2021 Ministry & COVID-19
December 30, 2020
Here at Connections House, we feel very confident in our decision to resume ministry on June 29th of last year. Here at Connections, we have been called to reach the people of Rosarito, Mexico and the surrounding area. We were not called to serve only when it’s easy. God did not tell us to, “spread the gospel, but shut things down when there are too many obstacles”. We have witnessed several ministries and missionaries who have packed things up and gone home this past year. We have been condemned and criticized for our decision to remain open and accept teams. However, God’s opinion is the one that matters. Since the arrival of our first team in July 2020, restaurants in Rosarito may have had limited capacity, but they have been open for business and most of them open for dine-in as well. This just reassures us in our choice to reopen to teams.
We are doing our best to be safe and careful. Connections House will be continuing with its extra efforts in the cleaning and sanitization of our facilities and ministry materials. We will remain committed to following all social distancing and safety guidelines of our churches, ministry sites, stores, etc. Anyone that is the high risk category of COVID is strongly advised not to come. We will also continue with our rules of greeting with elbows and wearing masks.
Ministry will likely continue to look different this year, especially in the beginning. This past year, all of our ministry included COVID relief – giving out food and/or cleaning supplies. We remained steady in sharing the gospel and trying to encourage the local people as much as possible. In 2021, we would like to add construction ministry to our focus. We would like to use this time to help churches, feeding kitchens, and orphanages in the construction or repair of their facilities. This is something that can be done with very little to no contact with the local people in order to help promote safety and good health.
Please join us in praying that the Lord will work in the hearts of many to come and serve! Contact us if you have any questions at all about ministry during this global pandemic.
Important Advisory & Coronavirus Update
June 29, 2020
After much prayer, tons of research, and advisement, we have made the decision to resume ministry. While most of our summer teams that this point have decided to cancel, we plan to continue ministry and allow teams to come and serve. We understand that there are some that will not agree with this decision, but we do ask that you respect it, as we will respect those that choose to quarantine.
There are a few things that we would like to assure you of. First, we will be taking many precautions here at Connections House. We have implemented a daily cleaning list to disinfect the entire property, with a focus on bathrooms, kitchens, and commonly touched surfaces. We will not be allowing use of our kitchen, refrigerator, ice machine, etc., by teams and guests. All meals at Connections will be served by staff only. All teams and guests will be required to wash their hands before every meal and will be given sanitizer gel before entering the food line.
Second, we will require everyone to wear a mask every time they exit their vehicles and follow all social distancing rules of whatever location they have arrived at. We will be bringing sanitizer, disinfecting spray, antibacterial soap, etc. to the all ministry sites.
Again, we did not come to this decision lightly. We do not know how long quarantine and social distancing protocols will be in effect. We will be keeping a close eye on all laws, mandates, etc. for our area so that we can be sure to follow them. We do feel that there may be even a greater need for ministry at this time. It will definitely look differently right now, but we are looking to the Lord to direct that for us.
Please do contact us if you have any questions. Thank you so much!
Here is a letter of communication that we will be sending to all teams, guests, and staff coming to Connections House:
There are many things to take into account when traveling at this time due to COVID 19. Here at Connections House, we want you to be well informed when considering serving with us here in Rosarito, Mexico.
Please know that we have given great consideration as to whether or not we should continue with ministry this summer as planned. The reality is that there is still a great need here in the Rosarito and Tijuana area. Many people have been out of work and unable to buy food. There was a recent fire in Tijuana that has left several families homeless and with very little. And of course, there is a great spiritual need as there are many that do not know our Lord and Savior.
The US Embassy & Consulates in Mexico has posted the following entry and exit requirements when crossing the border to Mexico:
- The United States and Mexico entered a joint initiative March 21 restricting non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Non-essential travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. The restrictions are in place until at least July 21.
- Travelers entering Mexico by land from the United States may be denied admission if the purpose of their visit is considered non-essential. Travelers should carry evidence of the essential nature of their visit and evidence of their resident status in Mexico, if applicable.
- Passengers and aircrew members arriving at Mexican airports may be subject to health screenings including temperature checks. Those exhibiting symptoms may be subject to additional health screening and/or quarantine.
There is a lot of information out there, and we have done our best to sift through it and make informed decisions. On June 1st, Mexico implemented the traffic light system for each state. While Rosarito has a very low count of COVID 19 cases, certain areas in Tijuana and other parts of the state have a much higher count. Therefore, at this time, our state of Baja California is still at the highest level of red. We are praying that it will turn to orange very soon. However, since ministry work does not fall under the category of “recreation and tourism”, and we believe that it is essential, and therefore we have decided to continue with ministry this summer.
Will ministry look different? Yes, it will. As of today, churches are still not able to hold services. Some places where we normally minister to may be closed to visitors or have restrictions. Ministry may be more humanitarian focused, such as handing out food, helping families in need, etc. Regardless of what we are permitted to do, we plan to love and serve the local people and share the gospel whenever possible. At times we may be required to wear facemasks and there will be some rules in place for handwashing and sanitization, especially during mealtimes or when serving of food. Also, we have some guidelines for all of our volunteers and team members to adhere to.
1 – Everyone must bring a facemask.
2 – Anyone with a fever or more than one symptom of COVID 19 (as listed below) should not come to Connections House.*
3 – Anyone that is over the age of 60, pregnant, or has an auto-immune disease, is strongly advised to please stay at home.
4 – Everyone should be well informed of general hygiene practices and willing to follow them. It is the job of each Team Coordinator to go over these practices with their team members (or parents/adult in charge to go over with their families or travel companions).
These guidelines are subject to change, and we will keep you posted as best we can. The following page has some general COVID 19 information and general hygiene practices. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Thank you so much and God bless!
Connections House Staff
Information about the Coronavirus:
What is COVID 19?
COVID 19: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
Basic Hygiene Measures According to the Baja California Secretary of Health:
• People with diseases such as: diabetes, hypertension, morbid obesity, renal failure, lupus, cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, as well as transplants, adults over the age of 60, women who are pregnant, and those in charge of the care of children under the age of 12; should shelter at home.
• Maintain a healthy distance, in case of contact with people outside the nuclear family, be at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from each other.
• Greeting from a distance, not greeting by kissing, shaking hands, or hugging.
From the World Health Organization: General recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one meter from persons showing symptoms remain particularly important for all travelers. These include:
- Perform hand hygiene frequently, particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred if hands are not visibly soiled; wash hands with soap and water when they are visibly soiled.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene.
- Refrain from touching mouth and nose.
- A medical mask is not required if exhibiting no symptoms, as there is no evidence that wearing a mask – of any type – protects non-sick persons. However, in some cultures, masks may be commonly worn.
*When should you seek medical attention?
If you have at least two of the following symptoms: coughing/sneezing, fever, or headache.
And is accompanied by any of the following symptoms: difficulty breathing (severe cases), sore throat, runny nose, red eyes, muscle or joint pain.
Mexico’s traffic light system:
- Under red, only essential activities are allowed. Essential activities include: the provision of medical services and supplies, grocery delivery services, operation of grocery stores, restaurant delivery and carryout services, assurance of public safety, maintenance of fundamental economic functions and government social programs, work in critical infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing of transportation equipment. Hotels are limited to 25% occupancy for guests working on critical activities. Parks are also limited to 25% occupancy. Schools in Mexico are closed.
- Under orange, hotels, restaurants, barber shops, open-air parks, and gyms are limited to 50% capacity. Markets and supermarkets will operate at 75% capacity. Additionally, shopping malls, churches, cinemas, theaters, museums, and cultural events will be limited to 25% capacity.
March 19, 2020
Here at Connections House we have been vigilant to closely monitor the situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have gathered data from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, and from local and state governments. On March 17, 2020, the Secretary of Health for Baja California issued a recommendation to cancel all meetings and events of more than 15 people. On the same day, the City of Tijuana issued a similar recommendation for events with more than 10 people.
After much consideration and prayer, we have made the decision to temporarily discontinue all ministry involving more than ten people. We will continue to reevaluate as we keep a close eye on the situation and any recommendations or restrictions from the government. For the moment, the US-Mexico border is open and operating as usual. It is not known whether or not the border crossing will close for a time.
Let us be clear. This decision is not based on fear, but out of respect for the recommendations of government health officials. We must seek the Lord’s wisdom during this time. It is our desire to do our part to make wise choices, as to not contribute to the spread of this outbreak.
Spring and Summer Mission Teams
At this time, we are sad to say that almost 100% of our spring teams have cancelled. If we are to be completely honest, it has been quite painful to watch this happen. That adds up to a significant number of orphanages that will not receive help, children that will not be taught about the Bible or loved on, churches that will not be supported, and most importantly of all – hurting and lost people that will not hear the message of the gospel.
What can be done about it? Well, our Connections staff may be small, but it is our intention to complete as much of the planned ministry as we possibly can. Unfortunately, with the 10-person limit, we will be restricted to mostly construction projects. We are happy to say that some teams have sent funds to continue some of the projects that have been planned for local orphanages, churches, and right here at Connections House. We will be hiring some local people to help us work on these projects. Any donations above and beyond this would be greatly appreciated. The funds donated at this point are earmarked for specific project, leaving some of the projects unfunded.
Any of our spring teams that have cancelled, we ask you to consider rescheduling for summer or later this year. Our summer dates are booking up quickly, so there aren’t many available. However, this would be a great chance to continue with ministry as planned. If you are unable to reschedule for this year, please consider donating at least part of your trip’s budget.
To all our teams who have late spring and summer trips planned, we strongly advise you to wait until your trip gets closer to assess the situation. We firmly believe that the precautions being taken will have a major effect on things, which will more than likely calm down by then.
We thank you for your understanding and for your partnership! Please continue to keep our family, staff, and ministry in your prayers. We are forever thankful!
Seeking His Path,
Ron & Kristy Struska
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
Donations can be made online at give.connectionshouse.org. Just be sure to check the box next to ” for Connection Ministry House ” in order for your donation to go towards ministry and projects.