Hello Next Step Teams,

This is our third COVID-19 update. While we wish we had more concrete news, we’re in the same boat as all of you. We’re patiently waiting for the worst of this virus to pass us over and fervently praying that everyone affected finds healing and solace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We’re still optimistic that in a few short months we will be running a full summer of mission trips and we’re hard at work preparing with our community partners. But we’re not oblivious to the possibility that our summer will look a lot different than previous summers. As it always has been, your safety is our top priority and all of our decisions moving forward will be guided by that commitment.

Our second commitment is that everyone who has decided to partner with Next Step will receive a life-changing mission trip experience. Uncertainty is a precursor to fear and anxiety, and I want you to be 100% confident that your students’ fundraising, efforts and prayers will not be in vain. To that end, this is what we are currently doing to support you and your teams…

We are pushing back our initial payment deadline to April 15th. We don’t want you to have to worry about payments right now. If you need an extension, please reach out to us and we will work with your group. The April 15th date is a moving target and will be adjusted depending on the realities of the time. 

If you or your church decides to cancel your summer mission trip, know that we understand and sympathize with your difficult decision. We will give your group 100% credit for a future trip and allow you to transfer any deposits and payments to other participants. We hope this gives you some flexibility when making the decision that’s best for your group. 

In the event that we can not run a mission trip for you this summer, we’re actively coming up with ways to help your group facilitate a local service project that can utilize Next Step’s programming and experience. Our purpose is to help you connect your students with Christ. We will continue to work with you towards this goal whether you go on a trip this summer or not. 

The next few weeks are critical. We will continue to carefully follow the CDC’s reporting in order to make informed decisions about your summer’s mission trip. And we promise to keep you informed if anything changes on our end. 

We humbly ask that you keep Next Step, our communities and staff in your prayers, and we will assuredly do the same for you. We believe in the real power of prayer. God is so much bigger than our current situation. Our faith might be tested right now, but we can’t let it fail. 

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” – Paulo Coelho

Lastly we just want to thank you for sticking with us. We need each other during this time. We’re just people trying to navigate this world together, and we truly appreciate your support and patronage.

Stay safe and hopeful. 

— Your friends at Next Step



COVID-19 UPATE # 2 (03/16/20)

We wanted to send out another update regarding COVID-19 and our plans moving forward.

This has been a trying week for everyone. The spread and impact of this virus has been unprecedented and left most people around the world struggling to know what to do next. As businesses close, schools cancel and travel screeches to a halt, a summer mission trip shouldn’t have to be one of your worries.

A number of you have reached out to Next Step asking about our plans for this summer’s mission trips. As payment deadlines approach, some are worried they might be paying for a mission trip that will never happen. And some are wondering how they will be able to raise the necessary funds for a mission trip amidst the backdrop of a pandemic. Between having conversations with nervous parents and concerned pastors, some might think it is best to back out of their summer mission trip.

Know that we hear your concerns and completely sympathize with your incredibly difficult position.

Again we want to reiterate that we are 100% committed to our summer mission trips despite the current COVID-19 outbreak. There are many reasons fueling our commitment, but there are two reasons that weigh heaviest on our heart.

First, we have a deep passion for seeing your students connect with Christ and we believe that mission trips are an incredibly powerful way to do that. No doubt your students are experiencing the same fear and uncertainty that all of us are. They need to lean on Christ now more than ever. They need to know that we have a Savior who will bring us through these dark days and rebuild us even stronger. They need to have faith that we will get through this. Beyond the fears of COVID-19, many students are dealing with equally challenging pressures of being a teenager and trying to navigate their way into adulthood. I have seen time and time again how their mission trip experiences radically change their world view. I’ve seen Christ pick them up out of their troubles and literally save them. This is why we started Next Step Ministries.

Second, we see how our mission trip communities and partners are struggling right now. There are thousands of people who rely on our summer mission trips for food, housing and support. For example, our partner in Guatemala is a woman named Betty. She works with a local church to provide housing for impoverished families living in the shadow of a garbage dump. Without your partnership, she cannot continue her ministry. Families who have nothing will continue to suffer. And she is just one example of dozens. I say this not to guilt-trip you into a mission trip, but to remind you of the immense impact your trip has on families across the US and abroad. They need your support now more than ever.

While the current pandemic might seem like the end of the world - I assure you it is not. God is working. As we all work to combat the spread of this virus, life will begin to resemble what it did before we ever heard the word coronavirus. Our world view will probably be changed, but our God will be the same God he was before this all started. He is faithful and he will bring us through this.

It’s currently March. Our summer mission trips do not start for another 3 months. Everything we have learned from health professionals suggests that this virus will not be the same threat in 3 months that it is today. We have time on our side. Because of this, we are confident telling you that we will be running mission trips this summer. Know that we will work with you and walk alongside you through this process. We don’t want fear to keep you from giving your students a life-changing mission opportunity.

Once again, thank you for choosing to partner with Next Step. Your partnership is incredibly important to us and the thousands of families and communities we serve. Feel free to reach out to me any time, day or night, with any challenges, questions or concerns. Together, we can get through this and continue to serve our awesome God!



COVID-19 UPDATE # 1 (03/09/20)

We wanted to send out a quick update regarding COVID-19 (the coronavirus).

First and foremost, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our mission trip participants and community members. Since we started Next Step almost 15 years ago, we have never run a mission trip that we didn’t feel like we could run safely. You put your trust in us and we take that very seriously.

We understand that there are a variety of views and opinions when it comes to the appropriate response to COVID-19. Understandably, many people are very worried about the virus and its spread.

After consulting with health officials and reviewing CDC guidelines, we are confident that we can continue to offer mission trip experiences that will not put our participants at any greater risk of contracting COVID-19. We are not canceling any of our mission trips, nor do we anticipate doing so in the future. Next Step will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC to establish our protocols for this summer.

We are committed to keeping you updated and informed over the coming weeks and months. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

We truly appreciate your partnership and can’t wait to see how God will move this summer.

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