International Ministries (IM) is partnering with the Lott Carey Global Missional Community and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) to assist in recovery efforts in the Bahamas following the devastating blow inflicted by Hurricane Dorian in early September. The Category 5 storm thrashed Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, destroying 13,000 homes, leaving over 61,000 people in need of food and shelter assistance, and forcing the relocation of over 5,500 people to the capitol city of Nassau.
Bahamian Baptist leaders have identified the provision of spiritual care chaplains for faith leaders and trauma counseling to school-age children who were displaced to Nassau as a priority need. Bishop Victor Cooper, one of the leaders of the Bahamas Baptist Convention, reports “Families have never faced this level of trauma. We all need specialized training and pastoral support to respond adequately.” IM’s Director of Short-Term Mission, Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil, and Rev. Dr. LeSette Wright of Berea College (KY) and Peaceseekers Ministry are currently on an assessment trip to the Bahamas, hosted by Rev. Teruco Tynes, CBF Trauma Specialist. They are visiting schools, shelters, and churches to understand needs and initiate planning for short-term mission teams.
IM anticipates sending short-term (one week) teams of experienced chaplains and licensed trauma counselors beginning in February 2020 for trauma counseling ministry with children, and also to provide spiritual care for church and convention leaders. As long-term recovery plans are established, we will also facilitate sending teams to do house and church repairs and rebuilding. For information about joining a counseling or rebuilding team, contact IM’s Short-Term Mission office at email@example.com.
In September, IM released $15,000 in emergency relief funds from One Great Hour of Sharing to the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship for initial response. American Baptists have since donated an additional $100,000 to support IM’s contribution to the Bahama’s long-term recovery. IM’s World Relief Officer, Lisa Rothenberger, shares “Bahamian families have provided immediate aid to many who have been relocated to Nassau. But the devastation left by Hurricane Dorian means that people will not be able to return home in the near future. A major rebuilding effort will be required before victims are able to return to the place they called home. Funds to support the long-term rebuilding effort are greatly needed.”
Those wishing to support recovery efforts can do so through their American Baptist church, through our online portal, or by sending checks directly to International Ministries. Please designate your contributions “OGHS–Bahamas Relief” on the memo line of your check. If donating online, please select “Hurricane Dorian (Bahamas)” from the drop-down support menu. Checks sent directly to International Ministries should be made payable to “International Ministries” and mailed to:
Attn: Gifts Processing
1003 W 9th Avenue, Ste A
King of Prussia, PA 19406