VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/20/21)—International Ministries (IM) and American Baptist Churches USA invite prayers and support for Haiti and the people of Haiti in the wake of the August 14 earthquake, which devastated the southern portion of the Caribbean nation. As of August 19, the deaths of over 2,000 persons and injuries of more than 12,000 are attributed to the 7.2 magnitude quake, which struck about 150 km west of the capital city, Port-au-Prince. The initial quake has been followed by ongoing aftershocks and compounded by heavy rains and flooding from Tropical Storm Grace. These natural disasters occurred even as the Haitian people continue to endure years of social unrest, economic hardships, increased gang violence, and heightened political unrest in the aftermath of the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
IM Global Servants Nzunga Mabudiga and Kihomi Ngwemi, who serve in the northern portion of Haiti, are currently outside of the country but have been in contact with partners in Haiti. IM’s leadership is consulting with Nzunga and Kihomi, with global servants working with Haitians in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well with as our Haitian partners and global Baptist and ecumenical partners to determine how to offer relief, aid, and support most effectively.
“Responding to Saturday’s devastating earthquake will require a different model of response than what has been the norm in the past. The security situation within Haiti is severely limiting access to the survivors. This will be an opportunity for us to work more closely with partners in Haiti, old and new, creatively and collaboratively, to equip those already in Haiti and able to access the needed resources with the financial resources to meet the needs,” says World Relief Officer Lisa Rothenberger.
In contrast to the early response to the 2010 earthquake which devastated Port-au-Prince, IM will not immediately be sending volunteer teams or individuals to Haiti. Continuing aftershocks, gang violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic yield a volatile situation in which IM and our partners are not able to deploy and support personnel effectively. According to Director of Short-Term Mission Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil, “We are not in a position to send any teams to Haiti and must honor and respect the expertise of first responders on the ground.”
Financial support for the relief efforts for our Haitian brothers and sisters is being provided by One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) through IM, in coordination with our Baptist and ecumenical partners. Persons wishing to support relief efforts can be made via your church; by visiting www.abc-usa.org and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page; or check designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing” and mailed to ABCUSA, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. Please enter “OGHS-Haiti Relief” in the Comments section when giving online or giving by check.
One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check or, if giving online, in the “comment” box.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries 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 received by churches.
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.