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Lauren Urtel

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Churches on Mission

Ministering in Haiti Through Medical Missions As they treated the sick by day and led soul-winning crusades by night, the medical mission teams of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, laid the groundwork in September for more expansive missions efforts in 2009. The first medical team, consisting of fourteen medical professionals and four lay persons, […]

Storms kill 150 in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (BP)--Mudslides, washed-out roads and massive flooding hampered Florida Baptists' efforts to feed the hungry in Haiti where three tropical storms in as many weeks have killed at least 150 people and destroyed crops and other livelihoods.       The impoverished nation that shares an island with the Dominican Republic already was reeling from the massive rainfall produced by Tropical Storms Fay and Gustav before Hanna brought additional rains to the waterlogged country Sept. 3.       The killer storms left an estimated 15,000 animals dead and destroyed nearly 25,000 gardens, a source of food and income for many in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.       The heavy rains and strong winds also were responsible for the destruction of 34 churches and the homes of 27 pastors. Another 64 churches and 23 homes received damage in the storms.       With no relief in sight, the Haitians appear again to be in the aim of another storm as Hurricane Ike is targeting the Caribbean nation. Supporting a decade-long partnership, Florida Baptist Convention staff arrived in Port-au-Prince Sept. 1 to oversee the distribution of rice through Haitian churches.       The state convention underwrites the salaries of a national ministry director and six regional directors of missions in Haiti who supervised the delivery of food to the pastors.       "It was wonderful to see the eyes of the Haitians as we handed out the rice to feed their families," said Craig Culbreth, director of the Florida convention's partnership missions department.       "We were told, 'Thanks for not forgetting about us,'" Culbreth, who was on the ground in Haiti, said.       Each family was given enough rice for four people for three days. The first feeding, which provided nourishment to 2,800 families -- or 11,200 people -- was completed Wednesday at a cost of $12,000.       Culbreth told of the difficulties they encountered while traveling outside Port-au-Prince to other villages across the nation.

Fla. Baptists wait for Fay to pass

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–As Florida Baptists braced for an onslaught of rain, Tropical Storm Fay made its second landfall in Florida, south of Naples, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Fay crossed the Keys Monday, Aug. 18, leaving high waters but little damage otherwise after it had moved through the Caribbean, leaving 14 reported dead […]

Fla. Baptists prepare for Fay’s wind & rain

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Florida Baptists are readying for Tropical Storm Fay as she continues to shift course in the Florida straits. Southern Haiti was soaked by Fay before the storm crossed Cuba early Aug. 18. With winds at 60 miles per hour, Fay was projected to make landfall on the Florida Keys late Monday, though the […]

Fla. Baptists to pray for rain June 1

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–As Florida faces extreme drought and wildfires Florida Baptist Convention leaders are calling state churches to pray for rain June 1. During the day, themed “A Cry for Mercy,” Florida Baptists are asked to petition God for rain, as well as mercy on the upcoming hurricane season and for God’s guidance for the […]

After deadly tornadoes hit Fla., Baptist relief work begins

LADY LAKE, Fla. (BP)--Within hours after killer tornados slammed into central Florida Feb. 2, Florida Baptist disaster relief and recovery teams were mobilized with chainsaws in hand to help victims. The storm cell that spurned a possible five tornados left at least 20 people dead and four counties in a state of emergency.