FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – September 10, 2019) Hurricane Dorian is one of the strongest and longest-lasting storms on record in the Atlantic, claiming the lives of at least 45 people and leaving an estimated 70,000 homeless.
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) calls upon all global Baptists to join us in prayer for the people of The Bahamas, those on the East Coast of the United States of America, and the people of Nova Scotia, Canada, who have been impacted by this storm. The BWA stands in support of the Baptist conventions and unions in the impacted regions and is committed to mobilize disaster relief efforts through Baptist World Aid (BWAid), which includes the newly-established Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD).
To that end, the BWA is sending an initial grant of $8,000 (USD) to The Bahamas National Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention to be utilized for immediate emergency relief in the area and will continue to respond as specific needs are identified.
Rev. Everton Jackson, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, met with representatives from the local convention on Monday, September 9, to tour some of the impacted areas in The Bahamas.
“It is still too early to know the full extent of the damage occasioned by the hurricane, but what is sure is that prayers are needed for those affected and those in the path of this dreadful hurricane,” said Jackson. “In addition, support will be needed to aid the restoration of the affected countries.”
As reports continued to emerge and local assessments are made, it is clear that the devastation is significant and will require long-term efforts as thousands begin the process of rebuilding homes and lives.
Through the network of BFAD, the BWA has conducted multiple action calls over the last week to assess and coordinate efforts among global Baptist organizations and to support partners on the ground in the impacted regions.
“Our heart is to work together as the global Baptist body to respond and walk alongside those who are facing this crisis, not just now but also in the long process of recovery,” said Rachel Conway-Doel, BFAD Facilitator. “We are in communication with the local and regional Baptist organizations and will collaborate to develop a unified response based on ongoing assessments.”
Many within the global Baptist family were in The Bahamas in July for the BWA Annual Gathering and were blessed by the Bahamian hospitality.
“Our global Baptist family was in The Bahamas just two months ago for the BWA Annual Gathering. The Bahamians were incredible hosts and eager to share their beautiful country and culture with the world. Now it is time for us to eagerly respond during their time of need,” said Rev. Dr. Elijah M. Brown, BWA General Secretary. “Our hearts are heavy for our brothers and sisters in The Bahamas and for all those on the American and Canadian East Coast who have been impacted. The BWA is committed to respond through prayer, aid, and support and calls upon all BWA Baptists to join us during this critical time of need.”
Specific prayer needs include:
- At least 45 people have died with the death toll likely to climb. Please pray for the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.
- There are significant infrastructure needs, including temporary housing, safe and reliable electricity, and water purification systems.
- The storm greatly disrupted tourism and other economic opportunities in The Bahamas. Please pray for the immediate financial needs of these families and for economic stability as they rebuild.
- Pray for the churches in these regions – many of which the 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.
If you wish to financially support relief efforts, visit bwanet.org/give to make a secure donation online.
Rev. Dr. William Thompson, President of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, voices a special prayer for The Bahamas.
(Photo Credit: Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)