Coronavirus Impact

Dear Friends,

Like almost everyone, ScholarLeaders has felt COVID-19’s impact. This week, please join us in prayer for a situation that has reached over 180 countries.

First, we pray for those infected by the virus and those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the most vulnerable among us would be protected. We pray too for those facing quarantines, travel and employment restrictions, financial pressures in shrinking economies, new caregiving and homeschooling responsibilities, and limited supplies.

You can pray with us for the ScholarLeaders community in the following ways:

For the ScholarLeaders Team
Located across five continents, we regularly meet via video conferencing in normal times. We continue most of our work as usual. However, we have had to postpone March/April VSI visits to Brazil, Argentina, India, and Nigeria. We anticipate additional travel delays, but we give thanks for digital tools that will enable some of our work to continue in the meantime.

From conversations with the gifted women and men we serve, we know that challenges are mounting for them and the schools where they work and study. These challenges will not resolve soon.

For Doctoral Students
Recent school closures mean limited access to libraries and research resources. For example, Kei Hiramatsu (pictured above with his family), from Japan, is in the final stages of writing his dissertation, but now faces complications from the closure of Asbury Theological Seminary’s library. Writing from a small apartment with three young children and without some of the books and references he needs, he may face delays in graduating and returning to ministry.

For Leaders Studying in Split-Site Programs
Nearly 1/3 of LeaderStudies scholarship recipients live in their home countries and travel for intense periods of research to the schools from which they will receive their degrees. Pray for leaders like Eva Wong from Malaysia, Jean Musavuli from Democratic Republic of Congo (both pictured above), and Edmond Vanderpuye from Ghana, whose trips to Oxford Centre for Mission Studies for writing residencies may be delayed. 

For Field Researchers
Travel bans interrupt travel plans. Earlier this month, Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen, a Palestinian leader studying at London School of Theology (pictured above with her husband), left the UK to conduct field research in Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon. However, travel restrictions caused the airline to terminate her trip in Cairo, forcing her to return to London. She does not know when she can reschedule her research. Leaders like Daniel Dama from Benin (also pictured above) have research trips scheduled for the summer, but do not know if they will happen or how the delay in collecting data will affect their graduation timelines.

For Separated Family and Friends
Because of their studies, many LeaderStudies scholarship recipients are separated from their communities and do not know when they will be able to return home. In particular, five current recipients from China request prayer for family and friends in Hong Kong and across the mainland.

For Vital SustainAbility Client Schools
In the spring and summer, many school presidents travel to visit Western funding partners. Now, restrictions postpone those trips. In some cases, contributions may be delayed at a time when schools are also anticipating a significant impact from a global economic slowdown. Schools in Eastern Europe are cutting faculty salaries by 50% as they struggle to pay taxes and utility bills.

Furthermore, almost every school has had to move teaching online (the photo above shows Ivan Rusyn‘s new setup for teaching at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary). For some schools, this means transitioning quickly with little experience or national support infrastructure. For ScholarLeaders, this reinforces a theme from VSI: the need to ensure that technology-enabled learning forms students spiritually and practically, not just intellectually. These issues will take on even greater importance as we move out of crisis management and begin engaging the long-term impact of online learning.

Because of our trust in the Maker of Heaven and Earth, we pray for provision and protection; and for peace, comfort, and encouragement.

Thank you for your faithful intercession,

The ScholarLeaders Team

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