In response to the devastating one-two punch leveled at Puerto Rico by hurricanes Irma and Maria in fall 2017, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), in partnership with American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), launched the “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” multi-year initiative.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…
Puerto Rico – a beautiful tropical island, with a long history and culture of welcoming travelers from around the world was devastated by a category 5 hurricane in September of 2017. They named it Hurricane Maria. Most of the Island was destroyed, but, the spirit of the people remained.
Last September I had the privilege of joining a small team of Wonder Women; lead by the Reverend Mylinda Baits to Puerto Rico ~ Our mission ~ to lend a hand in whatever capacity we could, to be of service to the peoples need of Rebuilding, Restoring, and Renewing Puerto Rico, home to over 3 million people – with a spattering of 114 churches 9 mission including Corporacion Milagros del Amor (A Miracles of Love Corporation) or CORMA for short.
We spent the next week working directly with CORMA Cleaning painting – mural – with Mylinda’s talented vision – And cleaning and painting – by the end of our stay Espacio De Mujer’s (a space for women) was ready for the next step – the small room slowly becoming a Space for Women at Risk to rest, have a meal, be given counseling and skills to help them know they are not alone in their struggles.
This Mission was made possible by American Baptist Home Mission Societies. The team of ABHMS in Puerto Rico often working around the clock to ensure we volunteers had a safe place to stay, meals, water, snacks.
And time to spend with people of Puerto Rico, listening to their needs and stories, their fears and hopes, their joys as they saw each other gain one more wall and one more roof – one more working sink to wash in, one more stove to cook on…. The list goes on and it’s not finished yet.
This year, I am privileged to be taking another team of 8 volunteers back to Puerto Rico to continue tending to the needs of the people and their homes. Those traveling with me this year will be:
Carolyn Adams, Vernon and Emily Blair, Emily Wu Locke, Pat DeNeui with her brother Bob and his wife Kathy DeNeui, and Rev. Mylinda Baits IM Consultant.
We will be able to go back to the city of Caguas for the first 2 days and see Espacio de Mujer’s open for the first time to the public. It will be such an honor to see the finished product of what we started a year ago!
By Wednesday, we will be helping restore the home of Gil Rondon, a former construction leader for ABHMS who had to have a leg amputated last month. Thursday we will be helping the Church in Deseada with their feeding ministry of over 200 people. Friday we will be in another elderly Church members home, helping restore and clean as needed.
One of the best parts about the work we will be doing is spending time with the people of Puerto Rico. Listening to their stories of survival and giving them a space to be heard.
And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
2 Corinthians 8:5
If you've been wanting to make beautiful music and are looking for a group of folks who will treat you like family... join the choir!
Weekly choir practice takes place on Thursday nights at 7:00 pm.
Emmaus House is holistic mission House-Church that meets every Saturday at 6:30pm.
For more info, visit the Emmaus House page.
American Baptist Women's Ministries (ABWM) meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from Sept through June.
For more info, visit the ABWM page.
Each year 4 major Mission Outreach offerings are taken:
Retired Ministers and Missionaries
One Great Hour of Sharing
America for Christ
The World Fellowship Offering
First Baptist supports Mylinda Baits in Missionary Service.
She is a regional missionary with particular focus in issues of human trafficking in the Iberoamerica-Caribbean region. For over 12 years, Mylinda and her husband Gary served in Costa Rica.
Having witnessed first hand, the sexual tourism industry, Mylinda now works to prevent and eradicate this modern day slave trade. She travels extensively throughout Latin America.
Table Grace, formerly known the Feeding Ministry, meets every Sunday at 4pm. Faith Communities and Local Groups provide a free dinner for the needy in our area.
This is a community enhanced ministry, supported by a wide range of churches, service clubs and individuals. Table Grace has served the "least-of-these" in our community for over 20 years.
If you are interested in helping as a volunteer, please contact Pastor Mark or Freda Spaulding, Table Grace's Volunteer Coordinator.
This knitting group creates caps for premature babies born at Tacoma General Hospital and at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.
Over the last 4 years, they have made 6000 caps for new born babies.
For more information, contact Sarah Waterhouse or Patti Lehman.
First Baptist is one of 10 Faith Communities that take part in this ministry.
Each team visits the jail once a quarter, meeting 4 times within a 2 week period. Meetings include Bible Study, prayer, music, devotions and testimonies.
A volunteer jail chaplain supports the team when they visit. Volunteers receive training and orientation prior to participation.
For more information, contact John Nunneh.