One of my tasks for today was to purchase air tickets for Nancy and me for our next ministry trip to southern Africa. Tickets are relatively inexpensive now, so in some ways it seems prudent to buy now.
However, I wonder what international travel will be like in early February 2015, our planned departure time-frame. CNN has reported:
The number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could rise to between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January if there are no “additional interventions or changes in community behavior,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Tuesday. The estimate was derived from a new forecasting tool developed by the CDC.
If the number of cases rise that much in those two countries, how will that effect the rest of the world? By then, how many more countries will be fighting the virus inside their borders? How many countries will have travel restrictions? Even if the virus does not spread in the US and into southern Africa, will it be advisable to travel by air?
Nancy and I are not afraid or unwilling to take risks for the sake of the gospel. You might remember that some people strongly urged us to not travel to Afghanistan last year because “it was too dangerous.” Nevertheless, we confidently took that trip because we felt that would please the Lord. My hesitation regarding this upcoming trip is not because we fear a virus. Rather, it is due to the uncertainty I feel about international travel in general. My head is filled with questions such as: At that time, will the trip be possible? If it is possible, would we place others at risk if we travel? If airlines are unable to fly or if they need to adjust to an international crisis, how will they treat the people who already purchased tickets?
In light of these questions and because we still need to connect with some of our colleagues in Zimbabwe, I did not buy air tickets today. I would appreciate you joining us in prayer for wisdom as we plan our next international trip.