Global Safety and Security

LCMS staff utilize industry-leading resources to help keep missionaries safe so they can serve to the best of their ability.

In 1894, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) called its first international missionary, thereby launching a legacy of mission work that has impacted the lives of people in 90 countries around the world. Missionaries have many opportunities to share the Gospel and show mercy, but they also face many challenges and changing situations, such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks and political unrest.

The LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) dedicates some of the dollars generously given to LCMS World Relief and Human Care to help the Synod’s missionaries navigate these complex situations. The goal of this effort is to keep them safe, while also providing peace of mind so that they can serve to the best of their ability.

In September 2022, Jay Kuczynski joined the OIM as global safety and security manager, with the goal of being proactive and “trying to limit the impact of incidents or prevent them from happening in the first place.” In this role, Kuczynski approaches safety and security through educating, equipping and empowering mission staff to utilize the information, tools and resources that are available to them. Part of his role includes monitoring situations around the globe, providing relevant reports to the Synod’s regional mission teams, helping to identify local medical providers, and training new missionaries during the orientation process.

Through the global safety and security program, the OIM utilizes industry-leading resources that possess the capability to assist missionary families with their care needs, both security and medical related.

“The biggest risk revolves around medical [issues],” Kuczynski said. “Places where people haven’t had the opportunity to hear about Christ often happen to be the same places where medical standards are lower [than what most of us are used to]. We’ve placed a lot of our focus and investment on aligning our resources to help our missionary families find providers that can appropriately care for their needs.”

Kuczynski also closely monitors developing situations around the world, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict. In cases like these, he tries to anticipate how these situations could impact the Synod’s international workers and projects — not only in the hotspot itself, but also as those tensions radiate to other countries and populations.

Most recently, he worked with the Asia regional team to develop an evacuation plan for staff living in Taiwan who could be impacted by rising tensions with China. Kuczynski then hosted a simulated exercise with the regional leadership team to work through how that plan would work. “Having this plan in place allows us to make a more strategic decision instead of one based on emotion or fear, with the aim to keep missionaries in the field longer without jeopardizing their safety,” he said.

Through these efforts, Kuczynski said the OIM is “putting together a program that is intended to support our missionary families and also our international travelers … to increase long-term retention and success.”

Learn More

You may also like
Top ↑