Kihomi with women’s group
a room addition on a "mediagua"
the community of mediaguas at Cerro La Virgen in Coronel
a Community Health Evangelism (CHE) mtg., addresses health, development, &spiritual needs
Dr. Steve speaks at the CHE meeting
Isn’t there an old hymn that says “Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know?” That is on my mind as I reflect on our recent travels and activities. We have seen two great things recently that demonstrate the beauty and power of the gospel. We have seen servants of the gospel ministering grace, pointing the way to the Kingdom of God, and being empowered to rebuild the “former devastations” (Isaiah 61:4) in two places of profound destruction and loss, Haiti and Coronel, Chile.
As you know, Dwight was in Haiti from September 22 through October 7. Dwight was part of IM’s Haiti Development Advisory Team, along with missionary colleagues Ann and Bruce Borquist (Brazil), Ray Schellinger (Mexico), and Kihomi Ngwemi and Nzunga Mabudiga (Haiti). Our purpose was to help the Haitian Baptist Convention and International Ministries create a plan that can guide IM’s involvement in economic/agricultural projects in cooperation with the Haitian Baptist Convention and other identified partners in Haiti. Our overall purpose was to begin a process of empowering the Convention to strengthen and equip its churches to be centers of integral mission and transformational development in their communities – to share “the whole gospel with the whole person.”
We had many deep conversations with Convention leadership, and visited churches and other organizations already doing effective economic/agricultural development.
As our missionary colleague in Haiti, Dr. Steve James, said, “We saw many signs of the kingdom,” where churches are going to be equipped to lead in the rebuilding of Haiti.
“Be with those who wake, or weep, or watch tonight”
I cannot begin to describe all that I saw. One day we met with about sixty women that missionary Kihomi works with. One woman described how she lost her house, her husband and three of four children in the earthquake. The meeting turned into a time of weeping, then of spontaneous prayer and hymns. Kihomi led them in a pastoral prayer. The women of Haiti are carrying a great burden of grief and responsibility for their families’ survival. Even so, these women testified of their hope in God and the future.
Our missionaries in Haiti are doing extraordinary work and they are superbly gifted by the Holy Spirit with compassion, pastoral wisdom, and love. I have never been more proud of our ABC-IM missionaries.
The earthquake/tsunami relief work we are doing among communities living in the temporary shelters (mediaguas) is always done in partnership with the local church. Our goal is to mobilize and equip the church to minister to material and spiritual needs, and discern where God may be inviting them to evangelize and plant a church.
The church in Coronel caught the vision. They have “adopted” a nearby community of thirty mediaguas. Five other churches caught the vision, too. A few weeks ago a team of twenty men and women came to Coronel from sister churches and worked alongside the residents to install eighteen 6 ft. x 6 ft. room additions.
The Coronel church has been holding worship services and doing pastoral visits in this camp for several weeks. We praise God for letting us see the church be the presence of Christ in this place; rebuilding lives, communities, and helping people find new life in Christ.
Dwight and Barbara Bolick