Central America (MNN) — With stories continuing to emerge about newly-reported cases of the Zika virus around the world, is mission work in the impacted countries being affected?
For one organization, the answer is a simple “no” AND “yes.”
Orphan Outreach continues its work in Guatemala and Honduras, and mission trips to those countries continue as well. Teams have just returned to the United States from serving in Xela, Santiago, Chimaltenango, and San Lucas. Participants on the teams are encouraged to wear mosquito repellent at all times–something that is part of the ministry’s standard training guidelines due to other mosquito-born viruses like dengue fever, malaria, and chikungunya.
Orphan Outreach has recommended that pregnant women, or those who plan to get pregnant, consult their doctor before considering a mission trip. Since the news of the Zika virus has begun, only one woman has received instructions to withdraw from a mission trip due to pregnancy.
As Orphan Outreach continues to serve in Central America, its staff is already preparing for the potential long-term impact of the Zika virus on its ministry partners. Governments currently ill-equipped to provide care for orphans and vulnerable children will be strained even further, and ministering to affected families will be an opportunity for NGOs.
Tiffany Taylor Wines sees the importance of being prepared to care for families and children. “Does that mean a year from now, there are going to be women giving birth to children and making the decision they can’t parent them because of their special needs? We can have an influx of these orphans with special needs we need to serve and be ready for.”