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Baptist pastor confirmed among dead in Haiti
Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
January 17, 2010
5 MIN READ TIME

Baptist pastor confirmed among dead in Haiti

Baptist pastor confirmed among dead in Haiti
Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
January 17, 2010

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Baptists in Haiti mourned the death of a

beloved pastor killed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Gedeon Eugene, a vice president of the Baptist Convention of

Haiti, told the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) that Bienne L’Amerique, 46, pastor

of Eglise Baptiste du Shiloh (Shiloh Baptist Church) in Port-au-Prince, was one

of thousands of victims buried in rubble of collapsed buildings in the capital

city.

L’Amerique, described as a beloved pastor and leader among

Haiti’s Baptists, was a host to mission groups from the United States and was

due for a U.S. visit next month.

‘‘Everybody in our office is crying,’’ Jack Groblewski,

senior pastor of New Covenant Christian Community in Bethlehem, Pa., told the

Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pa.

With most of Haiti’s power grid destroyed, information from

Haiti was slow in coming during the first three days after the disaster. Eugene

told BWA officials there had been no word on the fate of about 15,000 members

of six Baptist congregations located in Port-au-Prince.

Groblewski said about half of L’Amerique’s church building

collapsed, and it was constructed better than some others. The American pastor

said streets in the neighborhood where Shiloh was located are said to be lined

with corpses, which are covered with sheets or blankets because there are no

body bags.

According to a BWA report, First Baptist Church in

Port-au-Prince also sustained damage.

Baptists in America responded quickly to the humanitarian

crisis, but aid was slow in arriving due to difficulty in getting into the

country.

A medical team from North Carolina Baptist Men left for

Haiti Jan. 14, but was still trying to get across the border a day later.

Texas Baptist Men were waiting for clearance Jan. 15 to send

5,000 water-purification systems that cost $30 each. The group asked for

donations to help cover costs of the $150,000 commitment.

Buckner International was preparing four containers of shoes

and emergency food items for Haiti, which will cost $5,000 per container to

ship.

Buckner asked the public to supply new items such as new socks, tents,

toiletries and new and unopened first-aid kits.

Relief agencies said the best way to help in the short term

is to give money.

Aid cannot be distributed until staging areas are

established, and most volunteer work will not be needed until after the initial

search-and-rescue phase.

Groups including Baptist World Aid, the Cooperative

Baptist Fellowship and American Baptist Churches USA are all raising money for

earthquake relief.

Several Baptist congregations are also making large

commitments to disaster relief. Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco,

Texas, set aside $10,000 for earthquake aid.

Mitch Randall, pastor of

NorthHaven Church in Norman, Okla., asked his church members to give money to

Baptist World Aid.

Randall visited Haiti last year to distribute mosquito nets

with His Nets, a ministry that fights malaria in developing countries started

by T Thomas, coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma.

Baptist leaders also sought prayer for Haiti. www.d365.org,

a devotional web site sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, The

Presbyterian Church USA, and the Episcopal Church, is editing content to guide

readers in devotion and prayer about Haiti.

Colleen Burroughs of Passport, Inc., the organization that

produces d365.org, said the site was created in response to 9/11, when it

became apparent that Advent literature written months earlier for students was

not relevant at the time.

The site offers daily devotions, along with Advent

and Lenten series, but it is also designed to respond immediately to events

like the tsunami in Asia or Hurricane Katrina.

“The immediate response helps make it a relevant ministry to

students,” Burroughs said. Last year d365.org had 450,000 visitors from all

around the world, and the site is currently being translated for Christians in

Mongolia at their request.

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