The IM delegation included Reid Trulson, IM executive director, José Norat-Rodríguez, IM area director for Iberoamerica/Caribbean and Ruth Clark, IM board of directors’ president. Roy Medley, general secretary, American Baptist Churches, USA had been invited to join the delegation but had to cancel for personal reasons.
The primary purpose of this trip was to propose and discuss a mid-term plan for Haiti recovery and rebuilding with CBH leaders. When completed and approved, the plan will be implemented over the next several years. José Norat-Rodríguez presented the seven-point plan summarized below at a meeting in the Haitian city of Grand Goâve in which a Baptist church and school were completely destroyed.
1. In keeping with IM’s history and tradition of medical ministry in Haiti, IM will provide a medical doctor to work with CBH for one year and provide continuing medical care for earthquake victims
2. Scholarship support for students who have been forced to move because their schools/universities were destroyed
3. Reconstruction of medical facilities, orphanages, schools, housing and churches
4. An additional missionary to preach, teach and provide occupational therapy services to Haitian families, as well as a missionary with a background in economic development. These additional personnel will join IM’s current missionaries serving in Haiti: Dr. Steve James (medical doctor) Nancy James (nurse), Nzunga Mabudiga (educator and eye clinic administrator), Kihomi Ngwemi (educator and women’s development) and Herb Rogers (former missionary to Haiti who returned to Grand Goâve after the earthquake for service from mid-February to mid-April). Missionary Kristy Engel continues to bring medical teams from the Dominican Republic (D.R.) into Port-au-Prince. Missionary Madeline Flores-López continues to work with Haitians evacuated to the D.R. for medical care
5. Micro-credit and other economic development approaches which will allow earthquake sufferers to move towards self-sufficiency.
6. Organize a meeting of IM’s missionary medical doctors to reflect on the current needs within Haiti and will bring the results of this meeting to the CBH for discussion and possible implementation.
7. Work with CBH to organize the distribution of large, heavy-duty tents to provide temporary shelter to families still in need.
Also traveling with the group were Ketly and Vital Pierre, IM missionaries to Nicaragua. The Pierres have been assisting the U.S. volunteer medical teams as they arrive in the Dominican Republic to work in Haiti. Also, Deliris Carrión-Rosa, IM missionary who is starting a new ministry in Haiti and Catherine Nold, IM’s director of Communication and Mission Education.
Rounding out the delegation were three representatives from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) who were invited by IM to join this trip. Medical missionaries, Steve and Nancy James have been jointly appointed for their work in Haiti by IM and CBF. A representative from Mercer University also attended the trip.
The trip began on March 17 with a tour of devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti and an evening prayer service of remembrance and hope. Nearly 300 people attended this service with 12 CBH pastor leaders from other cities. Conducted in the cellar of a collapsed parking garage, the service was marked by poignant moments of remembrance of loved ones mingled with tales of courage and messages of hope and gratitude to God.
On March 18 the group traveled four hours to Grand Goâve to visit the Baptist staging areas for rebuilding a school and church. Just completed was a fresh water pump on the grounds of the demolished church that serves the entire community of hundreds of people. Herb Rogers, former IM missionary in Haiti, worked with volunteers and community members to remove rubble and debris and install two toilets and showers and erect tents for the U.S. volunteers who began arriving on March 21.
Donations to One Great Hour of Sharing continue to be needed for further projects. Donors can give through the IM website: www.internationalministries.org/items/80 or by check to: “OGHS- Haiti Earthquake Relief” and mailed to International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. Support can also be given by American Baptists through their church by making checks payable to the church with “One Great Hour of Sharing – Haiti Earthquake Relief” written in the memo section. These gifts will be sent from the church through the American Baptist region and then to International Ministries.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the General Board. 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.