First Orlando (aka First Baptist Church of Orlando) formed in 1871 with 18 people. That same congregation now includes over 15,000 members and is one of the largest contributors in the nation to the Southern Baptist Convention for missions work.
Then in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, the Maranatha Haitian Baptist Church (along with most of its members) were left homeless until First Orlando welcomed them in, gave them a place to worship, and helped them to regain a foothold. That congregation still meets in the Marie Williams Chapel on First Orlando’s campus for services on Sunday mornings (10:45) and evenings (6pm) as well as for Bible studies on Thursdays (7:30pm) and for prayer meetings on Tuesdays (7:30pm).
Now, with over 20 years of working with organizations such as Orlando-based New Missions, First Orlando is reaching into Haiti helping to build schools, churches, and medical centers. And, during the recent earthquake, several of First Orlando’s members were in a base camp approximately 10 miles away from the quake’s epicenter.
One of those church members is 17-old Ms. English who was part of a mission trip to deliver presents to Haitians as part of Operation Christmas Child. When the quake struck, she saw its catastrophic aftereffects firsthand and put into words the thoughts of many who were on that trip. “The things that used to seem like a big deal, don’t seem like a big deal anymore.”
What does it matter if your TV is a 32” or a 50” if your whole house is crumbling to the ground around it?
On Sunday, First Orlando hosted a free comedy concert featuring Tim Hawkins for the purpose of collecting financial assistance for those in Haiti and for showing Orlando’s support for those who are still struggling to survive in the ruble that has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives.
During a New Missions presentation before Tim Hawkins took the stage, the church’s pastor, Dr. David Uth, and the president of New Missions, Tim DeTellis looked out on an audience that overflowed the church’s seating to the extent that people were sitting on the floor lining the aisles, they filled the choir loft and the orchestra pit, and some were even standing on the edges of the stage.
About thirty minutes after the doors were scheduled to open, the church was forced to close its doors and send people away because there was simply nowhere else to put them. This outpouring of support from so many of God’s children brought Melony McKaye, from the Z88.3 Midday Show, to tears while Christine Webb, from Channel 13 News, simply said, “Praise God… Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
With an unofficial estimate of 7,000 people in the audience, hundreds of Haitian children were adopted, and an as-yet-unreported sum of money was eagerly donated to help feed and rebuild the nation of Haiti.
For information on the next comedy concert fundraiser for Haiti, click here.
Bobby’s Related Content:
- Tim Hawkins comedy concert fundraiser for Haiti – Tim Hawkins was in Orlando for a Haiti fundraiser sponsored by New Missions on January 17 with a capacity crowd of well over 6,000 people and they had to turn people away because there was…
- Free comedy show to raise funds for Haiti – New Missions has a 33-member team in Haiti who arrived in that country a few days prior to the recent earthquake leaving them in a perfect position to assist the grief stricken disaster victims.
- President Obama vows to help Haiti, Orlando Christians are already distributing food – On Wednesday, President Obama “promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort to help the people of Haiti” while stating that “the relief effort is gearing up.”
- ‘Laugh All Night’ with Tim Hawkins – Orlando, Florida – Laugh All Night is back in Orlando and, this time, the show is starring Tim Hawkins. This Christian comedy concert promises to be fun for your whole family.
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