VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/1/17)—It’s been more than a month since Hurricanes Irma and Maria together delivered a devastating one-two punch to the people of Puerto Rico. Seventy percent of homes, hospitals, churches, schools and businesses remain without power. Many Puerto Ricans are relocating to the U.S. mainland.
American Baptists began to respond quickly to the needs of their Puerto Rican brothers and sisters. The American Baptist Home Mission Societies committed to lead the entire American Baptist Churches (ABCUSA) family in raising $1 million dollars to rebuild, restore and renew Puerto Rico.
The Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico (IBPR) has long been a loved region of ABCUSA. In 2018, a Puerto Rican leader, Dr. Josué Gómez, Esq., will become president of ABCUSA.
Puerto Rico has also played a crucial role in the mission that God accomplishes through American Baptist International Ministries (IM), providing global servants, staff and members of the Board of Directors—as well as vital prayer and financial support for many years.
September’s hurricanes have blown a hole in the lives of all Puerto Ricans. Of 114 IBPR churches, over 40 have sustained serious damage and 26 have been largely destroyed. Church members have lost homes, vehicles, businesses and jobs. It is estimated that over half a million of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million people will leave the island in search of better living conditions within the next six months.
In the face of this devastation, IM global servants from Puerto Rico, especially Ingrid Roldán-Román and Madeline Flores-López, have been serving in the early relief and recovery efforts and will continue to play a supportive role in the IBPR and ABHMS efforts to rebuild, restore and renew Puerto Rico for years to come.
These dedicated Puerto Rican global servants need your help because the hurricanes also blew a hole in the annual fundraising efforts through which Puerto Rican Baptists provide them with crucial support. People throughout the Caribbean and the Americas are counting on the ministries of these global servants, and IM is counting on you to help fill this financial gap so that these ministries will be able to continue uninterrupted:
Training in discipleship, evangelism and church planting, transforming conflicts and building peace, preparation of congregational leaders, providing shelter and restoration from domestic abuse and connecting volunteers with opportunities to serve.
You can enable these vital ministries to continue in the name of Jesus Christ, despite the impact of the storms. With your special gift to support global servants from Puerto Rico, you can come alongside both the missionaries and their supporters by standing in the funding gap created by the hurricanes. IM is appealing to our longtime friends to make an additional gift above and beyond what you so generously do already, to help close the gap of $180,000 created by the water and winds of Irma and Maria.
Stand in the gap. To support Puerto Rico’s global servants, donations designated to “Puerto Rico – Stand in the Gap” can be made through your church; by visiting www.abc-usa.org and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “Puerto Rico – Stand in the Gap,” or mail your check to International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Please write “Puerto Rico – Stand in the Gap” on the memo line. On behalf of those missionaries and the people they serve throughout the Americas, thank you!
IM’s global servants from Puerto Rico:
Ingrid Roldán-Román works in one of the poorest regions of Panama, bringing the knowledge of Jesus, meals and tutoring to the area’s most vulnerable children.
Ketly & Vital Pierre established a successful church-planting movement in Nicaragua. They work in evangelism and church planting with migrant workers of Haitian descent, the most vulnerable people in the Dominican Republic.
Ricardo Mayol Bracero is based in Guatemala and works to transform conflicts and promote peace throughout the hemisphere. He formerly served in leadership training and economic development among the marginalized people of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and, later, the indigenous peoples of Mexico’s poorest state.
Mercy González Barnes has trained evangelists and church leaders in Northern Baja California, Mexico, for two decades, and now enriches the church leader training programs of seminaries and conventions.
Madeline Flores-López is deeply beloved by partners and volunteer missionaries throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. for her work of connecting short-term servants with opportunities to make a difference in Jesus’ name.
Deliris Carrión-Joseph and her husband, Moise, currently work in Tijuana, Mexico, to provide shelter and restoration for survivors and families of domestic abuse. She has also been an evangelist and chaplain in Baptist schools of El Salvador and a physical therapist and pastoral counselor among the survivors of the Haiti earthquake of 2010.
Carlos Bonilla & Mayra Giovanetti have been used by God in discipleship formation and the training of church leaders in Chile, Spain and Nicaragua, and they have been invited to continue this work in one of the most neglected areas of Colombia.
International Ministries, also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.