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LST once had a team in Madagascar. The evangelist’s daughter was kidnapped in front of the church building where the college team was working by a local gang, looking for a reward. After just a couple of hour,  the girl managed to escape unharmed. The family reported the name of the gang leader to the police who arrested and jailed him immediately. The gang leader, however, bribed his way out of jail and vowed to kill the minister and his family. The LST team was staying in the home of this family.

What would your church/organization do now?

Here are the two most important questions for you to consider?

  1. Are you as a church/organization prepared to deal with this situation for your church members—which means, do you have the personnel, funds, and a plan to take care of your people?
  2. Secondly, how quickly can you implement your plan?

Just to ease your mind, I’ll tell you that within the hour, LST immediately moved the team into a high security hotel, and then flew the team out of the country within twenty-four hours. In addition, LST staff met them in France, let them talk through their experience and their fears, then arranged for them to finish the last three weeks of their mission trip with a church in southern France. When they returned home, not only was the team emotionally and physically healthy, but they also couldn’t stop talking about how God worked it all out for good—whew!

Make sure that either your church or organization has both an Emergency Management Plan and the personnel and funds to implement it twenty-four hours a day while your team is on the field.  Here is a short list of the type of emergencies that you should be prepared to handle:

  1. Travel emergencies – lost documents, canceled flights, unexpected fees, passenger error (goes to wrong airport, checks in too late, etc.)
  2. Medical emergencies – accidents, illness on site, flare up of pre-existing conditions, sudden death
  3. Political emergencies — political violence, curfews, closed airports, police harassment (one LST team suddenly was required to get special visas), political extortion (demanding bribes).
  4. Natural emergencies – typhoon, flooding, earthquake,
  5. Team emergencies – unexpected death or emergency at home, emotional/spiritual breakdown, unexplainable hostility (often culture shock), immoral behavior, disregard of authority, misuse of people or funds.

Emergencies don’t happen often. In thirty years of sending short-term mission teams, LST has dealt, however, with everything mentioned above at least once. You can’t remove all threats, you can’t prevent all emergencies—even with the best preparation and training—but you can be intelligently prepared for the inevitable.

P.S. If you would like a copy of the Let’s Start Talking Emergency Management Policy, I would be happy to send you one. It’s too long to post here. Just email me at LST@LST.org with Emergency Management Policy in the subject line.

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