VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/13/12)—The Haiti Second Anniversary Collection of reflections, stories and photos remembers the January 12, 2010 earthquake and the subsequent two years of re-building efforts. It is now available on the IM website at http://www.internationalministries.org/topics/haiti_earthquake.
The journals written by missionaries, staff and volunteers recount the ways in which donations of over $3 million to One Great Hour of Sharing are being used to bring relief and reconstruction to this still-struggling country.
A variety of voices and experiences represented in words and pictures tell stories of surprises, joys and challenges. Much has been said in the secular media about the speed and efficacy of Haiti re-building efforts. These journals recount real, on-the-ground experiences of Haitian Baptist churches and among fellow believers in Christ. The voices reflect everything from the sage experience of decades of missionary service…to those first-timer volunteers who served without an idea of the obstacles they’d face…to those IM staffers whose daily ministry is coordinating Haiti recovery activities.
To get a sense of the commitment, intensity and passion of God’s people in Haiti, read excerpts from the Haiti 2nd Anniversary Collection below. To see the full journals, go to http://www.internationalministries.org/topics/haiti_earthquake.
“God’s people rose up in compassion and love for this small country that suffered so much. God’s call was heard by countless people around the world to mobilize help for the disaster,” recounted Dr. Steve James, IM medical missionary in Haiti.
Kristy Engel, RN, MSN, CPNP serving as an IM medical missionary in the nearby Dominican Republic, recalls, right after the earthquake “our hospital began getting calls and visits … asking us to spearhead a relief trip to Haiti as soon as possible. The area hospitals would make donations of supplies and personnel if we would lead.’ Kristy, a gifted volunteer organizer, led scores of medical teams deep into the affected areas. “We were versed in … working in difficult conditions, making do with what we had and doing all of it with caring and loving hearts.”
Within hours, “our phone was ringing off the hook,” remembers Angela Sudermann, volunteer coordinator for IM. “American Baptists and our ecumenical brothers and sisters have always answered the call in time of dire need. What has been inspiring is the number and diversity of the volunteers.”
IM’s missionaries serving in Haiti, as well as missionaries serving all over the world also responded. Bruce Borquist, IM missionary in Brazil summarized, “[A team of IM missionaries] were asked to [work together] on “special assignment” to work with the Haiti Baptist Convention (CBH) on the design of church-based integrated development programs. Our Team did field research and consulted with the CBH about possible economic and agricultural development projects the Convention could undertake using these gifts.”
Lisa Rothenberger, world relief officer for ABCUSA continued, “We’ve worked extensively through our long-term partner in Haiti, CBH. I’m also very proud of the ways we have responded with our ecumenical partners. We have worked with Church World Service, IMA World Health, Eastern Mennonite University, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.”
“The work has moved from disaster-relief to development. “Now the efforts are focused on development,” says Nancy James, IM medical missionary serving in Haiti. “American Baptists and Cooperative Baptists have given sacrificially to the effort which continues to make Kingdom-building changes for thousands of God’s people in need. Volunteers, alongside.”
Good progress has been made. And IM missionaries and volunteers continue to work alongside their Haitian brothers and sisters. “One of the Jewels in the crown is the Baptist School in Grand Goâve, Haiti,” comments Herb Rogers, retired IM missionary in Haiti and current IM special assistant. “The Christian community has rallied around to rebuild with the help of volunteers from American Baptist and Cooperative Baptist Churches. They have nearly completed the Siloé Baptist School. The local population now says that it is the most beautiful school in Grand Goâve.”
“Although it has been two years since the earthquake, our celebration is in the ongoing journey that began in the 1800’s of American Baptists and Haitian Baptists serving together to change the world for Christ,” added Sudermann. “Through the years of building relationships through partnership American Baptists were able to answer the call of God to serve Haiti in a time of deepest need.”
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with eight out of ten people living in extreme poverty, is about the size of Maryland, and is located on the western half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic is on the eastern half.
Donations for Haiti rebuilding are still needed. Go to http://www.internationalministries.org/give/80 on the secure website. Or write a check payable to “One Great Hour of Sharing – Haiti Earthquake Relief” and mail to: International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Or make a check payable to your church and write “Haiti Earthquake Relief” in the memo section.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the General Board of American Baptist Churches USA. 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 USA 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.