On August 8, 2023, what is now described as the nation’s deadliest wildfire in 100 years began to rage. Fires in three separate areas of our island brought about great devastation (the greatest being in the town of Lahaina). According to an article published on August 12th, "damage assessments related to the Lahaina Fire resulted in an estimated total of 2,719 structures exposed; 2,207 structures damaged or destroyed; and 2,170 acres burned. 86% of buildings exposed to the fire were classified as residential."
Along with the loss of many homes, many lives have also been lost. According to an article published on September 19, 2023, there are an estimated 97 fatalities.
During the initial week of the fires, the immediate response of our ministry's first church plant was to help provide supplies. With the help of the initial donations given, we were able to provide the following to shelters and a few individual families:
28 foods items (various quantities)
46 toiletry items (various quantities)
192 sets of clothes
1 baby product
16 other items (various quantities)
As the church plant provided these items in Jesus' name, each church member helped in whatever ways they could on an individual level. Some had to continue to work their usual jobs while others volunteered hours of their time preparing meals and volunteering at one of the active shelters.
Two weeks after the fires, more than 1,900 displaced residents were moved from gymnasium shelters to hotel rooms. As this took place we began to consider and pray about the church plant's long term plan for providing relief. Recognizing what the church plant would be able to do, we put together a plan that you can view by clicking here or the button below.
This plan focuses on giving direct spiritual and material aid to those affected directly and indirectly by the fires. Two key factors in creating this plan were recognizing our limitations and recognizing that aid will still be needed months (most likely years) from now. Especially once the immediate aid being provided comes to an end.
An example of the aid we are looking to provide both in the short and long term is giving income assistance (such as money for groceries) in the form of gift cards. These gift cards will be given with a Bible, a personal note from a member of our church, and at least one Gospel-focused resource.
As we look to provide such aid in the months and years to come, we want thank all who have already given to the church plant's relief fund to make providing this aid through the church plant possible. For those who would still be interested in providing aid, we’d ask that you give directly through our church’s relief fund by clicking here or the button below.
Though you may desire to provide material aid through our church, I’d ask that you please not send such aid at this time. Our island is already overwhelmed with the amount of material aid being provided. State officials themselves, “now request monetary contributions over physical goods due to the challenges of processing the overwhelming goodwill,” according to a news article published on August 19th.
Be assured that every dollar of financial aid you send through Haumāna Baptist Church will be used to provide both physical and spiritual aid directly to Maui residents. As this aid is given, we'll be communicating who we help and how God uses this aid for His glory through our regular monthly updates.
Maui has a long road of recovery ahead, and we have no doubt that God has us here for such a time as this. As you support us in prayer in the days ahead, please pray:
For wisdom in stewarding the financial aid given through the church plant.
For God to direct us to those who we are to help.
For the aid we give to provide opportunities to share the Gospel.
For the aid we give to bring people to salvation and spiritual growth through the church plant.