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Baptist worker in Haiti reported safe

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–A missionary who cares for orphans in her home in Haiti escaped the rubble after the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12.

Sherrie Fausey, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., who works with the Jacksonville-based Christian Light Foundation, is safe, according to an e-mail forwarded by eyewitnesses who had seen her after the earthquake.

“Sherrie’s house suffered severe damage and Peterson was killed in the rubble,” the e-mail from the Christian Light Foundation reported, “but miraculously everyone [else] got out including Sherrie and Julie.”

Peterson was a 6-year-old orphan who is a member of a family of three orphaned brothers Fausey cares for, said Jim Hambrick, field coordinator for Jacksonville-based Christian Light Foundation.

Julie who is referenced in the e-mail is Julie Wirries, assists Fausey in her ministry.

“Praise God,” the foundation e-mail stated. Though Fausey’s house was seriously damaged, the school building where she teaches approximately 200 children “held well and everyone is staying there.” The workers and children have been sleeping outside, the e-mail said, due to safety concerns. The e-mail also indicated sporadic electric service.

“It is a disaster here,” the e-mail stated. “Many killed and injured.”

It urged: “Have everyone pray for Haiti.”

A day after the earthquake, Hambrick told the Florida Baptist Witness he was “very, very concerned” about Fausey and “desperate for any news.”

Fausey’s son, Jeffrey Fausey, told News4Jax.com that ministering in Haiti is what Sherri “loves to do.”

“She went down there to help another missionary and felt the call to help the people of Haiti,” Jeffrey Fausey said in the hours after the earthquake. “As time goes by, you get more and more worried. You hear from others but not from her.”

Hambrick, in an interview with the Witness the morning of Jan. 15, said he received the e-mail confirmation late Thursday amidst the “chaos” of also assembling a team of medical volunteers to dispatch to Haiti.

“I was elated, to say the least,” Hambrick said. “I have the real peace that only God can give you, knowing she’s OK.”

Hambrick said Fausey and 20-plus orphans are staying at the school, which is about two miles from the Port-au-Prince airport in one of the poorest, busiest and most congested parts of the city. There, with the assistance of men sent by local pastors to help secure the school, Fausey will attempt to set up a base camp from which assistance can be offered to the stricken.

The extra security is necessary, Hambrick said, because the perimeter wall built around the school crumbled in the quake, leaving the missionaries and orphans vulnerable to escalating violence as the situation worsens in Haiti.

There are no plans for Fausey to evacuate, however, Hambrick said.

“She would never leave them now,” Hambrick said. “She loves them and they need her more than ever now.”

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, said he was concerned when he learned Fausey was not accounted for in the initial days after the earthquake and called on members of the staff and the church to pray for her safety.

On receiving an e-mail that she was safe and ministering to others, Brunson said, “We just rejoiced.”

Brunson said he is working with church officials in behalf of relief efforts by Florida Baptist disaster relief, which is coordinated through the Florida Baptist Convention. He has urged people to donate funds for food and water and for churchgoers to prepare to join relief teams from the church or the Florida convention as the needs are clear.

Online, donations to Florida Baptists’ efforts for Haiti earthquake relief can be made at www.flbaptist.org by credit cards, or checks can be sent to Florida Baptist Convention 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32257. Designate on check “Haitian Earthquake relief.” For more information, call 1-800-226-8584, ext. 3135, or 904-596-3135.
Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (www.gofbw.com), newsjournal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. Southern Baptists can contribute to “Haiti Earthquake Disaster Relief” through their local church or directly to their state convention, the North American Mission Board (www.namb.net) or the International Mission Board (www.imb.org). Online, donations to Florida Baptists’ efforts for Haiti earthquake relief can be made at www.flbaptist.org, or to Florida Baptist Convention, 1230 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32257. Designate checks for “Haitian Earthquake Relief.” For more information, call 1-800-226-8584, ext. 3135, or 904-596-3135. The North American Mission Board has set up a Haiti disaster relief fund that will direct money to state conventions and other Southern Baptists who are doing relief work in Haiti. Donations may be made online, www.NAMB.net, by phone, 1-866-407-6262, or by mail, North American Mission Board, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Make checks payable to “Haiti Disaster Relief Fund/NAMB.” Initial funding for the relief effort will come from the International Mission Board’s disaster relief fund. Contributions can be made online, www.imb.org, or by mail, International Mission Board, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230. Regardless of the SBC channel, all funds received for this purpose will go to relief efforts; none will be used for administrative costs.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan