ABHMS offers update regarding recovery from Puerto Rico earthquakes

Top: Volunteers catalogue the supplies received at Primera Iglesia Bautista de Yauco.
Bottom: Pastor Efraín Torres of Iglesia Bautista La Esperanza gives safety instructions to the volunteers from American Baptist churches across the island.

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/16/20)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) offers an update regarding the situation in Puerto Rico since the recent 6.4- and 5.9-magnitude earthquakes shook the island.

The 10 emergency-response centers that ABHMS established this past December are serving as collection and distribution centers for supplies, such as food, snacks, water, ice, first aid, tents, tarps and sleeping bags. In addition, seven churches are serving as collection centers. ABHMS and Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico are collaborating to coordinate the collection and distribution of supplies to affected areas.

Of the 19 American Baptist Churches in affected areas, four sustained damage: Primera Iglesia Bautista de Yauco, Iglesia Bautista Casa de Oración, Iglesia Bautista Sinaí de Guánica and Primera Iglesia Bautista de Ponce. In addition, two pastors have lost their homes.

Primera Iglesia Bautista de Guayanilla is serving a hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily to 50 people. The church is also distributing 70 grocery bags to the community daily. While Primera Iglesia Bautista de Guayanilla is serving as a shelter, housing 20 people daily and 100 people nightly, Primera Iglesia Bautista de Yauco is allowing 20 individuals to sleep in their cars in the church’s parking lot.

Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mayaguez is serving hot meals to 150 individuals from Guánica—the epicenter of the earthquakes—at a refugee camp in Sabana Grande. In addition, other churches in the Mayaguez area are feeding people.

As previously reported, ABHMS, on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, has released $15,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to partners in Puerto Rico, including $10,000 for Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico.

How you can help

Pray for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico daily at 20:20 hours. Part of the concern is that the lack of electricity, water and gasoline will trigger widespread panic in addition to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder initiated by Hurricane Maria.

Donations can be made online, via your church or check mailed to the attention of Leda Carter at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406. Make the check payable to American Baptist Home Mission Societies and write “OGHS-Puerto Rico Earthquake” on the memo line.

One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check.

One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.