04 Jun Missions Program Update: June 2021
We have great news! Fifteen months after pandemic-related travel restrictions abruptly halted our 2020 short-term missions season, we will soon host our first 2021 team at Dorie’s Promise. After much planning, we’re cautiously optimistic and prepared to slowly welcome guests.
Deciding if, when, and how to safely host mission teams has been challenging. In January, our leadership team compiled preliminary guidelines and milestones for potential 2021 mission teams. After considering the conditions at the time in both Guatemala and the USA, June also was chosen as the earliest possible opening date.
Our children, staff, and community partners miss connecting with visitors in person. At the same time, our responsibility to mitigate risks for our children, staff, and visitors is an utmost priority.
So far in 2021, 4 important milestones have been reached. 1) We have tested and proven safety protocols in place at Dorie’s Promise. 2) Potential visitors are experienced with prevention measures as part of their daily lives. 3) Vaccines for those interested are readily accessible in most of the USA. 4) Testing is readily available and reliable in Guatemala.
We are now ready to host our first team under the COVID-19 protocols.
What will missions look like in 2021?
Reopening will be purposefully slow. Please be patient with us.
Applications for new participants remain closed. Team Leaders from postponed Summer 2020 trips were allowed to consider traveling under current protocols or postpone for a more “normal” experience. Currently, we anticipate hosting 4 teams during this test period.
Teams during our test period will be smaller than normal. Capacity limits are necessary to accommodate a separate isolation area for visitors who exhibit any illnesses during their stay. Although visitors will participate in the same daily screening and safety protocols as our staff, we are prepared for immediate care if needed.
Activities with our children will be done in small groups through daily rotations. Small group activities help us maintain physical distancing without interrupting our children’s virtual and homeschool classes.
Community activities will also be different. Our staff has done a fabulous job creating opportunities for virtual visits with local families, finding ways to deliver much-needed supplies to local communities with no-contact drop-offs, and offering insight into current conditions through local bus tours.
What will missions look like in 2022?
If our shortened summer 2021 missions season is successful and health indicators in Guatemala continue improving, we anticipate fully reopening in 2022.
Fully reopening includes accepting new trip applications, approving teams for the calendar year 2022, and including community projects in our schedule. As is now customary, we will continue monitoring the situation in Guatemala and adjust accordingly. We anticipate making an official announcement about 2022 mission trips by December 2021.