As COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, now having infected over 12 million people, resulting in over 550,000 deaths, it is having a serious effect on the nearly 6 million Americans living, studying and traveling overseas.
Many were brought back by a series of emergency State Department flights earlier, but the majority are unable to leave and in serious situations in countries with rising disease rates.
In a little known example of why history counts, few people are aware that the postwar State Department was founded by John Foster Dulles, whose father was a pastor and his grandfather a missionary to India, based in part on the network of American missionaries worldwide, beginning with those with whom his family was acquainted.
It was his belief that these missionaries, living in their various countries with relationships, history and more, were the best suited to be able to help.
From building most of the hospitals, schools and other facilities throughout the world, to ministering to human need from refugee to war situations, it has been the army of American missionaries, now numbering nearly 140,000, who have transformed the world.
Amazingly, that network, established in 1951, still exists and has been mobilized to help with the pandemic and in particular, help the nearly 6 million Americans overseas.
The worldwide network has been providing in-country assistance, ranging from helping a mother with a 5-month old baby urgently trying to get back to America to an American who has just gotten his test to get into a hospital to emergency information for fellow Americans stranded and unable to understand the language to providing emergency lodging, food and emergency supplies.
In particular with the seriousness of the disease, now having affected over 213 countries worldwide, the situation for Americans is extremely precarious in many countries with a limited American consular presence and h priority for their own citizens. Americans are often unable to get proper treatment and help.
It is precisely in these situations where American missionaries with their personal relationships and often decades of experience are able to help.
What was originally a mail and telephone system of getting help to those in need is now an online system that puts any American in need with the closest American missionary who can help.
With decades living in the country, the nearly 140,000 local American missionaries are able to get through "red tape," help with emergency assistance and information and be there for a fellow American in need.
Anyone with a family member overseas in need can simply go to theworldhelpline.org and press "help" to get connected with the closest American missionary and get help.
The World Helpline urgently needs unused airline miles, emergency supplies, used iPhones and 1,000 new volunteers to keep providing for Americans overseas.
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