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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Rebuilding That Lasts

By L. John Bueno
May 2, 2010

Our Fellowship is greatly blessed to have missionaries and national believers in 213 countries and territories of the world. This means that when a disaster strikes in any of these places, we already have “boots on the ground” to immediately begin responding. Not only that, but we will remain for the long haul. With these established networks, we can move as soon as supplies arrive and quickly bring relief.

The disaster in Haiti was catastrophic. When an earthquake hits a capital city, such as Port-au-Prince, the entire country feels the impact. The government ceases to operate. Basic utilities such as water, sewer systems and electricity become unavailable. Communication and transit systems are disrupted or even destroyed.

In only a few minutes on Jan. 12, much of Port-au-Prince turned to rubble. But Convoy of Hope already had use of a warehouse and was feeding needy children in the area. AG missionaries were already involved in ministry there. As a result, they shifted into high gear within minutes after the disaster hit and organized a network through which AG believers from around the world could make a significant difference in people’s lives.

Our forefathers in the Assemblies of God were wise in laying the foundation for this type of cooperative missionary activity. Their first priority was to reach the lost for Christ, but almost immediately they set up Bible schools and training programs to prepare national pastors to continue the work even if no missionaries were nearby. Such preparation is of great value, not only philosophically but also practically. In times of disaster, the work of already-established national churches and resident missionaries is a tremendous advantage as they coordinate and oversee outreaches to help people in need.

There is no substitute for the face-to-face ministry of God’s servants in times like these. Food and water are necessary, and medical supplies and shelter are essential. But one thing is even more important: having spiritual brothers and sisters available in the midst of the disaster to minister hope to those who have none. As believers distribute basic needs, they bring along the warmth of the Christian life and a firsthand understanding of the people and country.

Haiti is a particularly needy nation. Not only has it endured many years of mismanagement in government, but it also has suffered decades of demonic oppression. The church in Haiti has faced continual struggles in overcoming obstacles of tradition and overt spiritual attacks. Believers are praying that, through an ongoing demonstration of love and commitment following the earthquake, many people will be released from spiritual bondage and the church will experience renewal. The result will be a fellowship that reaches into all areas of this nation that so desperately needs the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Churches and individuals — both in the United States and around the world — have responded generously to the Haiti disaster. Finding adequate words to express our thanks and gratitude is difficult. These gifts are being used to continue bringing physical and spiritual help to those who are trying to piece their lives back together.

The first wave of initial relief is over, but it was just the beginning. As media have left and the world’s attention has shifted, we continue with the work of rebuilding churches, schools and lives that have been damaged and destroyed. This is a long-range project, but our mission has never been about short-term fixes. Instead it is about commitment — laying strong foundations that will withstand the tests of time.

L. JOHN BUENO is executive director for AG World Missions.

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