tightened restrictions for international travel for all members globally in accordance with the US Statement Department Level 4 advisory issued on March 19.
  • Approximately 15% of Avant members are Canadian citizens. The government of Canada has issued its own similar global travel advisory.
  • All staff and members who must travel internationally (such as some who do not have residency in the country in which they are currently located) must seek prior approval from their regional ministry director and register their travel details via this form.
  • The original response message was posted on March 13. See below for details.



Original Message Posted March 13, 2020:


Avant is closely monitoring the global spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Limited to a handful of hot spots just a few weeks ago, the rapid expansion of the coronavirus to every continent is now directly or indirectly impacting nearly everyone in the world. 

This page aims to provide information for our extended Avant family, including missionaries, partners, and friends of the mission, about specific actions Avant is taking to help protect our personnel in the communities they serve. Because the situation is changing rapidly, this page will be updated as new relevant information and guidance becomes available.


Impact for Avant Field Missionaries

More than 500 Avant missionaries minister in 50 countries on 5 continents. By God’s grace, none of our personnel have been infected with the COVID-19 virus as of the publication of this page. Yet a good number of them are surrounded by regional outbreaks, and some, such as our church-planting teams in Italy, are on lockdown along with the broader population they are serving. The pandemic has real implications and inconveniences, but has not brought ministry to a stop.

   Actions Being Taken:

    • A handful of regional events and meetings taking place in the coming weeks have already been cancelled or postponed, including a new member training event that was scheduled for the week of March 16 in Guatemala, being postponed for a later date to be determined.
    • Avant home office and field leadership will coordinate closely to evaluate information from sources like the CDC and US State Department, and will make decisions about other important ministry events and conferences on the calendar in the coming months.

    Prayer:

    • Pray for communities, churches, and Avant teams globally impacted by COVID-19
    • Pray for opportunities for Avant missionaries to share the hope of the gospel with people gripped by fear.

Global Travel Disruption

In the broadest sense, Avant recommends that all members of our community follow Centers for Disease Control recommendations and consult US State Department travel advisories before making any plans or decisions for travel, particularly when crossing any international border. 

Global travel is “bread and butter” for a mission organization like Avant Ministries. It is core to how we do what we do. And with 500+ missionaries globally, there is a great deal of international travel taking place at any given moment on a normal day. But since today is not a normal day, disruptions are just part of our routine until the life cycle of this pandemic runs its course. Some of these disruptions are more significant than others.

   Actions Being Taken:

    • Unnecessary international travel should be curtailed for the immediate future, but may be unavoidable in certain circumstances. All Avant missionaries, staff and volunteers traveling across an international border are required to register their travel after securing Ministry Director approval. Travel will be monitored by Avant’s Global Security team. Appropriate recommendations for possible self-quarantine and other factors will be made in consultation with mission leadership, and in alignment with CDC and State Department advisories.
    • Field visits from North American partner churches are highly valued under normal circumstances. During this pandemic, however, church teams scheduled to visit Avant fields outside the US must be postponed. For now, this affects trips scheduled through the end of April. This date will be extended if deemed necessary.
    • Avant’s field internship program involves primarily college-age short-term missionaries serving on Avant fields for 4, 6 or 8 weeks. Some internships begin in the Spring, while others start in the summer. All internships taking place during the month of April and May have been canceled. Internships scheduled for later in the season will be evaluated based on decisions that will come from continued close monitoring of changing conditions.

   Prayer:

    • Pray for missionaries who find themselves on lockdown or otherwise unable to move about freely.
    • Pray for the financial impact caused by travel disruptions to the mission, and to the ministry support funds of impacted missionaries and families.
    • Pray for our short-term field interns who find themselves unable to go and serve as planned.

Kansas City Office Protocol

Two global mission organizations, Avant and Crossworld, share facilities at our Kansas City office. Because these combined offices serve more than 800 missionaries around the world, the comings and goings involving many global locations naturally increase risk of exposure to our staff and our community. To mitigate the risk and protect our staff, Avant has developed a comprehensive protocol for staff and visitors to campus (highlights below).

   Actions Being Taken:

    • Beginning Monday, March 16, staff members who are able to do all or the majority of their work remotely will begin doing so.
    • Any person traveling from or through countries listed as risk level 2 or 3 on the CDC travel notices website, including anyone who has been in contact with such a traveler, must not come onto the Avant/Crossworld campus for 14 days after their arrival in the U.S. This includes office workers, field personnel, and any guests coming for an event.
    • Staff experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms should not come onto the campus until fully recovered.

    Prayer:

    • Pray for the global ministries of Crossworld, our shared services alliance partner with whom we share facilities and support services for our global workers.
    • Pray for our home office team to remain healthy, and for the work they do to ensure field missionaries are well-supported in their ministries.

Avant is so grateful for our extended family around the world, and for those who pray and contribute financially to make all we do possible, including during times of crisis. Decisions being made by Avant are not fear-driven, even though fear is a reality that many people feel in uncertain times likes this.

While this particular crisis is unprecedented in our lifetimes, Avant has weathered major crises several times in its past. Two world wars, global economic depression, countless natural disasters affecting many of our fields, and even the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic have all happened during Avant's 130 years of history, during which God has remained constant and faithful!

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:1-2, 10