BlueSky's Response to COVID-19:
Frequently Asked Questions
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis spreads, we pray that you are safe, healthy, and taking comfort in God's promises of hope, healing, and restoration for our fearful and uncertain world. Thank you for your care and concern for BlueSky Global Ministries, our staff, and those we serve in Nairobi, Kenya. On this page we have endeavored to share the current status of Kenya's outbreak, BlueSky's response and actions, and answer related questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us if your question remains unanswered.
What is the current situation in Kenya?
While slow in arriving, the first COVID-19 case was confirmed on March 13th and is now spreading in Kenya. Known confirmed cases are currently at 37,489 (as of September 25th). The impact on Kenya’s healthcare system, medical resources, economy, and personal livelihoods could be severe, and the entire country is bracing and nervous. Leaders in Kenya have taken swift measures to minimize the spread of the virus for several months, as of August 1st they re-opened international travel, but they are still requiring strict social protocols such as curfews and mandatory mask wearing to help people stay safe.
How is BlueSky responding to the situation in Kenya?
BlueSky’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) has been monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic closely and crafting contingency plans for numerous scenarios. Our priorities include the health and safety of our staff and clients, and owning our organizational responsibility to take abundant precautions and support the efforts of the Kenyan government and global experts in dealing with the crisis.
Therefore, following guidelines from the CDC and Kenya’s Ministry of Health, the ELT has determined it is in the best interest of our staff and clients to suspend in-person program operations until the Coronavirus outbreak in Kenya is past. This includes all client-facing programs in Climb BlueSky, BlueSky Team Building, and BlueSky Community. Currently, our operations are paused and we are working on our re-opening plan. Our team has recently started testing a virtual team building program and they are working hard to prepare the gym for when we are able to re-open. Camp BlueSky's summer camp programs were canceled, but our team worked hard to pivot and create a fun, online camp experience for hundreds of camp families!
What is being done to protect staff? Are you evacuating your U.S. staff?
See the above operational closures to learn how we are enabling our staff to limit social interactions and risk of transmission. Staff have been asked to stay home as much as possible, following all the health guidelines, and stock up on essentials as they are able.
Prior to the State Department issuing a Travel Advisory Level 4 on March 19th and Kenya shutting down all international flights on March 25th, we were already working to make travel decisions as individually as possible for our U.S. staff members following the CDC’s travel guidelines and counsel from local partners. With the exception of those with particular medical needs whom we requested to return to the U.S., our missionaries have been given the freedom to determine what is best for their families.
In the event of a prolonged crisis or civil unrest, BlueSky has ongoing contingency plans to help keep all staff members safe and provided for.
I support a missionary who is scheduled to leave for Nairobi this spring / summer. Are they still going?
As of August with the re-opening of international flights into Kenya we have started sending our missionaries and we are making careful decisions on a case by case basis as we continue to actively monitor the outbreak and consider all factors.
Even in the midst of uncertainty, these individuals are still trying to finish building a healthy team of financial partners so they can move to Kenya when able. Please continue supporting them if you already do so, or consider joining their support teams now if you have been praying about it! We are still looking ahead eagerly to all the Lord has in store for them and for BlueSky as a whole!
I donated to help a camp staff member work at Camp BlueSky this summer. If Camp is cancelled, what happens to my donation?
Thank you for your support! Camp has been canceled, and you should have received an email outlining the options regarding your giving. Your donation(s) will be applied to either the BlueSky Relief Fund (which will be used to help BlueSky stay strong and grow stronger through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic) or the Camp Staff Fund (which will help support Camp BlueSky staff for future camp seasons). If you would like to choose which fund your gift supports, please email email@example.com. We will also provide the option of a refund if your gift was received after January 1st, 2020.
How can I speak to someone directly about my financial contributions?
Thank you for your patience as our staff is working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please leave a message at (470) 771-2015, and we will return your call as soon as we are able. You can also contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. **Please consider email for a quicker response.
When can I expect a receipt for my recent donation?
Our normal processes are slowed down as our staff is working remotely. If you gave online, you should have received an automated receipt via email. If you gave by check, you should receive a mailed receipt within a few weeks as depositing your check may also be delayed. Please feel free to contact us via email at email@example.com. Thank you for your understanding.
I am scheduled to serve as a camp counselor this June/July for Camp BlueSky in Kenya. Is my trip cancelled?
Camp BlueSky has been canceled for Summer 2020. You should have received communication from your Camp Leadership about this decision and how to stay involved in this summer's online camp efforts and future camp seasons!
I am participating in BlueSky Community’s student ministry apprenticeship for the 2020-2021 school year. Is this still happening?
At this time, BlueSky apprenticeships will continue (starting in August / September) as planned. We will be continually evaluating this decision and will contact hired apprentices directly should there be changes. Apprentices should continue their support raising efforts at this time. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
What can I do to help BlueSky respond to this global crisis?
We are so grateful for your care! There are several primary ways you can help BlueSky during this crisis:
Give to the BlueSky Relief Fund
Contribute your knowledge / skills to help us creatively serve our team and clients
Read the following questions for more details.
How can I contribute to the BlueSky Relief Fund?
To help us be able to respond quickly to urgent needs and crises like the coronavirus pandemic, please consider giving a special gift to the BlueSky Relief Fund. Our current urgent need is to fund the gap caused by lack of program revenue in Kenya, which is above and beyond our ongoing General Ministry Fund budget. Your giving will help us maintain basic operational expenses and payroll for our Kenyan staff members, ensuring we can support and protect our team in tangible ways until the crisis has past. BlueSky is committed to remaining strong, getting stronger, and emerging more resilient and excellent than before!
You can give online through this link: BlueSky Relief Fund
*If you give by check, please notify our finance department as we are only able to check the office mail once a week.
What are BlueSky's plans for ministry and work during the Coronavirus crisis?
Even in this unusual time, BlueSky is committed to serving the multinational community in Nairobi! We may not be able to gather at the climbing gym or host a student ministry event in person, but our team is brainstorming creative ways to reach out and encourage those we serve. Ideas range from Zoom discipleship groups for students to camp activities for parents with children at home to sharing links to educational videos for climbers!
In a time of fear and uncertainty, we are confident that Christ wants His followers to only press further into the darkness. For BlueSky, this means reaching out virtually to the community we love and serve… not only with fun experiential ideas, but with hope and truth that this, too, will pass.
If you have ideas or experiences in creative, remote ways to engage, support, or develop our team and/or serve our clients during this season, we would welcome your help! Email email@example.com if you have ideas or resources to share.
How can I be praying for BlueSky?
As you do so for the entire world, pray for God’s protection of Kenya against this virus. Pray for the healthcare system and workers, for the government’s wisdom and the effectiveness of its efforts, for citizens and residents to cooperate and own their social responsibility to the best of their ability. Pray for provision for the marginalized. Pray against social unrest.
Pray for BlueSky staff and for their health, safety, and encouragement. Pray for community within our staff, even as they are physically distanced from each other. Pray for opportunities for our team to speak encouragement and hope to their neighbors and the community we serve.
Pray for BlueSky’s creativity in ministry opportunities and diligence in program and content development. Particularly, pray for our camp team as they pivot to create new online summer programming with just a month's time!
Pray for financial provision to cover the gap left without monthly program revenue, which typically funds basic operating expenses and payroll for our Kenyan staff members.
What are the effects of COVID-19 in a country like Kenya?
A health crisis of this magnitude has potentially far-reaching implications in Kenya, starting with a health system that is underprepared to cope with a massive outbreak.
It is very challenging in a country with significant economic disparity for the majority of its people to fully stay at home and social distance, and experts are unsure how the pandemic will play out across sub-saharan Africa. However, risks beyond the health system’s limited capacity include widespread unemployment, food shortages, the pre-existing HIV crisis, and civil unrest driven by fear and unmet essential needs. Please pray fervently with us for Kenya and the whole of Africa’s protection.
I have more questions!
For further questions regarding BlueSky’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, please email Beth Seo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803) 322-5044.