VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/2/12)—One “superstorm.” Six countries. The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Western Hemisphere is staggering.
Long before Sandy came ashore in New Jersey, the hurricane had cut a deadly, destructive swath through the Caribbean. Osbel Gutiérrez, pastor of Fourth Baptist Church in Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, described Santiago with words like “devastation.” Reina Rodriguez, pastor of Peniel Baptist Church in Jiguani described Santiago as “a disaster.”
Even as Sandy was damaging 70% of the homes in Santiago and wiping out farms throughout eastern Cuba, the storm was also destroying crops and taking lives in southern Haiti, where the confirmed death toll is already over 50. Sandy also brought destruction to Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
And then Sandy hit the U.S., spreading death and destruction throughout a huge part of the heavily-populated Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern part of the country, in a drama that most of America was able to follow in real time through the media.
There is an enormous amount of work to be done with and for the victims of Hurricane Sandy — both in the U.S. and in the Caribbean. American Baptists began to respond even while the winds were still howling. American Baptist support for the One Hour of Sharing Offering each year enables immediate response after disaster strikes. American Baptist International Ministries is already sending $15,000 to partners in Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship. Similarly, American Baptist Home Mission Societies is also making initial grants for relief work inside the U.S. But this is, indeed, just the beginning. Today’s relief work will become tomorrow’s reconstruction – an effort that will certainly continue for several years.
American Baptists who are eager to join the response can begin to do so by giving. It is still too early for much to be done through donated goods and work teams–though that time will come soon. The most pressing need today is for funds to support the work of local responders, both in the U.S. and in the Caribbean.
Your gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) will make immediate relief and long-term reconstruction possible, both in the U.S. and in the Caribbean.
In order to provide givers with a way to channel their support to the response efforts they choose, two separate One Great Hour of Sharing codes are available: to support the work within the U.S., use this OGHS code: “Hurricane Sandy;” to support the work in the Caribbean, use this OGHS code: “Caribbean Hurricane.” You can make your gift online by visiting http://www.abc-usa.org/Give.aspx and selecting “One Great Hour of Sharing.” Then, enter your selected code in the “comments” field. You will also find information here about making a donation by telephone or sending a check by mail.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries. 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 International Ministries (IM) was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma and today works in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas serving more than 1,800 long-term and short-term missionaries. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God, and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
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.