A Letter From JAARS President Woody McLendon Concerning COVID-19

By Woody McLendon

Together we are watching a global pandemic of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 impact our world at an increasingly rapid rate. For many the response is fear. As Christ-followers our call is to faith, hope, and love. 

For us at JAARS, we have a shared commitment to be faithful to the Lord Jesus in our mission and to be responsible to care for our staff, global partners, and the local community around our headquarters in Waxhaw, North Carolina. For over a month we have had our own COVID-19 Response Team at work with disciplined and proactive measures to mitigate risks and support us organizationally. 

We have already taken some important steps. We have postponed all international travel through the end of April, restricted domestic travel to essential needs, and are screening both guests and returning staff prior to their coming to the JAARS Center. We have cancelled or postponed group gatherings larger than 50 people on campus and foregone our participation in large events elsewhere. And we have closed our public-facing activities like tours, museums, mission teams, and more for the next few weeks. 

While we do not have any confirmed COVID-19 cases at JAARS nor in our surrounding county (at the time of this posting), we are mindful that our best response is to take more proactive steps in social distancing to protect our staff and the people of our community. 

To that end, we are now taking steps to have staff work at home and to postpone all non-essential ministry activities for the next several weeks. Our COVID-19 Response Team and I will continue to monitor events and update these plans and protocols on an as-needed basis. 

At the same time our commitment to the Lord Jesus and to the ministry of JAARS has not wavered. We are maintaining contact with our global partners, committing to work with them as they continue to move forward in Bible translation, Scripture engagement, and other language-related ministry activities. Many of our partners are facing their own local challenges with COVID-19, including travel restrictions, quarantines, and more. 

In these days, please keep the ministry of JAARS and the people of JAARS in your prayers as we continue to pray for you as our friends and partners in ministry. If you have a particular question, concern, or prayer need, please email us at info@jaars.org or call 1.888.773.1178. 

Let me close with a reminder of God’s faithfulness 100 years ago as William Cameron “Uncle Cam” Townsend—the founder of JAARS, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and SIL International—began his Bible translation work in Guatemala in the first language of this modern movement. Uncle Cam obeyed God’s call in the midst of World War I and went to Guatemala. Then he began ministry just as the Spanish Flu pandemic was exploding around the world. The same God who cared for and protected Uncle Cam and others in those days can protect and watch over us now. 

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” —1 Corinthians 15:58

In Christ—with joy,

Woody McLendon

To learn more, contact us, or to make a gift please visit jaars.org.