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The Open Door


I want to express appreciation to Georgia Baptists who have responded quickly to the needs in Haiti. Your Haiti Relief Offering is approaching $1 million. Every penny of that money will be spent for the relief of the physical and spiritual needs of the people in Haiti.

Some of that money has already purchased 20 tons of beans that have been shipped to Haiti for the relief of hunger. Some resources have been provided to early teams that went into Haiti to assess the damage and how best to respond, and to assist in relief efforts.

More and more Georgia Baptists will be going and we will be going to help for a long time. Much of what we do will be through our friends at the Florida Baptist Convention.

John Sullivan, executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention, has said, “We have a structure in Haiti that does not exist in the Southern Baptist Convention. The International Mission Board does not have a missionary living in Haiti.

Florida Baptists have a 15-year partnership and seven national missionaries that are paid by the Florida Baptist Convention. These missionaries, and a staff of 15, serve at the Florida Baptist mission house in Port-au-Prince.” All are supported by the Florida Baptist Convention.

We join Florida Baptists in rejoicing that all of their personnel and the mission house survived the earthquake and are doing a great work in the aftermath. Sullivan reports that “since the day after the earthquake, these indigenous missionaries have been assessing damage and ministering to their people. In less than a week, they were distributing food and providing medical care in numerous locations, something they are doing continuously.”

Dr. Sullivan cites a three-fold, long-term strategy: first, to provide food until the people can become self-sufficient; second, to help our Haitian Baptist churches repair and rebuild their facilities; third, to help rebuild homes.

I want to thank our churches who have been involved in the “Buckets of Hope” project. You have filled five-gallon buckets with rice, beans, cooking oil, flour, sugar, and peanut butter. The bucket is also a valuable tool for the family and will be a treasured asset for water, food, washing, and storage.

One pastor told me that he had difficulty locating the buckets in his area. The assistant at The Home Depot asked what was going on. He said, “We haven’t been able to keep any five-gallon buckets. They have been flying out of the store.” Way to go, Georgia Baptists!

During these days please pray for our disaster relief director, Stuart Lang. He was already hard at work when Chile experienced an 8.8 earthquake and we do not yet know how much we will be involved in that ministry effort. The IMB is engaged in disaster relief efforts in Chile through Baptist Global Response, the IMB arm for disaster relief work internationally.

Georgia Baptists always respond in times of disaster in a big way. Thank you for all you have done and for what you will do in the months ahead to bring relief to those who are hurting.