VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/19/11)—$10,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds have been sent through International Ministries to IM’s partner, Unión Evangélica Bautista de España (U.E.B.E.) in Valencia, Spain in the aftermath of two earthquakes that struck the historic city of Lorca on May 11.
American Baptist International Ministries missionaries Carlos Bonilla and Mayra Giovanetti and their three children live about 200 miles from the epicenter of the quakes in Lorca; they are unharmed. Mayra reported that 91 people from First Baptist Church (FBC) of Lorca and the mission church, The Good Shepherd, have lost their homes. Sanctuaries in both churches and meeting places have been severely damaged.
In his remarks about the welfare of the Christians in and around Lorca, Pastor Daniel Banyuls, director of U.E.B.E.’s Social Action Ministries, remarked, “Their spiritual strength is remarkable. I hear them praising God and saw them thinking more of the needs of their neighbors before caring for their own needs.”
A commission has been established in Lorca to assess the needs and manage the coordination of the support received from international sources, including OGHS. It is headed by U.E.B.E.’s Social Action Ministries and includes the pastor of First Baptist Church (FBC) Lorca, the lay leader of the mission church, The Good Shepherd, the pastor of the Church in Murcia, and the southeastern area representative.
In addition, the Baptist Mission in Spain has pledged forthcoming significant support. “We have received numerous messages of solidarity from our churches and brothers and sisters from overseas,” added Pastor Banyuls.
Pastor Francisco Martínez expressed his thanks to “all brothers and sisters for the support we are receiving from all the churches, from all the denominations…and we know that they love us and are concerned about us.”
Donations continue to be needed. Donors can mail donations to: International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. Support can also be given by American Baptists through their church by making checks payable to the church with “One Great Hour of Sharing – Spain Earthquake Relief” written in the memo section. These gifts will be sent from the church through the American Baptist region and then to International Ministries.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the General Board. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work, and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
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.