Friday, September 16, 2011

UPDATE FROM ANDY & KAYE MARTIN ~ State Home Assignment Here They Come!

September 2011 – A Quick Note from Andy and Kaye Martin
Writing this newsletter is the last thing on my “To Do” list. Tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 16, we leave London for Eugene, OR. We will be in the U.S. until January 31, 2012 for a stateside assignment. Our time will include speaking in churches (see the schedule below), catching up with friends and family, some travel, training opportunities, personal development and hopefully some rest and personal renewal. We are very grateful to have this time.
We will truly miss Europe, our friends, church, city and neighbors. As I write, Andy is out playing his final golf tournament with his British golf society friends. I asked him to make sure and win this one since we planned our STAS date around this important calendar event! It is hard to believe that we have been in London for 3 ½ years. We have learned so much about Europe, how to pack for 10 days in a small carry on suitcase, how to get around on any mode of transportation, how to navigate the public transportation city in any language, how to communicate with a smile and sign language. We have learned so much about ourselves, how to work together 24-7, we love people, we love our job, but even these 2 extroverts need down, quiet time to recharge and refuel. We have learned so much about God. He is faithful. He provides. He desires to use us as we are available and humble before Him. We have learned so much about how to do our role as Member Care. When we arrived in April, 2008 we were full of enthusiasm and low on experience. We continue to be full of enthusiasm. Hopefully the past three years has provided the valuable experience we needed to not just desire to serve out teammates, but to serve them well, in the ways they need to be ministered to.
As we head back to America we want to thank you all for your support and encouragement. We hope to see many of you during our time in the States and have the opportunity to share stories and experiences. We will be staying with Beckie Hoglund in Eugene. You can contact us at her number: 541.344.9498
Here are a few dates that we have scheduled on our calendar. If you are in the area we would love to connect.
Capitol Baptist, Salem, OR Sunday, Sept. 25
Harvest Community Church, Eugene, OR Sunday, October 23
Meadowbrook Church, Redmond, WA Sunday, October 30
Northwest Baptist Convention, Eugene, OR November 14-16
Radiate, Richmond, VA December 11
Highland Baptist, Redmond, OR TBD

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Famine in the Horn of Africa

Effects of famine stretch far further than hunger

September 9th, 2011
Associated Project: Horn of Africa Drought Crisis
The Horn of Africa (MNN) ― The consequences of a wide-scale crisis like the Horn of Africa famine go much deeper than just starvation or even death. According to a Southern Baptist disaster response expert, the damage done by this catastrophe in people's lives will far outlast today's hunger.
Beyond the hundreds of thousands of people who have died and at least 12 million who are threatened by the disaster, the long-term side effects will affect families -- and even countries -- for at least 10 years, says Pat Melancon, Baptist Global Response managing director of disaster response and training.
"The side effects are just astronomical, and they don't go away once people have food in their stomachs," Melancon says. "Some of the long-term side effects can be devastating, I think, to a community for probably a decade or more."
Entire nations will be rearranged by the end of the crisis, Melancon says.
For one thing, notes Melancon, there has been a massive migration of people within the affected nations. People have left their homes to find food, but even those in "food secure" areas are moving to areas with no food security when they hear that organizations are handing out meals elsewhere.
When people choose to migrate, their land is often seized by others. This, says Melancon, results in a loss of livelihood. People who, up until the crisis, had been pastoral herders or agriculturists suddenly have no land with which to continue their work. On top of that, there has been a significant loss of livestock in drought-affected areas, robbing pastoralists, in particular, of their livelihood.
Those losses encompass entire families, who also will have to struggle with the loss of family members, and, indeed, entire generations.
"Even if you could go back to a perfect situation, where they're back in their home environment, they still have their land and still have their livelihood," notes Melancon. "In many cases, they've lost two generations of people: the older generation who were there to teach the younger generation how to live off the land; and the younger generation who should be coming up to learn from those in that middle age group, and who have actually lived through it."
Many children who have survived have lost their opportunity for education -- a way to a better life. Melancon reports as high as 80% drop out rates in available education venues since the famine struck.
Children, in particular, are at an even higher risk now of inhumane treatment. "People begin to resort to things that are going to enable them to survive," Melancon explains. "So you'll have an increase in the amount of prostitution. You'll have an increase in the amount of trafficking of children. You'll have an increase in the number of child soldiers. When you have children who are starving and you offer them food if they're willing to join your ranks, then it increases the number of children that are available."
Add to that the economic troubles that nations are sure to face as a result of migrations and a responsibility to aid relief. Without Christ, the situation is utterly hopeless, Melancon said.
Currently, BGR is focusing on addressing the immediate need of hunger, but the ministry has been developing self-sustaining programs in that part of the world for 40 years. In the days, months, and years to come, BGR will work to create more of these programs, while spreading the hope of Christ -- the only one who can truly redeem such a tragic situation.
Concerned people can make a difference, even in a massive crisis like the Horn of Africa famine, Melancon says.
"The way that Christians can get involved is, of course, to look at what the needs truly are, and then try either to contribute to or participate in projects that will address the needs that are there right now -- but in such a way that it will allow the people to be self-sustained."
Christians also can pray, Melancon says. Pray for access, which can be difficult in a complex crisis and in nations that have warring factions. Pray for safety for distribution workers, who face more danger from desperate people than even UN peacekeepers face. And most importantly, pray that Christian workers can effectively share Christ's love in word and deed with people who need that message of hope.
Originally published by Mission Network News, on the Internet at

Monday, June 27, 2011

HUMAN TRAFFICKING awareness forum

Two powerful speakers from Portland will join us this evening. Jessica Richardson was once a victim. Now she shares her story of victory as a survivor of intensive trauma and sex trafficking. Dr. Cindi Romine is recognized internationally as one of the leading authorities regarding child sex trafficking, victimization and also provides active solutions in rescuing victims of social justice.
Thursday, July 7 · 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Northwest Christian University Chapel
828 E 11th Ave
Eugene, OR

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update: Andy & Kaye Martin ~ Western Europe

Here we are, checking in after a long absence. Things remain fairly constant on a day to day basis of what fills our days. We get to encourage and listen and speak into the lives of those that have left America and chosen to live their lives overseas. We spend our time communicating in person – which involves travel; or over email or Skype – which takes place in our home. Our responsibility has grown because the number of those that we work with has grown. Our work reminds us daily that we are dependent on G*d’s wisdom, and that we must die to self and let Chr*st live through us.

We have had an influx of team mates moving to London. Any people group in the world can be found in our city. It is safer, easier and often more effective to find and spend time with those people here in London than in their countries of origin. There is refugee work and English as a second language being offered. There are many investigative discussion groups centered on the B*ble and the claims of Chr*st taking place. We have team mates living in London that are here to serve Latinos, Portuguese, Egyptians, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Chinese, Polish, young people, university students and even a few that focus on Brits. The ch*rch that we attend probably has 11 different nationalities represented on any given Sunday. When I get to play the piano I am surrounded by a South African, Puerto Rican, Ghanaian, and several Brits. It is truly is an international city.

News on a personal note includes celebrating our 33
th wedding anniversary with a lovely hike down a portion of the 100 mile Cotswold’s Way, followed up by a birthday overnight get away to Cambridge that included punting down the River Cam. A true blessing has been our oldest daughter Angela and her family’s move to Alconbury, England, a mere 60 miles north of our front door. Her husband Ryan will be stationed as a JAG officer with the Air Force for the next 3 years. We have the amazing joy of getting to see and spend time with Rooke and Gretchen, 2 of our 3 grandchildren, on a regular basis. Aubyn and her husband Scott are expecting their second child at the end of October. They have moved into Vancouver to develop relationships in anticipation of starting a ch*rch in the city. Our son Konnor and his wife Tana have accepted a position as teachers at a university in Zhengzhou, China for a year. They will leave in early August. With their move that means that when we return for our stateside assignment in September, none of our children will be living in America! We see that as a positive, each of them following their dreams and the Lord’s direction in their lives.

Our future plans involve a 4 month stay in Eugene, OR that begins September 16. We will be up and down the I-5 corridor hoping to visit our partner ch*rches, friends and remaining family, including Kaye’s sister’s family and mother living in Redmond, OR. It will be good to reconnect. We look forward to sharing about our ministry and time in Europe. There is great need but great things are happening.

In His Strength,

Andy and Kaye

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Every once in a while we are going to shine a spotlight on an organziation that is working to make the world a better place.  This week we are going to highlight World Vision.  Check out who they are, and what they are doing to shine the light of Jesus into the world.

Who We Are - World Vision

Thank you for your interest in the charitable work of World Vision!
Who we are
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Who we serve
We serve close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
Why we serve
Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.
Reflecting Christ in each community
Wherever we work, our prayer is that our efforts will be used by God to heal and strengthen people’s relationships with Him and with one another. We do this by demonstrating God’s unconditional love for all people through our service to the poor — which includes providing for daily needs, working to build peace and promote justice, and partnering with churches and individuals to encourage spiritual transformation.
Reaching around the globe
World Vision is a global organization with offices in approximately 100 countries. These interdependent national offices are bound together by a Covenant of Partnership, a biblically based agreement that enables us to work together in a unified and complementary way as we walk alongside those we serve.

Employing the best in every region
We are blessed with staff who are experts in a broad range of technical specialties, ranging from hydrology to microenterprise development to public health. And we are inspired by the ways in which they use their God-given abilities in conjunction with existing community resources.

Of the more than 40,000 staff employed by World Vision, 97 percent work in their home countries or regions. Familiar with the culture and language, they bring to World Vision a deeply personal understanding of how best to assist local children and families.

Meeting diverse needs
The millions of people we serve include earthquake and hurricane survivors, abandoned and exploited children, survivors of famine and civil war, refugees, and children and families in communities devastated by AIDS in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Our extensive global infrastructure enables us to respond where the need is greatest, anywhere in the world.
Trusted worldwide
The excellence of World Vision’s work has earned the trust of more than 3 million donors, supporters, and volunteers; more than half a million child sponsors; thousands of churches; hundreds of corporations; and government agencies in the United States and around the world.

We are thankful to God that through these collaborative efforts, we are able to be a part of breaking the cycle of poverty for those in need in our world.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Storm You Never Want To See

Baptists responding to historic tornado outbreak

By Staff
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers in Alabama are assisting emergency response personnel in an effort to find survivors as the death toll from Wednesday’s devastating tornados continues to rise. By mid-Thursday those dead in Alabama had climbed to 162 and a total of 251 were counted dead across a six Southern states. Officials called it the deadliest outbreak of tornadoes in nearly 40 years.

“Right now, our volunteers have been asked to assist in search and rescue efforts,” said Mel Johnson, director of disaster relief for the Alabama Baptist Convention. “That’s a first for us.”

Johnson was one of about a dozen Baptist state convention disaster relief leaders who participated in a Thursday morning conference call coordinated by the North American Mission Board. State representatives shared about damage in their states while others offered resources and volunteers when needed.

“Entire communities disappeared,” Johnson said. “Many hospitals, police departments, local fire departments all sustained damage. At one campsite campers were picked up and swept into a lake.

“We have teams that started responding yesterday,” Johnson said. “They have had to cut their way into these areas.”

Johnson said after search and rescue, their top priority is establishing several feeding sites near large population centers so they can begin serving hot meals to victims.

SBDR leaders in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia also reported damage from Wednesday’s outbreak. As many as a million people are without power in Alabama alone, making meal distribution a high priority.

“This is the storm you never want to see,” said Mickey Caison, NAMB’s Disaster Relief coordinator. “Our top priority is to help people just get through the next few days and weeks. After that, Southern Baptists will be called upon to help with the longer-term effort to remove debris and help victims rebuild.”

The tornados came as Southern Baptists volunteers were also in the midst of responding to floods in Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas as well as earlier deadly tornadoes in North Carolina.

NAMB president Kevin Ezell called on Southern Baptists to pray “but I would also like to ask every Southern Baptist and every church to donate to our disaster relief efforts.” Ezell said people can give at to a specially designated fund for tornado and flood victims that will ensure that 100 percent of donations go directly to help disaster victims.

“God has blessed Southern Baptists with more trained disaster relief volunteers and more disaster relief units than any other ministry or organization,” Ezell said. “Now is a time to respond generously with our resources and our services to meet physical and spiritual needs.”

To donate to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts visit and click “donate now.” You can also view and download a video message from Kevin Ezell about how Southern Baptists are responding to tornado and flood victims.

Friday, May 6, 2011

'MacGyver guys' needed for 'extreme makeover'

May 03, 2011

 COLUMBIA, Tenn. --- Rick Sykes needs a few dozen “MacGyver guys" for a life-changing “extreme makeover” adventure that will make an eternal difference for hundreds of thousands of people.
The project Sykes has in his sights is rehabbing Sanyati Baptist Hospital in Zimbabwe, a 60-year-old icon of Southern Baptist overseas work that has fallen into serious disrepair as that country’s economy has collapsed.
When Sykes first visited Sanyati in 2009, he was distressed at what he saw: a completely broken water system, leaking roofs, rotting fascia, termite damage, electrical malfunctions -- and a set of auto headlights hanging from the ceiling of an operating room.
The hospital’s electrical supply was so unreliable that staff had installed auto headlights and a battery in an operating room to be sure doctors weren’t plunged into the dark in the middle of surgery.
The situation was intolerable for Sykes, a retired maintenance project leader for General Motors and member of Pleasant Heights Baptist Church in Columbia, Tenn.
Sykes was at Sanyati to help with the hospital's water problem -- the compounds wells and pumps weren't working, but he quickly saw a host of other maintenance issues.
"In the two weeks I spent there, the electricity was on maybe 30 percent of the time," Sykes said. "When you go in the operating room and they have two car headlights mounted in the ceiling and battery over in the corner, you know there's a problem."
A couple of days into Sykes' two-week stay at Sanyati, a lightning storm knocked out power in half the compound.
My son is an electrician and we are fixers, so we started digging around and found the problem. Since you couldn't cut the power off, he rewired it hot and got the lights on for the whole rest of the compound," Sykes said. "After that, we had people from all over coming and saying to us, "This is broken. Can you look at this?
"When Dr. Byler showed us through the hospital, it just started breaking our hearts -- all these people there and the dilapidated condition of the hospital," Sykes said. "The hospital is so remote, and it's the only real medical care these people can get in a very large radius.
"That was when the wheels started turning. We did some brainstorming and talked with Mark Hatfield and Dr. Byler," Sykes said. "Somewhere in the midst of all that, this concept was birthed of an extreme makeover for Sanyati Baptist Hospital."
Sanyati Baptist Hospital, under the leadership of Dr. Mark Byler, treats an average of 35,000 outpatients and 1,800 inpatients a year, said Mark Hatfield, who with his wife, Susan, directs work in Sub-Sahara Africa for Baptist Global Response. The staff performs about 1,000 surgeries and delivers more than 2,000 babies each year.
"The five-year plan for the 'extreme makeover' project intends to restore the hospital facilities to a state where they can be locally maintained," Hatfield said. "God has used Sanyati Baptist Hospital to meet both physical and spiritual needs for 60 years. Its ministry extends far beyond the 100,000 or so residents who look to the hospital for medical care. Sanyati is a symbol for the whole country of Christ's loving compassion for the sick and hurting and I don't think God is finished with Sanyati Baptist Hospital yet.
In 1981, the government assumed control of the facility, but economic issues have prevented it being properly maintained.
“Even if the hospital is owned by the government now, the sign out front says ‘Baptist,’” Sykes said. “What kind of impression is that creating?”
A dozen teams a year will be needed over the course of the project, Sykes said.
"There's something here for everybody to do. It's way bigger than one church," Sykes said. "The biggest challenge and prayer concern is that we really need a project coordinator on site. I'm heartbroken we don't have someone there.
The Sanyati extreme makeover would be an ideal place for a wide range of individuals and organizations to plug in and do something great that none could alone, Hatfield added.
"I believe this project is a perfect place for Sunday school classes, churches, associations or state convention groups like Baptist Builders and the disaster relief network to become involved in something much bigger than they could take on alone,” Hatfield said. “But together with other churches and groups, they can be part of something very significant in Kingdom ministry.
“It will take a united effort by groups who don't even know each other -- and may never see each other face to face -- in order to complete the five-year project,” Hatfield said. “We are trusting God to provide the volunteer teams and the financial resources needed to complete this project. We have stepped out in faith that God will call out those who he desires to work on this project, both those who will come and those who will give.”
The Sanyati project offers men like the MacGyver TV character -- who could rig up practically anything with whatever he found at hand -- a great opportunity to get involved in a major overseas project, Sykes said.
“All over the world, we’ve got ‘MacGyver’ guys sitting in pews, who want to make a difference but don’t know what they can do,” Sykes said. “They’re saying, ‘Some day, somewhere, I want get involved,’ but red lights down the road keep them from volunteering.
“Guys, we need your skill and want you to charge up this mountain with us,” Sykes said. “This is your ‘somewhere,’ right now. You can’t wait until all the traffic lights are green before you leave the house.”
For more information about the Sanyati Extreme Makeover project, please visit Individuals or groups interested in participating may e-mail Peter Sierson at
The Sanyati Baptist Hospital extreme makeover is on Facebook.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Mission Field: Northwest College Campuses; Ryan Moore, Harvest's College Ministry Leader

"I think I'd like to learn more about this," she said after I had explained why Jesus died on the cross for us.  She had approached our Soularium Project booth that Tuesday before Easter, and when I asked her to choose 2 or 3 pictures that describe God to her - she was blank.  "I don't know about God.  In my country we do not believe."  I asked her if she had heard the meaning behind Easter, and she said "no, but I want to."  I shared with her the great news that Jesus died in our place at the cross and then rose from the grave.  She was interested and at the same time confused.  That is when she asked if she could come to anything that weekend to learn more about this.  I gave her a Gospel of Mark booklet and then invited her to our Secret Church simulcast.  I explained to her that on Good Friday we were gathering to listen to a teacher teach through these very things (and he was going to teach for 6 hours.)  Here is the crazy part: she came!  He went fast, and the teaching was deep, but she heard again the gospel!  Since then we have kept in contact with her and will continue to follow up with her as God reveals himself to this young lady from a closed communist country.  Thank you for your continued prayer and support!  Your prayers are opening doors for the gospel to continue to be proclaimed at the U of O!
Your Friends,
Ryan and Lori Moore

To find out more about how you can involve yourself in Harvest's College Ministry or Northwest Collegiate Ministry, check out the church website at, or

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Your Giving Can Make A Difference ~ Annie Armstong Easter Offering

The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® is much more than an offering envelope and an annual missions-giving emphasis. When people give to the offering, 100 percent of their gift will be transformed into missionary salaries and ministry supplies. Those missionaries and supplies will help others hear the message of Christ and respond in faith to His offer of salvation. Time and again our missionaries relate how the offering is their lifeblood. They know that behind each penny given, there is a Southern Baptist who believes in what they do and are affirming the need to equip them to share the gospel with those who need a Savior.

If you would like to give to this special offering, please call our church at 541.343.1840, visit our website at, or stop by our missions information table between services and pick up an offering envelope.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Come & Join Harvest Community Church For Easter

Easter Egg Hunt - Saturday, April 23rd - 10:00AM
Over 2,000 Eggs
Going to be a Blast - INVITE all the KIDS you know!

Harvest is a church for the rest of us. We don’t care about how you dress or where you have been. We are a "come as you are" church, where people can be themselves while investigating faith. So if you don’t have plans for Easter Sunday, April 24th, we invite you to join us at 8:00, 9:30, or 11:00am.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Update from Andy & Kaye Martin

Andy & Kaye Martin ~ Western Europe
I am writing from a plane as Kaye and I fly from London to Portugal.  Life has been a whirlwind this month (and continues through May).
While in Portugal we will visit 11 families living in four different cities.  We have the privilege of traveling to where our families live and work.  While with them we spend time with each family individually, listening, talking, encouraging, praying with/for, listening, seeing their homes and areas of ministry, advising/counseling, listening, supporting, sharing a meal, loving on children, and listening.  It will be a challenging and fulfilling six days. 
The Lord has given us a unique opportunity to relate to and speak into our M’s lives.  We get to walk through daily life challenges and personal struggles.  We help people process through living in a culture/country not their own, language struggles, family/marriage challenges, financial stuff, and conflict resolution.  But we also get to bless and encourage our  folks as they work hard in building relationships with their people groups and see positive response to those efforts.  Europe is not “fertile soil” for the Gospel.  The work is hard with not much visible results.  That said, our M’s are committed and faithful.  They are passionate about making Jesus known in cultures that are not just post-modern, but post-God. 
From Portugal we will be back in London for 5 days and then head out again.  From now through the first week of June will be in nine different cities (five countries), doing three team trainings, visiting approximately 40 differently families and attending a four day Member Care team meeting.  I tell you that not to highlight “traveling through Europe” (we often don’t really “see” the cities we go to), but to give you a little glimpse of what we do.  And even more importantly, what Harvest and Lottie Moon helps us do. 
Andy & Kaye
By the way…if anyone at Harvest knows of an “extra vehicle” that might be available for use for a those months while we’re back on furlough it would be awesome.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let Us Not Forget About Haiti. . .

Rebuild Haiti progress: both spiritual and physical
April 5, 2011

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti --- Southern Baptist rebuilding efforts in Haiti in the year since its devastating earthquake have made good progress -- and the improvements are as much spiritual as physical, a leader in that effort said.
“Rebuild Haiti,” a cooperative joint venture to put as many as 6,200 families in decent housing by the end of 2013, has completed 796 homes, with another 130 nearing completion, said Jeff Palmer executive director of Baptist Global Response.
“In the aftermath of the earthquake, getting an effective program of rebuilding was very challenging,” Palmer said. “Moving people and money into the country, assembling all the supplies needed, just dealing with the nuts and bolts of getting things done in a place devastated by the earthquake was hard. Doing it in a way that enables Haitians to stand on their own, rather than continue the dependency patterns of the past, made it even a greater challenge.”
Fritz Wilson, director of disaster relief and recovery for the Florida Baptist Convention, said the decision to use local labor and supplies has multiplied Rebuild Haiti’s impact.
“A key component in the strategy is that we are purchasing materials from in-country sources, work is done by Haitian men whom we have hired from the communities, local churches are helping us identify the people who need the houses the most, and we are building homes back where people lived before the quake so that they do not have to relocate,” Wilson said. “This means we are impacting the communities much more than just providing houses, by putting money back in the economy, providing jobs and elevating the church’s status in the community.”
The Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake killed 300,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless. Even before the earthquake, Haiti’s people were the poorest in the Western hemisphere. A year after the quake, only about 2 percent of the rubble had been cleared and aid officials said clearing all the rubble would fill 1,000 trucks a day for more than 1,000 days.

Over the past few months, Baptist Global Response volunteers have worked a total of 2,484 volunteer days in a variety of capacities. More than $11.2 million has been donated to the relief effort through various channels. The Florida convention reported the $7 million they received included $171,665 sent by individuals, Sunday school classes and individuals specifically to build houses. State Baptist conventions also have gotten involved in Rebuild Haiti, like the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which has earmarked $200,000 for the effort.
The challenges of rebuilding communities from the inside out are being met as partners in the joint venture demonstrate a spirit of cooperation and work alongside Haitian believers to achieve a shared vision, Wilson said. Haitian Baptists assisted their joint venture partners -- Baptist Global Response, International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and the Florida Baptist Convention -- in designing a 12 foot-by-16 foot cement block “transitional home” for quake survivors and looking into the future at what kind of communities would reflect God’s love for Haitians.
“The brightest spot in this is how the partners are all working with a common mission and vision,” Wilson said. “It is much like the tribes of Israel working on the walls of Jerusalem. Each group working on our own section, but we are tying it all together to push back the darkness.”
Communities like the Port-au-Prince suburb of Damien need more than just physical rebuilding, Palmer said.

“Most disaster recovery efforts focus on the externals like reconstructing buildings, but Christian recovery also understands the need for an inner change that creates new lives,” Palmer said. “In Rebuild Haiti, we are encouraging community members to lift their eyes beyond their own needs to the needs of others. We have structured the initiative to encourage people to take responsibility for their future and work hard to make a better life for the entire community.
“What we see happening in Damien is not only is a community getting new houses, they are also getting a new community,” Palmer added. “As the houses are being constructed, we see more people helping and sharing to ensure that everyone gets what they need. For example, one widow received a house but didn't have enough money to furnish it. The local church members used their own money to buy her a bed, chair and small table.”
The change in Damien has been dramatic, said Jo Brown, who works with her husband, David, to direct BGR work in the Americas.

“When our assessment team arrived in Damien after the earthquake, the community felt very eerie," Brown said.  I was ready to leave the moment we got there. People were sitting on the ground, staring blankly into nothingness. We saw practically no businesses.
“A year later, Damien has been transformed. Many small businesses have cropped up. People at the building sites -- all ages, both male and female -- are carrying block and needed items to the sites. We see hope and hear laughter. People smile and greet each other-and stop to talk.
“Where I once felt fear, now I am able to walk alone in this community, even after dark,” Brown added. “Each morning before work is started on the sites, the U.S. volunteers join hands with the Haitians and sing and praise God. The focus is not on what the North Americans are doing, but on God's provision.”

The change in Damien is a good example of BGR's vision to see "people experiencing a full and meaningful life with hope and peace that inspires them to raise their families in confidence, build their communities with dignity and share this life with others," Palmer said.
“We see homes built, but people are being built up as well. We see communities working together for the benefit of all and we see people whose lives are being literally transformed by the message of hope our team was living out among them and sharing verbally,” Palmer said. “In the communities where our BGR teams are working, the rubble is returning to community -- not only in terms of good housing but in terms of people whose hearts and lives are being transformed.

“I want to thank Southern Baptists as well as others for their gifts and volunteerism that is such a key part in this transformation that we're seeing,” Palmer added. “And I want also thank our Haitian partners who are opening up their lives to the transforming power of God.”
People in Damien and other Rebuild Haiti communities won’t forget who helped them find new life when their world was in a shambles, said David Brown.

“Our friends in Haiti want their friends in the U.S. to know how thankful they are to God that they were not forgotten in that desperate hour,” Brown said. “Haiti has such a long way to go, but we have begun to see the first fruit of what we believe will be a harvest of new life in Haiti.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BGR: Japan Relief Effort Making Headway, Despite Challenges (UPDATE)

Japan relief effort making headway, despite challenges
March 28, 2011

TOKYO --- Excellent progress is being made on developing partnerships and training church members for disaster response in Japan, but major obstacles stand in the way of an effective disaster relief effort, the executive director of Baptist Global Response said March 28.

“Tokyo Baptist Church is proving to be, as we anticipated, a great partner for responding,” said Jeff Palmer. “They have people, connections and resources to help mount an effective response. We face, however, significant challenges in the area of basic logistics: purchasing fuel, acquiring relief supplies in bulk quantities, and things like that.”

The new, four-member response team that arrived in Tokyo March 23 has had very productive consultations with Japanese Baptist leaders and partner humanitarian groups and is setting up a command center for a unified Southern Baptist disaster relief initiative, Palmer said.

Two disaster relief specialists from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Network are working with Tokyo Baptist Church leadership to conduct training sessions on mass feeding, kitchen setup and distribution strategies, noted Pat Melancon, BGR’s disaster management specialist. The team also received a briefing from an internationally recognized expert in radiation safety, in anticipation of heading into northeastern Japan, where an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant has complicated disaster relief efforts.
Apart from logistical problems like acquiring relief supplies in bulk quantities, the team also faces challenges of gaining access to the disaster zone, Melancon said. Government permits to access the area via main roads are hard to come by, and navigating back roads is complicated by fuel shortages.

Until access to the tsunami zone around the city of Sendai, where the nuclear crisis is most serious, is resolved, relief projects will focus on earthquake survivors outside the tsunami zone, Palmer said. “The area outside the tsunami zone that was devastated by the earthquake is large and the conditions there are very serious. We can do a lot to help people in desperate need because of the earthquake while we wait for the nuclear situation to be resolved.”

The initial relief strategy devised by the assessment teams has three prongs, according to Ben Wolf, who with his wife, Pam, directs BGR work in the Asia Rim.
“One element of the strategy is the training in mass feeding being conducted by the disaster relief specialists from Alabama and South Carolina,” Wolf said. “A second element is distribution of water, food staples, blankets, warm clothing for the elderly and kitchen utensils in an area 45 miles north of Sendai. The third element will be a similar distribution in Sendai that also will involve assessment of the needs in that area.”

The response teams in these efforts will be made up of personnel from Tokyo Baptist Church, the Japan Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Network, Baptist Global Response and the International Mission Board, which partners with BGR in disaster relief situations, Wolf said.

Because Japan Baptists can mobilize significant numbers of volunteers for the relief effort, the primary need for U.S. volunteers will be limited to people with Japanese/English translation abilities and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Network volunteers with specialized disaster relief training, Wolf explained.

Baptist Global Response has allocated $100,000 from Southern Baptist relief and hunger funds for the initial phase of the response, Wolf noted. To date, almost $200,000 has been donated to the relief effort through BGR and IMB.

While the Japanese government has a well-developed plan for disaster recovery, but Southern Baptists can make a tremendous contribution, Palmer said.
“The Japanese government has described this as the country’s greatest crisis since World War II. Estimates are that it will take five years and $309 billion to rebuild,” Palmer said. “But Japan’s people have experienced an awful trauma, and their needs in this time of crisis go far beyond physical things like roads and buildings and even food.

“With the tremendous partners God has given us to work with, Southern Baptists have a unique opportunity to both demonstrate and proclaim the love of God in a place where people have little opportunity to experience God’s love for themselves,” Palmer said. “It has been inspiring to see how Southern Baptists have sensed God’s leading to respond to a whole series of disasters this past year, from Haiti to Japan.

“We are delighted to be able to offer their partnership to Japanese Baptists as our brothers and sisters in that country reach out to their neighbors with the love of Christ.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

North American Mission Board Update: Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief Update

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, in order to build him up. For even the Messiah did not please Himself. On the contrary, as it is written, The insults of those who insult You have fallen on Me. For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope. Now may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you agreement with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice," Romans 15:1-6 (HCSB).

It has been one week since the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. These tragic events have been on the hearts and minds of all Americans. Many have watched countless hours of news coverage. Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the people of Japan and those aiding the survivors (especially the Southern Baptist missionaries and responders). As Paul exhorted the church in Rome, “we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength.” Southern Baptists must continue to support and respond to needs with a “united mind and voice.”
The International Mission Board (IMB), Baptist Global Response (BGR) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) have been engaged from the beginning in seeking ways to provide help, healing and hope to Japan. IMB missionaries and families are feeling the fatigue of trying to provide ministry to the people God has called them to serve. They have been both victims and responders. BGR had a two person initial response team on the ground to begin the assessment process within the first 24 hours. NAMB has been communicating with BGR and providing coordination with the state conventions in the disaster relief network.
As you can imagine, there are a multitude of obstacles to this complex response. Distance, the magnitude of the disaster, continuous aftershocks, winter weather, radiation leakage, and lack of necessary supplies like fuel make every response effort from the military to non-governmental agencies difficult. In light of these difficulties Southern Baptists are working hard to ensure our response is focused, well planned and decisive. The situation on the ground is fluid with frequent interruptions and changes.
Below are some excerpts from a report from the initial assessment team. These are their thoughts on the present situation and how Southern Baptists may be able to respond.
RadiationAlthough there is nothing we will be able to do to mitigate or fix this problem, there may be opportunities that arise to help people. Until there is improvement in the situation, this is not likely to be a viable response.
TsunamiThe tsunami area is off limits until the radiation issues begin to resolve and the government allows more access. Furthermore, attempts to do much there will be hampered by logistical problems associated with obtaining supplies and fuel. What exists will be in short supply as the population seeks to obtain and store these items and as relief organizations compete to obtain these items. Response to these areas will have to wait at least until the evacuation orders from the government are lifted.
Earthquake ZonesIn the short term it will be the areas not affected by the tsunami where the most viable opportunities to respond can be identified. However, some of the same logistical problems exist: lack of access to supplies and lack of fuel. There are openings for a response however. Some missionaries have already found places of ministry working  alongside neighbors in mudding out around their homes. The needs here are great. Recovery will take years. A response here will require significant logistical planning to overcome the issues listed above.
An assessment and initial response team comprised of Pat Melancon and Ben Wolfe with BGR; John Hayes, Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief; and Eddie Pettit, South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief, will arrive in Japan on Tuesday, March 22. They will continue to look for ministry opportunities and work to establish an Incident Command System that will allow SBDR to begin to respond with Baptists and other partners in the country.
The people of Japan have many needs today and many of these needs will continue for a long time. Southern Baptists are encouraged to continue to pray, and provide financial support that our IMB missionaries, Japanese Baptists, BGR and SBDR representatives can use to minister to the people of Japan. Pray for the assessment and initial response team as they make plans and preparations. Wait patiently and prayerfully for God's direction as He opens other avenues of ministry.
Carlton Walker, an International Mission Board missionary in Narashino City, Chiba, says that the people of Japan need a strong east wind to protect the population from harm. He also urges Christians to pray for the “wind” of the Holy Spirit to “blow with great power over this land and create a spiritual revival that will remake Japan from the inside out.”  Read more in the Missionary Blog.
Read today's update from Baptist Global Response.

Keep Japan In Your Prayers As Another Earthquake Hits the Coast

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Harvest College Ministry Serving the Lord in Seattle, WA

Ryan Moore, along with his wife Lori, kids Zak, Abby & Anna, along with college students Caleb, Janell, Jordan, Mary, Ying & Erin are spending their spring vacation serving the Lord in Seattle, Washington.
They are working at the University Food Bank in the morning, and in the afternoons they spend their time visiting several neighborhoods in the Seattle area.  A good deal of time has been spent serving at an Ethiopian church where they have been hanging fliers in Ethiopian restaurants, and talking to Ethiopians in the city.
Time has also been spent visiting nursing homes, painting, handing out coffee and cupcakes with Epic Life Church in Seattle, painting murals and posing to passer/byes, "What would you change about your community if you could?"
Please pray for Ryan, his family and for Harvest Community Church's college kids as they serve the Lord in an area of our country that is so apathetic to hearing the Gospel.  May the Lord bless their time, and may the Lord allow them many opportunities to share about His amazing grace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering: Start Here

Each year, we honor the life and work of Annie Walker Armstrong (1850-1938) when we give to the annual offering for North American missions named after her. As a tireless servant of God and a contagious advocate and supporter of mission efforts throughout the world, Annie Armstrong led women to unite in mission endeavors that ultimately led to the formation of Woman's Missionary Union, for which she served as the first corresponding secretary.
Annie believed in Christ with all her heart, but it was her hands that expressed that belief in tangible ways. She spent a great amount of time typing and handwriting letters in support of missions. Many of these letters were quite lengthy and all were filled with conviction that more could and should be done in our mission efforts.  In 1893 alone, she wrote almost 18,000 letters! Annie also never hesitated to use her hands to reach out to hug a child or distribute food and clothing and the Word of God to those in need. Her hands held her own Bible as she studied to know how best to share Gods love with others. And, most important, Annie was a woman of prayer, folding her hands in prayer to intercede for the missionaries and for those they were helping discover Christ.
Annie rallied churches to give more, pray more, and do more for reaching people for Christ. As we continue to unite to make her vision a reality in North America today, we can be confident that her legacy will also be ours.

Vacation Bible School Starting Early This Year At Harvest Community Church

Back-to-school shopping requires little more than a trip to the store for most American families. But even basic school supplies like pencils, notebooks and erasers are hard to come by - and nearly impossible to afford - for many families living in poverty around the world.
That's why Baptist Global Response is sponsoring the "Kits for Kids" campaign -- and why LifeWay Christian Resources is featuring Kits for Kids as its 2011 Vacation Bible School mission project. It's a unique opportunity to help equip a child with the tools they need to get an education. It's also a chance for families to teach their children what it means to love others by helping needy kids.

Kits for Kids is simple. Church groups and families across the United States assemble "kits" of basic school supplies and drop them in the mail. Then, using its global network of national partners, Baptist Global Response distributes the kits to families in dozens of countries around the globe.

Let's get started!

**Below are instructions on how to assemble your own kits, however Harvest will be providing the zip lock bags, and will be coordinating an event after VBS to assemble all of our kits together.  The largest need at this time are the items that are included in the kits.  However, if you want to assemble your own kits and bring them to them to Harvest, we would appreciate that as well.

1. Go shopping!
Families, this part can be a lot of fun, especially for children. Be sure to give them plenty of opportunity to "help" pick out supplies. It's also a great chance to explain why it's important to help others. (Leaders: If you are planning to pack very many kits, please be sure to notify local retailers about your project. They may need to order more supplies and may even want to partner with you in the project!)
"Kits for Kids" shopping list:
  • 5 Composition notebooks (non-spiral, hardback)
  • 1 Ruler (with metrics)
  • 1 Zippered pencil case
  • 6 Blue ink pens
  • 6 No. 2 pencils
  • 2 Pencil sharpeners
  • 2 or 3 Regular-sized glue sticks
  • 2 Pink erasers
  • 1 box of 12-count colored pencils
  • 1 Pair of safety scissors
2. Pack your kit!
- Place all the items for each kit in a 2.5 gallon plastic slide-lock bag
- Include a kit label for each bag, either printed on paper and placed inside the bag or printed as a sticker and placed on the outside of the bag. (See resources: kit labels).
- Please do not include items in the kit that are not on the list; the contents need to be similar for each child who receives a kit
- Box your kits securely, with adequate padding, and ship to the address below

3. Ship your kit!
The deadline for shipping your kits is Oct. 31, 2011.

Harvest Community Church will be providing the shipping labels, and will ship all of the kits out together. . .no need to worry about shipping cost, however if you would like to donate anything to the cost of shipping, that would be very much appreciated.

For questions about this opportunity to give, please contact Jennifer Gaskill at, or Melanie Wilson at

Monday, March 21, 2011


Delivering Shelter, Warmth and Dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity which provides humanitarian aid worldwide in the form of shelter, warmth and dignity for people displaced by natural and other disasters. It is an independent charity that relies on public donations to carry out its work.

Founded by Rotarian Tom Henderson, a former Royal Navy search and rescue diver, ShelterBox started in 2000 as a project of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall. ShelterBox is now the largest Rotary Club project in the world and has raised more than £25 million in donations. It has responded to over 80 major disasters in more than 50 countries including the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.

Each ShelterBox contains a 10-person tent, blankets, water purification and cooking equipment, basic tools, a stove and other essential equipment. All boxes are numbered so they can be tracked by donors.

Each box costs $1000 – this includes all materials, packing, storage, transport worldwide and distribution to the final recipients. Assuming six month’s use, this equates to shelter and warmth for less than 27 pence per person per day. ShelterBox works closely with key suppliers to ensure all items are of a high quality and are purchased at the most competitive price.

The delivery of our aid is undertaken by a volunteer ShelterBox Response Team whose members have undergone an intensive training programme. ShelterBox prides itself on its speedy response to disasters and often works closely with Rotary clubs in recipient countries enabling it to get aid to where it is needed faster than many other charitable organisations.

For more information on this opportunity please contact Jennifer & Brandon Willis through Jennifer's Facebook page, or by email at

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What Can We Do To Help Those In Japan: Update from BGR

The Lord loves Japan

Thank you so much for your desire to share the love of God with the Japanese people in their hour of desperation. Please be assured that BGR takes the stewardship of your donation very seriously and will make the most efficient and effective possible use of it.
Currently, BGR is focusing its response in areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake that are outside the tsunami impact zone. Until that area opens up to humanitarian organizations, we are concentrating on the critical needs of earthquake survivors in other areas.
As we engage this first phase of the relief effort, we have identified six ways you can help people in Japan, besides making a general donation. Please prayerfully consider the list below as you prepare to make your gift.
  • Water $10 (one-week supply)
  • Blanket $20
  • Radiation meter for workers $35
  • Hygiene supplies $40 (one-week supply)
  • kitchen utensil kit $50
  • Basic food items $70 (one-week supply)
To find out how you can give to Baptist Global Response, please contact Jennifer Gaskill on Harvest Community Church's Facebook page, Harvest on Mission, or by email at