OGHS

American Baptists Respond to Nepal Earthquake

Nepal-Earthquake.jpg

A massive earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 shook Nepal on Saturday near its capital, Katmandu, according to the New York Times. People in the capital described scenes of panic and collapsed buildings, and the United States Geological Survey predicted severe damage to villages near the quake's epicenter, about 50 miles from Katmandu. As of April 28 the BBC reports over 5000 people have lost their lives, and the Nepalese government fears this number may eventually surpass 10,000.

American Baptist International Ministries (IM) Area Director, the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, is contacting leaders of IM partner organizations who are based in Katmandu, the Rev. Jir Man Rai, General Secretary of Nepal Baptist Church Council; Mr. Subash Pradhan, Principal of Nepal Baptist Bible College; and Mr. Tirtha Thapa, Director of Human Development and Community Service. As a first response to this disaster, $25,000 in emergency relief funds from One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) has been released to trusted partners of American Baptist International Ministries (IM) in Nepal. Additional relief aid is urgently needed.

"We are conveying condolences to the earthquake victims and prayer for peace and strength to them and their country on behalf of American Baptist sisters and brothers," stated Chan. "Mr. Thapa replied that he is attending the worship service, and 'so far we all are fine.'"

IM development worker Taku Longkumer is attending the Annual Meetings of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India in Tura, Meghalaya which is about 340 miles from Katmandu.

Taku shared, "We were shaken during this morning's massive earthquake in Nepal. No problems here, but we need to pray for those impacted."

If you would like to make a donation to respond to this crisis, please give online today. Both individuals and churches may also send One Great Hour of Sharing Offerings to:

ABCUSA Accounting
Mission Resource Development
PO Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
800-222-3872

Hurricane Sandy Response - Awesome Deeds of Righteousness!

2013-07-Sandy-Work-Week-4.jpg

ABCNJ/ABHMS Sandy Work Week

Making a Difference!

 

 

ABCNJ and our American Baptist partners are making a difference on the Jersey shore (and beyond)!

Volunteers from FBC Westfield

The third of four Hurricane Sandy Relief work weeks, sponsored jointly by ABCNJ and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, is coming to a successful close.  Volunteers from New Jersey (ABCNJ), Pennsylvania (ABCOPAD), Indiana (ABC Ind/KY), Rhode Island (ABCORI) and West Virginia (WVBC) are among those participating - 94 in all!

As Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABCNJ, I am so proud of how our region and its churches have responded to the storm.  We have repaired and rebuilt buildings, and more importantly, have served our communities in countless ways.These work weeks demonstrate that we are not alone - the entire ABCUSA family is alongside us!  And we are making a difference in the lives of families along the shore and beyond.  Folks keep letting us know how much they appreciate what the volunteers are doing.

I had the opportunity to visit some of the work sites on Tuesday (August 16), accompanied by Victoria Goff (ABHMS), Denise Gratzel (ABCNJ Disaster Relief Coordinator) and Mark Mahserjian-Smith (ABCOPAD).

A refrigerator damaged by the storm.

This has been an extraordinarily hot week, but that has not dampened the enthusiasm of our volunteers.  Each day they keep on serving!

Our Hurricane Sandy Response volunteers are involved in many activities, including painting interior walls of homes damaged by the storm, cleaning up and beautifying yards, hauling debris from homes (like refrigerators!), preparing a community center for future relief activities, and preparing the building adjacent to ABCNJ's Pilgrim Baptist Church, for future ministry.

But it is not just the physical labor that is touching peoples' lives.  Our volunteers have also been listening to the stories of and then praying with those they are helping.  Many have been through so much trauma and they deeply appreciate a listening and compassionate friend.

Victoria Goff, a homeowner, Denise Gratzel and Lee Spitzer

awesome deeds of righteousness

2013-07 Sandy Work Week 8As I reflected on what is happening in our midst, I was led to read Psalm 65.  In verse 5 and 7, David exclaims: "You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, ...who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves."  This week, I witnessed the "awesome deeds of righteousness" of God's people in response to the storm of a century, and from their actions, God's grace and love brought a measure of peace and consolation to those whose lives have been tossed about.

Looking to the future, we still have a work week scheduled for August 10-17, 2013.   In 2014, we hope to sponsor two more work weeks.