Here is the latest Royal Servants program update from Director of Royal Servants, Tom Ives.
Dear Parents and Participants,
First, please watch this 5 min video update.
What I am writing is an addendum to the attached video. I want to emphasize that I understand how awkward it is to have to wait until May 15th to get a decision in regards to whether or not the Royal Servants program is going to be canceled. It may appear to some of you that I am indecisive or maybe even irresponsible in not making a decision that seems inevitable. You may ask, “All churches, businesses, and organizations have already canceled their summer programs, why don’t you”?
I want to assure you that I feel the weight of the decision I have to make. I am not foolhardy, a science denier, nor do I have some Pollyanna vision that everything will be just fine. I am fully aware of the realities, challenges, and barriers that Covid-19, and the subsequent policies enacted by each country, pose to a program that takes groups of students overseas. There are many. We are in the midst of some of the (hopefully) worst of the virus and many of us are in the midst of sheltering in place. Emotions are running high.
However, with the new dates the program does not begin until July and a lot can still change. I understand that many countries have two week quarantines for anyone entering, but will they in July? My hope is that a few more weeks may bring more clarity. But it may not. To be perfectly honest, it would be easier on participants and parents if I made the decision today to call it off. It would also be easier for Reign Ministries staff if I just made the call and got down to the business of planning for 2021.
I’d like to share with you what’s really delaying my decision. I made the decision to wait until May 15th after much prayer. Even though as president I have the final call, I do not make decisions in a vacuum. I recently asked my leadership team to pray and see if they feel Reign Ministries needs to make the decision sooner, it was a unanimous decision to wait until the 15th. Since then I have asked the Lord many times if I still needed to wait. I just keep coming back to story after story in the Bible where God asks a leader, in spite of realities and popular opinion, to wait. Even though emotionally I would like to be released from the May 15th date, I haven’t been. I still sense the Lord asking me to wait.
I want to be upfront with the fact that if we do decide to move forward with teams this summer, the program may look much different; from the new dates, to how we conduct Training Camp, to the countries that we go to. I think country options will be limited and there is a very real likelihood that the team you chose may not happen. Maybe a question to ask is that if the Lord is directing you to go, is it to a specific country? Or is it simply to go where there is an opportunity? At this point we are going to cancel the China, Morocco, and Greece/Macedonia teams. And there is a strong possibility that we will move the Uganda team to Kenya instead. If you’d still like to go on a potential trip this summer, you can switch once the revised teams are announced.
If you feel you need to drop from the program, I understand. Even though the Lord is asking me to wait a few more weeks doesn’t mean He is asking that of you. Nor does it mean you don’t have faith or are giving in to fear if you do cancel this year. Each of us is walking this out individually with the Lord. In my March 25th email I stated that if we canceled the program that we would refund you and your donors if requested, which is consistent with Reign Ministries’ policy. But this is an unusual year, and if you chose to leave the program on your own accord at this junction, we will still refund the donations to those who request it. You can also leave the funds in your account and use them towards a trip next year.
If you do choose to cancel your trip before the May 15th date, please email Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can update our records. She will then send you the instructions and form your donors will need to be refunded.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Originally Published April 29, 2020