FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – March 29, 2019) Cyclone Idai, regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record, continues to cause devastation across southern Africa with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi the most significantly affected. In response to this disaster, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is seeking to support the Baptist conventions and unions in the impacted region as well as mobilizing disaster relief efforts through Baptist World Aid (BWAid) and the newly established Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD). BFAD’s goal is to coordinate response efforts, create greater impact, and strengthen partnerships on the ground.
“We are working together to establish how best we can respond as the global Baptist body to the crisis caused by Cyclone Idai which has emerged across southern Africa. We will be working closely with the Baptist Convention of Mozambique and other Baptist agencies who are present in local communities to ensure a response that is best for everyone involved,” said Rachel Conway-Doel, BFAD Facilitator. “At the heart of this response, we want to walk alongside people who are facing this crisis, grieving and vulnerable. We will be trusting God for wisdom, resources, and safety for all those involved.”
Conway-Doel traveled to the region this week to assess specific needs, including a visit to the port city of Beira, Mozambique. Beira is home to Pastor Manuel Moises Quembo, General Secretary of the Baptist Convention of Mozambique.
“I live in Beira, the city that was most affected by the cyclone. We praise the Lord that our lives were spared,” said Pastor Quembo. “After Cyclone Idai, many church buildings and pastors’ houses were severely destroyed. The immediate needs are food and pure water followed by construction materials such as cement and zinc sheets for reconstruction. I thank you for your concern and willingness to support.”
If you wish to financially support relief efforts, donations can be made securely online atBWANet.org/online-giving.
“It is during challenging times like this that we are reminded of both the responsibility and the privilege we have to bear one another’s burdens,” said Rev. Elijah M. Brown, BWA General Secretary. “I am grateful for the collaborative spirit among our brothers and sisters in Christ and the opportunity we have at the BWA to network Baptists to respond through prayer, aid, and support – not just today but in the years to come as these regions navigate the rebuilding process.”
The BWA calls upon all BWA Baptists to join us in prayer about the following:
- Over 650 people have died with the death toll likely to climb. Please pray for the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.
- Multiple cholera cases have been discovered in Munhava, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the port city of Beira. Malaria is also on the rise, so please pray that these illnesses and others will not spread.
- This will disrupt the harvest season, so impact on long-term livelihoods is significant. Please pray for the immediate needs of these families and for economic stability as they rebuild.
- Pray for the churches in these regions – many whose buildings, members, and surrounding communities have been affected. Pray that they will be a witness to God’s love and be equipped with the resources to restore what has been lost.
- Communication is still difficult. Communities and relief agencies are struggling to connect and remain in touch with friends and family in the affected areas. Please pray for efforts to restore the communication infrastructure as quickly as possible.
A prayer request list is available for download and distribution here.
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 240 conventions and unions in 125 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.
J. Merritt Johnston
Director of Communications & Media
Phone: +1 (214) 577-9187