International Ministries

Baptists Join Together in Tornado Relief Effort

November 30, 2009 Journal
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How often do tornadoes happen in South Africa?  There have only been eight previously reported deadly twisters here in the past sixty years. On January 11, 1999, one almost injured President Mandela as he shopped at a pharmacy in Umtata. His bodyguards had him lie down and covered him with their own bodies. Elsewhere in the town the tornado killed eleven people and over 150 were injured.  

Since August 2008 we have been ministering in Donnybrook in partnership with Phoenix Baptist Church.  Together we have been helping Pastor Bongamusa to establish a local church called Donnybrook Baptist Fellowship.   On November 6, a small but deadly tornado hit this area. Two people died, 66 were injured, and some 200 homes were destroyed.  After the disaster, the Wind of the Holy Spirit began blowing through the Body of Christ. Pastor Bongamusa immediately called his friends at the Phoenix Baptist Church, and plans developed to make a day trip out to Donnybrook on Saturday, November 14.   I was part of the team of 24 Baptist short-term missionaries from Phoenix and Tongaat that was organized.  Members and friends of the congregation quickly gathered clothing, food and blankets.  The cold, misty weather made the 150 mile 10 truck convoy trip take 4 hours.  When we arrived, we were sad to see the devastation of homes of people who were already on a marginal level of existence.   Some people had received tents to stay in, near the remains of their previous homes.  A week after the tornado, people were starting to rebuild their homes and shelters despite continued rain and cold.

The presence of Christians bringing practical aid at a time like this lovingly demonstrates that the Wind of the Holy Spirit does trump the rotational destruction of tornadoes.

Four of our health builders (Kathy, Savy, Selvie, Pastor Bongamusa) were involved in this outreach. We thank the Lord for the partnership between Baptist churches which allows us to witness together even beyond our local areas.   We will stay engaged in the coming months.                

We made a video, which is being used by Phoenix Baptist Church to inspire members of their congregation to get more involved in mission outreach. If you would like to see the video, it is located at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3exQRmxxWJw

Yours in Christ,

Rick Gutierrez