Helping the Haitians

Breaking news out of Haiti breaks our hearts. The images of unimaginable suffering continue to be seen on television and via the Internet. The earthquake of 7.0 on the Richter scale has shaken the emotional foundation of the world.

For Alabama Baptists and other concerned Christians, the question is what we can do to help the Haitians? Perhaps the best way to begin to answer that thoughtful question is to consider both short-term and long-term strategies.
At present, we need to bathe the situation in prayer. The hurting people of Haiti need our prayers. As Oswald Chambers once said, “Do not pray for a greater work. Prayer is the greater work.” Indeed, there is no greater work for Christian believers than the ministry of praying.

Obviously, we desire to do something in addition to praying for the people. Giving through constructive and proven channels is another way to aid the masses of people in this nation ravaged by earth-shaking destruction.

For more than 15 years, our sister state convention in Florida has working and ministering in Haiti through a vital and strong missions partnership effort. In addition, the connection of Haiti to Florida is a natural one, due to the number of Haitians living in the Sunshine State.

On behalf of Alabama Baptists, your State Board of Missions has already sent an initial check of $50,000 to the Florida Baptist Convention. More, much more, is needed and Alabama Baptists will respond to this devastating situation as we have during the aftermath of the storms and other tragedies of the past.

Contributions designated for disaster relief may be made by check or by credit card. To donate, go online to http://www.sbdr.org/donate. As donations are received, we forward them on behalf of Alabama Baptists to the Florida Baptist Convention for use on the ground in Haiti. The partnership with Florida Baptists and the North American Mission Board ensures your donations will be used both effectively and efficiently.

The long-term strategy is much more involved. When the green light is given to us, Alabama Baptists will respond with trained disaster relief personnel to be sent to Haiti. Long after the news spotlight has shifted elsewhere and many relief agencies have departed, the yellow shirts of Alabama Baptists and other Southern Baptists will be on the ground working in recovery, restoration and rebuilding.

More than four years after Hurricane Katrina, Alabama Baptists are still working in the hard hit areas of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The same will most likely be true in Haiti. Some of the hardest work comes after the days, weeks and months following such a traumatic disaster.

Our disaster relief strategist, State Missionary Mel Johnson, will be working alongside many other similar leaders in the days to come. Their efforts will be to maximize every dollar and human resource possible in helping the Haitians through this difficult time.

As we view the riveting images of human suffering, we grow impatient, wanting to do something for hurting people affected by the devastation. Short-term and long-term strategies involve intercessory praying, intentional giving and in some instances, individuals going to Haiti. The short-term strategy is now unfolding. In the near future, it will blend into the long-term strategy.

Thanks, Alabama Baptists, for your praying, giving and going. Remember, disaster relief is a vital part of our one mission, the Great Commission. These efforts are financially undergirded by our one program, the Cooperative Program. Together we make a difference for Christ in a world of hurting people including our Haitian friends.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]