The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering helped provide food to Nicaraguan families afflicted by twin disasters.
Hurricane Iota struck Nicaragua’s coast as a Category 4 storm on November 16, hitting an area that had been devastated by Hurricane Eta two weeks earlier.
The hurricanes destroyed homes and businesses, and thousands of people had to leave their villages to find safer conditions.
In response to recovery efforts coordinated by the department’s partners, the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering Missional Team, Inc. awarded a US $ 15,000 grant to provide meals to Nicaraguan families returning to their homes and villages along the coast after the hurricanes.
The Missional Team is a ministry focused on serving others, forming leaders, and sharing Christ with people in Nicaragua and Ethiopia.
Jim Palmer, executive director of the mission team, and Peter Murrell, a missionary in Nicaragua, traveled to the hardest hit area to help the well-established Nicaraguan leadership team with the emergency response.
In addition to providing meals made possible by starvation, the ministry also worked with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to set up feeding centers.
Hope Springs Water – a ministry affiliated with the First Baptist Church in Athens – has also pledged to help decontaminate water wells and build new wells for the indigenous people and mosquito nets.
Significant needs in Nicaragua
The needs in Nicaragua are great after the hurricanes, said Palmer. Many people were homeless from the first hurricane and gathered in churches and schools when the second storm hit. All of the food that the families kept at home was destroyed.
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“The next morning [after the hurricane]The pastors woke up with 100 families in their churches and had to find ways to feed and care for them, ”Palmer said.
Families in Nicaragua receive grocery packages, made possible through a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering grant, when they return to their villages and begin rebuilding. (Courtesy photo by BGCT)
In response, the Nicaraguan team worked with the local churches to set up feeding centers in the villages. They also prepared survival kits for families ready to return home and start rebuilding.
The boxes of food provided through donations for hunger provide families returning home from refugee centers with enough food for two weeks when they begin the long reconstruction process. In addition, families are provided with a machete, family-sized mosquito net, water treatment drop, and bleach.
Palmer described a Nicaraguan team coordinator who saw a truck with people showing up at his door asking for his name. They were coffee farmers from Northern Nicaragua and arrived with coffee for those affected by the disaster. When they asked the locals where to distribute the coffee, they were immediately referred to the coordinator, as the efforts of the mission team were known and respected throughout the region.
“Our goal is to support these local churches and efforts,” said Palmer. “We want to strengthen their ministry so people know they can come to their local church for help.”
Katie Frugé, director of the Department of Hunger and Care at the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, said she was delighted to work with the Missional Team and their service in Nicaragua.
“Part of the mission and work of the hunger victim is to unite the body of Christ and bring about a holistic transformation in the name of Jesus. The devastation caused by successive direct hits from Hurricanes Eta and Iota has further damaged an already fragile community, ”Frugé said.
“Hunger Providers are excited to work with others to ensure emergency food supplies as families begin the long process of rebuilding.”