The devastation of Hurricane Sandy left hundreds of thousands without power while they picked up the pieces from flooded homes and damaged property, and in some instances, mourn the loss of loved ones. A number of Sovereign Grace churches have been affected and are in need of our prayers and financial support for their relief efforts and rehabilitation.
Our churches in Toms River, New Jersey (Trinity Fellowship Church) and Brooklyn, New York (City Church) are among those most affected, yet their greatest concern is for serving the needs of their community and reaching them with the gospel during this critical time.
Pastor Steve Cassarino from Trinity Fellowship Church has been meeting with other local churches to discuss strategies for how they can work together to meet the various needs of Toms River. This Thursday evening, the members of Trinity will serve meals to approximately 100 people who are without food. Additionally, they have 40 cots set up in their sanctuary for those who need a place to sleep.
This past Sunday, the members of Trinity had a meal together after the service to ensure that everyone in their church family was taken care of, and to see if there were any outstanding needs. Many who have power are opening their homes to those who don’t have power, providing a place to sleep, take showers, and do laundry. The members of Trinity Fellowship Church are demonstrating a love for one another and their community that testifies of their relationship with Jesus Christ (John 13:35).
Pastor Zac Martin from City Church has had the opportunity to partner with and support the efforts of those in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past week, members of City Church have been involved in unpacking and repacking supply trucks, coordinating transportation of needed winter clothing and cleaning supplies to some of the hardest hits areas, providing overnight care at a local shelter, and even delivering food and supplies door-to-door to people trapped in their apartments due to the continued power outage.
City Church has been tirelessly working together with others in Brooklyn to serve the vast needs. One of its members became aware of two families whose homes were destroyed by the hurricane. Upon hearing about this and the particular needs, members of City Church were able to provide toys and meals for these families. This brought visible moments of delight to these families struggling to understand all the implications of losing everything. A small team from City Church was also able to go down and help with some of the cleanup and organization in Broad Channel, one of the areas hit the worst.
Both Trinity Fellowship Church and City Church have been praying that they would not simply see this as a temporary relief effort, but as an opportunity to build relationships in and with their communities for the furtherance of the gospel. Trinity Fellowship Church is literally feeding and housing those in need in Toms River. City Church is working with FEMA, the National Guard, and others to bring relief to Brooklyn.
Already, Trinity Fellowship Church and City Church have communicated the blessings they’ve received through their partnership in Sovereign Grace Ministries as many from our family of churches have contacted them about sending teams, supplies, and finances. One church even drove through the night last week to bring immediate supplies. And over the weekend, Sovereign Grace Ministries was able to give financial gifts to each church to help in their relief and rehabilitation efforts.
We’d ask that you’d consider what role you might play in prayer and financial assistance for the ongoing efforts of these churches.
Benevolence funds have been set up for each church on their respective websites:
We would appreciate your prayerful consideration about how you can help as these churches continue in gospel ministry amid the destruction. We pray that God will redeem this devastation for his glory as we press on to faithfully serve and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, many of you gave generously to Sovereign Grace Ministries’ Disaster Relief Fund. We are eager to bring the hope of Christ wherever we have opportunity—and thanks to your giving, that includes Haiti.
Initial Use of Funds
As we communicated earlier, we used $90,000 of the money donated to the Disaster Relief Fund to meet needs of ministries in Haiti immediately after the disaster:
- $10,000 went to a group of churches in southern Haiti that operates three orphanages. They used the funds you donated to purchase food and relief supplies for their communities.
- $15,000 was given to support churches and orphanages in northern Haiti. The man who leads this ministry used your donations to supply a generator for a hospital, provide food for those in need, repair an orphanage, and secure a two-year lease for a church whose building was destroyed.
- $35,000 was given to two pastors we work with in the Dominican Republic who were already ministering in Haiti before the earthquake. After the disaster, they were able to use your donations to purchase medical supplies, food, and supplies for orphanages, as well as to rebuild a damaged home and provide housing for relief workers.
- $30,000 went to support the immediate needs of a few trusted Christian relief organizations who served Christian communities in Haiti that were affected by the earthquake.
While we are excited to share now about how we are using the remainder of the funds, we are also aware that it has taken two years to disburse them. While we wish we could have distributed the funds earlier, we were advised to proceed slowly and carefully because of the significant turmoil there after the earthquake. We believe this decision ultimately allowed the funds to be used more effectively in the support of churches in Haiti, and we appreciate your patience as we sought the best way to steward these funds effectively.
Future Rebuilding in Haiti
Part of the remaining funds for Haiti went to a ministry called Evangelistic Child and Family Resources. For several years Sovereign Grace Ministries has been developing a relationship with Pastor Daniel, who has been involved in this ministry for about six years. Their facilities were severely damaged in the earthquake and their church, school, and girls’ orphanage are all in need of repair. Because of the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to give $110,000 to enable them to repair the damage to their church and school and build a new roof for the girls’ orphanage.
Over the past several years, Sovereign Grace Ministries has also had the joy of developing a relationship with Miguel Nuñez, a pastor who leads a large church in the Dominican Republic. Our ministry is honored to partner with him in gospel work and also to join with him in serving Haiti. We gave him $70,000 to support his ongoing work there. Your donations will help him accomplish planned projects including medical missions and allow him to provide care that would otherwise have been unavailable to the people of Haiti.
As of December 2011, $205,000 was left in the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. Now that we have given a combined total of $180,000 to support the efforts of Pastor Daniel and Miguel Nuñez, $25,000 remains in the fund. This money will be used to cover other projects, facilitate Sovereign Grace’s monitoring of the relief efforts, and allow for contingencies. At the inception of the fund, we also established a 5% earnings rate for any relief funds not spent. When the Fund did not achieve that rate, the Board committed additional reserves to Haiti disaster relief to reach the 5% level, allowing the remaining funds to continue to grow.
Every dollar donated to the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund is being set aside to help churches and ministries in Haiti who were affected by the earthquake, and every dollar is being accounted for to make sure this happens. If you have any questions about the Disaster Relief Fund, please email Tommy Hill, our finance director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late March a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck northeast Burma, killing more than 70 people. We recently posted prayer requests for Burmese churches and an opportunity to give. Here’s a more recent update from David, who leads a church-planting ministry we partner with in Burma:
Two of [the churches] sustained major damage…Though there are no casualties from those churches, at least 18 families have lost their entire homes and some 30 families also suffered significant damage to their houses….
In an interview with a lady from the church, she told us, “Our house was made of wood and bamboo with a thatch roof. When our house collapsed, no one suffered major injury as the building materials are very light. Today, we sleep under the tree as the local authority warns us to stay away from any building.” When asked what worried her most, she replied, “We have planted some crops on the hills or terraces not too far from our home. Many of our crops were destroyed because of a landslide and trees falling. This damage will hurt us for several months as our livelihood deeply depends on our farm land.”
….[One leader writes] “In one village, the church was so badly damaged that we have to meet at the house of one of the members. For most people, the church building is often part of their identity in the midst of Buddhist pagodas in the region. For them, to lose their church is somehow to lose their identity. It has been a difficult time for them. But I know God’s grace is with them. I can only encourage them from the Word.”
A truck was hired and some bags of rice and several hundred large water bottles were transported to the affected villages for distribution. Many people were very hungry and thirsty, as most people lost their homes or dare not go into their homes. And there are no convenient stores to purchase food and water.
Please continue to pray for those victims. Many people still live in temporary tents due to fear. Please pray also for the two congregations that lost their buildings.
You can donate to our disaster relief fund for Burma here. And whether or not you can give, please pray with us that God will provide for these believers, protect them, and cause the good news of Jesus Christ to spread widely in this region.
Photo: An open-air prayer gathering after the earthquake.
On March 24, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck northeast Burma. Since then we’ve heard from David, who leads a Burmese church-planting ministry we partner with. Some of the churches he leads are in that area. David let us know that a number of church members were injured in the earthquake and several are still missing. At least one pastor’s home, along with all his possessions, was destroyed. Church buildings were damaged as well, and two of them were destroyed.
When disaster affects churches we partner with in ministry, we often open our disaster relief fund so our friends can contribute to the need. Today we opened the fund for Burma, so if you’d like to give financially to help restore these churches, you can do so here. Your donations will go to the church-planting ministry David leads, and will be used in their rebuilding efforts.
And whether or not you can donate, please join us in praying Psalm 67:1-3 for these churches: that God will restore them, provide for them, and protect them, and that his saving power will be known in Burma.
Photos: Earthquake damage in northeast Burma.
For more about church planting in Burma, see our report from February on medical outreach and pastoral training and a report from southern Burma last year.
Thanks to the generosity of many donors, our Haiti Disaster Relief Fund still has $214,500 to distribute. (See part 1 and part 2 for the mission of this fund and how $90,000 has already been distributed to trusted friends in ministry.)
As we sought counsel about how to distribute these funds, both from U.S. leaders and from pastors in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, we saw that what these churches needed was a long-term commitment. There are no quick fixes in Haiti (or anywhere else); rebuilding their churches and communities will take time. As we work with them to wisely distribute these funds over the long term, these churches will be in a better position to bring the gospel to their communities.
Here’s how we plan to do that.
$90,000 for intermediate aid
This money will be used to purchase food and medical supplies for those still affected by the earthquake; to rebuild homes using local labor, thus investing in the local economy; and to fund much-needed pastoral care for Haitian and Dominican pastors.
$90,000 for long-term rebuilding
Many churches lost their meeting places in the earthquake and have no money to rebuild. This money will be focused on repairing or replacing their buildings. We trust this will expand these churches’ Great Commission outreach in their communities.
$34,500 for relief reserves
Any relief effort involves unexpected expenses and opportunities, and this portion of the fund will enable us to meet those wisely.
Every dollar donated to the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund is dedicated to helping churches in Haiti and the Dominican Republic who were affected by the earthquake, and is being disbursed through trusted ministry contacts. And every dollar is being accounted for to ensure that this happens.
At the forefront of these efforts are two men at Metro Life Church (Orlando, FL): senior pastor Danny Jones and his assistant Chris Jessee. These men have worked tirelessly to serve our Haitian brothers and sisters on behalf of Sovereign Grace Ministries. We are deeply grateful for their leadership and service!
If you have any questions about the Disaster Relief Fund, please email or call Tommy Hill, finance director for Sovereign Grace Ministries (800.736.2202).
If you gave to the Disaster Relief Fund, thank you for giving to the needy in Haiti! By God’s grace, your generosity is strengthening churches and advancing their gospel witness throughout Haiti and in the Dominican Republic. The ripple effect of the gospel is continuing, even in the wake of tragedy. On behalf of Haitian and Dominican churches and pastors, thank you.
After the earthquake in Haiti, Sovereign Grace Ministries opened our Disaster Relief Fund. In all, donors gave $304,500. Saturday’s post outlined our mission in distributing these funds: helping pastors and churches as they preach the gospel in their communities. Here’s an overview of how that’s already being done.
$90,000 has already been distributed for disaster relief. We’re withholding names and exact locations because of current instability in Haiti, but all the ministries you see below are ones with whom we have had relationships for some time. In broad terms, here’s how these donations are being used:
$10,000 to a group of churches and orphanages in southern Haiti
This group of five Haitian churches operates three orphanages in Haiti. The ministry has used your donations to purchase food and relief supplies for their local communities. Their goal is not only to provide physical food and drink, but also to introduce hurting people to the One who can truly quench their thirst for all eternity.
$15,000 to churches and orphanages in northern Haiti
This ministry is led by a Haitian businessman who is a member of a Sovereign Grace church and has planted several churches in Haiti. After the earthquake his ministry center in Haiti became a treatment center for amputations, and he’s had opportunities to share the gospel with those who came. He has used your donations to supply a generator for a hospital, provide food for needy children and over 1,000 amputees, repair an orphanage, and secure a two-year lease for a church whose building was destroyed in the earthquake.
$35,000 to Dominican churches serving in Haiti
We work with two pastors in the Dominican Republic whose churches had established medical clinics in Haiti before the earthquake. When the earthquake struck, they could provide immediate help. These Dominican churches used your donations to purchase medical supplies for use in Haiti, food for the needy, and supplies for orphanages, as well as to rebuild a damaged home and provide housing for people who served in disaster relief.
$30,000 to Christian relief organizations working in Haiti
A few trusted relief organizations had immediate needs after the earthquake, and your donations gave us the opportunity to help meet those needs. These organizations are serving Christian communities in Haiti who were affected by the earthquake.
Check back later this week for an update on how the rest of the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund will be used.
It’s been almost nine months since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing 230,000 people and leaving a million survivors homeless.
After the earthquake, Sovereign Grace Ministries opened our Disaster Relief Fund. In the weeks and months following, generous donors gave a total of $304,500 to be used for Haiti disaster relief.
On behalf of our friends in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, we want to update you on how these donations are being used.
Thanks to many generous donors, there are so many updates that we’ll be sharing them over the next three days. Check back on Monday for part 2.
Our mission: helping churches
The earthquake destroyed many churches’ buildings, killed church members and pastors, and destroyed some survivors’ livelihoods.
Our Disaster Relief Fund has a specific mission: to bring relief to these churches and their members so that they can more effectively proclaim the gospel in their communities.
We can’t duplicate what large aid organizations already do well, but we can serve local churches as they rebuild. Our goal is that, strengthened by this direct aid, these churches can bring the hope of the gospel to their neighbors in a way that foreign aid workers never could.
Overview: short-term and long-term relief
Of the $304,500 donated to the Disaster Relief Fund, $90,000 has already been distributed. It’s been used to provide immediate funding for things like food for orphans and amputees, orphanage repairs, and more.
$214,500 remains to be distributed. We’re working with a network of trusted pastors and ministry leaders in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as we decide where these funds can best be used. Check back next week for more details.
Most of all, thank you! If you gave to the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund, thank you for helping churches to preach the gospel amid tragedy. And whether or not you were able to give, thank you for your prayers for those who are suffering.