ATLANTA (ABP) — As part of its ongoing earthquake response efforts in Haiti, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has signed a memorandum of understanding — representing an official partnership — with the Convention Baptiste d’Haiti .
CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal signed the agreement with leadership from the Haitian convention in Atlanta in May. The organizations agreed to a three-year development strategy, including partnerships in medical ministry, restoration and development and micro-enterprise.
“I'm grateful for all that God is doing to meet the needs of our Haitian brothers and sisters as CBF works in concert with our partners at the Haiti Baptist Convention,” said CBF Global Missions Coordinator Rob Nash. “We're committed to ministry in Haiti over at least a three-year period of time, understanding that real healing can only occur as we move beyond a band-aid approach to work that truly transforms the lives of the Haitian people.”
A base camp for Fellowship relief efforts has been established in the community of Grand Goave, southwest of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and among the worst hit by the devastating Jan. 12 quake.
Tim Brendle, a retired Virginia pastor and former missionary to Haiti, has been coordinating CBF’s relief efforts in Grand Goave and has been joined by Tori Wentz, one of the group’s medical field personnel. In the northern areas of the country, CBF field personnel Nancy and Steve James, who are co-appointed with American Baptist Churches USA, are continuing their medical ministry.
Since the quake, more than $1.18 million has been given to the Fellowship’s Haiti earthquake response, which includes new initiatives such as counseling earthquake survivors.
Recently Reid Doster, a pastoral counselor and coordinator of CBF of Louisiana, and David Lane, counseling program coordinator and professor of counseling at Mercer University, traveled to Haiti to lay groundwork for a new program to train Haitians to provide post-traumatic-stress counseling to earthquake victims. Ultimately, Lane hopes to develop a training model that can be easily taught by Haitians to Haitians.
“Essentially, we would train trainers, who can teach fellow Haitians lay counseling,” Lane said. “We see this as something that can be very meaningful for a group of hurting people.”
Mercer’s Ha Van Vo, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, is also working with the Fellowship in Haiti, designing and fitting low-cost prosthetics for earthquake victims. More than 20 people have been measured for prosthetics and have begun the fitting process.
Other ongoing CBF recovery efforts in Haiti include:
–Meeting needs for food and temporary shelter, including distributing food and tarps through CBF partner Conscience International. Near Cap Haitien, where the Jameses minister, His Nets donated 1,000 family-size mosquito nets to Haitian families.
–Developing low-cost ways to harvest and treat water, making it safe to drink and use in agriculture. A specialized drilling unit has been purchased and is being transported to Haiti, where it will allow local residents to drill for water.
–Micro-enterprise efforts including savings and credit associations, vocational training for women and business development. Key leaders will be trained to use a successful micro-enterprise model from Ethiopia.
–Building earthquake-resistant housing through Fellowship partners such as Conscience International and the Fuller Center for Housing, which can construct a single family home for $3,000. Already, Conscience International and local residents have laid the foundation for the first house.
More than 100 volunteers have served in Haiti through the Fellowship, ABCUSA and Conscience International. Though medical and construction teams are scheduled through the end of the year, more volunteers are needed. To volunteer for a medical or construction team in Haiti, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Carla Wynn Davis writes for CBF communications.