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Teams focus on construction, medical needs, evangelism, discipleshipcomment (0)

November 17, 2011

By Gary Hardin

When the January 2010 earthquake inflicted severe damage in Haiti, Alabama Baptists responded immediately through disaster relief ministry. After the disaster relief work wound down in the summer of 2010, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) formed a ministry partnership with Jacmel, a large region in southern Haiti.

To date, 43 teams from Alabama Baptist churches have provided short-term missions ministry in Jacmel. Teams focus on church construction, medical needs and evangelism-discipleship ministries.

In March, a 10-member team from Hopewell Baptist Church, Andalusia, constructed a church in less than a week.

Phyllis Walters knew the team had work to do when, on the first day, it worshiped with the Haitian Baptist congregation while sitting on 2-by-4 boards nailed to posts under two tarps.

“We started our construction of a building for this church on Monday, and by Thursday, we had the work completed,” Walters said. “We even had enough lumber left to build 14 benches for the people to sit on and also a pulpit for the church’s pastor. He was so excited to be able to preach from a pulpit.”

Her husband, Glen, was amazed at how quickly the construction project came together.

“Whenever we needed something, it was there. God showed up and showed out,” he said.

A 15-member medical team from Guin and Winfield found it accomplished much in a short time frame as well. It treated 1,100 people in less than five days in June.

“It was amazing how the Lord gave us strength,” said Teresa Markham, a nurse and member of First Baptist Church, Guin. “We treated people at three different locations and turned no one away.”

First, Guin, sent four other members to do church construction and orphan ministry. “The effect on our church was wonderful,” Markham said. Paul Radosevich, associate pastor for mission and family life at First Baptist Church, Decatur, has seen the effect a missions trip to Jacmel can have.

Just a few weeks ago, a team of nine men from First, Decatur, built a church, handed out audio Bibles and showed the “JESUS” film.

“By the end of the week, our team members were drained both physically and spiritually, but we know God used us,” Radosevich said.

For Hopewell Baptist, one trip wasn’t enough. Pastor Barry Wilkinson organized a six-member evangelism-discipleship team that ministered in Haiti in July. Women on the team taught Bible studies for Haitian women in the mornings; men taught Bible studies for men in the afternoons. Team members also did children’s ministries after lunch each day.

“Some of our people had never taught adults before,” Wilkinson said. “It was a real faith-stretching time for them.”

Opportunities abound for Alabama Baptist churches to minister in Haiti in the latter half of 2012.

Scotty Goldman, an associate in the SBOM office of global missions who coordinates teams, said there is a critical need for dental teams. He also mentioned a need for pastors to help with a pastors conference.

“We wish to take several pastors from Alabama to teach Old Testament, New Testament and personal evangelism to Haitian pastors,” Goldman said.

For more information, visit www.alsbom.org/haiti.

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