The ministry of Asia Pacific Baptist Aid began in January 2005 as the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation responded to the devastation of the Asian Tsunami. This humanitarian disaster, caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami off the coast of Aceh, impacted significantly Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. When it occurred APBF did have an Aid and Relief Committee but no staff. Given the level of need and the help offered by other members of the APBF family and the wider global family in the Baptist World Alliance, the APBF General Secretary at the time, Rev Bonny Resu, and the chair of the Aid and Relief Committee, Dr Les Fussell, quickly acted to staff APBF's assistance for the tsunami response. Rev Kabi Gangmei, who had just returned from completing a Master's degree at Wheaton in the USA, and who had extensive prior experience in aid and development working for NEICORD, was appointed as the staff member to head up this work.
Kabi oversaw the brokering of funding, monitoring and evaluation of multiple projects related to the Asian tsunami particularly in Indonesia and India. Kabi brought to the ministry a strong relational approach to working with partners, as well as a depth of knowledge of people involved in this ministry, particularly in India, Myanmar, Nepal and Indonesia.
Under Kabi's guidance the ministry grew and in January 2008, APBAid was formally established. Kabi was APBAid's first Director. The APBAid fulltime staff grew from two to then three members to cover the increase ministry load. Kabi worked to build the capacity of APBF member bodies, most significantly in the areas of disaster response and preparedness, while at the same time helping member bodies respond to natural disasters, whether local or large scale, such as Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2009), the triple disaster in Japan (2011) and the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Always, Kabi encouraged the member bodies affected by the disasters and those responding to it, to learn from their experiences. This was most evident in the 30+ DRR/DRM trainings that he and other APBAid staff members ran over the 14 and a half years that Rev Kabi worked for APBAid. Kabi was instrumental in ensuring that the Development Consultations run at the 2007, 2012 and 2017 Congresses covered topics important to the capacity enhancement of the APBF member bodies and had in attendance experienced and aspiring aid and development workers and church leaders.
With the merging of the APBF Peace Network and the APBAid ministry in 2012, Ms Feraz Legita joined the APBAid staff in that year. Feraz brought to her role in APBAid a long experience in development work though her leadership in social development department of CPBC over 20 years. She had also been a long standing, active member of the APBF Peace Network and for a short time on the APBAid Committee. Her peace building experience was important in her appointment. Providentially, she was well able to stand in as acting APBAid Director when Rev Kabi Gangmei suffered a life-threatening illness in December 2012, which meant him taking a year off to recover.
In her role, Feraz sort to enhance the capacity of APBF member bodies in the peace building area by running workshops and trainings in this area. The Peace Consultation in Myanmar in 2014 was one such event, as were similar events the Philippines, Fiji and NE India.
Feraz's expertise and experience inputted significantly into APBAid's support of APBF member convention's responses to the humanitarian disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. She brokered funding, monitored and arranged evaluations for more than 16 projects established with three of the Philippines APBF member convention affected by the Typhoon Haiyan disaster.
APBF and its member bodies sincerely thank Rev Kabi Gangmei and Ms Feraz Legita for their expertise and their long years of service that has helped establish the ministry of APBAid and the importance of ministry in deed as well as word in the life of local churches. May God bless them abundantly as they step down from their ministries in APBAid.