VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/12/11)—One year ago today a devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti about 16 miles west of the nation’s capitol Port-au-Prince. In less than 60 seconds, major portions of the area were left in shambles and lives were changed forever. Massive casualties resulted. More than 1 million people became homeless, 4,000 schools were destroyed and then months later, thousands were struck by a cholera epidemic.
American Baptists were deeply affected by the suffering of brothers and sisters in Christ and they responded with an extraordinary level of giving. As of December 31, 2010, $2.8 million was given for Haiti relief through One Great Hour of Sharing.
“In spite of economic recession and uncertainty, people have focused on things that really matter and have reached out in remarkable ways to our Haitian brothers and sisters,” commented Reid Trulson, American Baptist International Ministries’ (IM) executive director.
“In addition to generous giving,” commented Lisa Rothenberger, American Baptist Churches’ World Relief Officer, “hundreds of churches sent health kits to Church World Service, volunteers traveled to Haiti to assist with rebuilding efforts or provide emergency medical treatment, and churches around the world prayed for a better future for the Haitian people.”
In a continued spirit of collaboration, American Baptists worked with both Baptist and ecumenical partners in Haiti to respond to the immediate needs and help build the foundation for a stronger future.
“Despite sometimes discouraging news from the major TV and print news outlets, the gifts American Baptists have so generously given continue to make a difference in the lives of Haitian families,” commented José Norat-Rodríguez, IM’s area director for Iberoamerica/Caribbean, which includes Haiti.
“These gifts are improving the lives of ordinary Haitians everyday,” he said. American Baptists’ gifts and thousands of hours of labor are being put to work in tangible ways to rebuild schools, get children back in class, help individual families start small businesses, give the recently disabled skills to earn a living, and provide provisions at a refugee camp for displaced Haitians.
“Hope is indeed alive in Haiti–because of God’s grace and the continuing response of followers of Jesus and other people of good will,” concluded Trulson.
IM has prepared seven new mini-videos to highlight the significant contributions that American Baptist churches are making in Haiti. Through stories of our missionaries and partners and a financial report, you will see that God is working through American Baptists. This information is summarized on a printed flyer that is also available on the website. The new resources are available starting today through January 14.
Churches and individuals are invited to download the videos and flyers from the IM website: http://www.internationalministries.org/topics/haiti_earthquake. They are designed for use with congregations for Mission Moments, Bible study and Sunday School classes.
In the coming days, additional information and educational materials will be sent through email and be available on the IM website for use in churches. A brief email survey will conclude the commemoration of the one-year anniversary with an invitation to churches to voice their opinions on the quality and quantity of IM’s reporting on Haiti giving and progress during the year. IM will use this information to improve communications and education to churches in the future.
American Baptist International Ministries is a Christian mission organization connecting U.S. churches and individuals to holistic missions around the world. Organized in 1814, IM is the first Baptist mission agency formed in North America serving more than 1,800 short- and long-term missionaries annually, bringing U.S. and Puerto Rico churches together with partners in over 70 countries in cutting-edge ministries that tell the good news of Jesus while meeting human needs.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.