n a rural village in southern Haiti, a woman arrives at a clinic with an unexpected gift: a chicken. In this part of the world, it is a highly valuable token of appreciation. Medical staff inside are treating people affected by Hurricane Matthew – the country’s worst disaster since the 2010 earthquake – and she wanted to thank them. Her community in Dalmatte is located in a hard to reach area, and help had been long in coming. Until now.
With the support of Canadian Baptists, the small mobile clinic arrived in Dalmatte in the weeks following the October 2016 disaster. In one day, 300 people came to the clinic for treatment. Some travelled by donkey, motorbike and others on foot.
Emilia lives just south of Dalmatte and captured the feeling and need well. “We are rejoicing for your presence that shows us our prayers have been answered. I want to thank you for dispatching your team to come care for and remember the people.”
The transformation that Emilia has seen is because of the generosity of Canadian Baptists in times of crisis. The generosity flows through to the partnerships within the global Baptist family. One part of which is the Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD). CBM has been a member since the beginning of this initiative, which connects Baptists around the world during emergencies.
BFAD is like an open meeting room – it is a space to collaborate, learn and work in preparation for, throughout and after times of crisis. We want the local Baptist convention of the affected region to be at the centre of every response – their knowledge and relationships are invaluable. This helps us to avoid duplication of resources, increasing good stewardship.
Although our aim is to empower local conventions to take leadership during a crisis, we don’t want them to be overburdened or stressed by the impact of the response. But that doesn’t mean the Canadian Baptists take over. BFAD is well described by the words Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Describing the body of Christ, Paul highlights two aspects. First, we should have equal concern for all parts of the body – wherever they are. Second, every part has a specific place and role.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be … If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:18, 26)