A promised new day! Hurricane Dorain Mission Update
23 February 2020 | Marsh Harbor
gg | cold!
The wind is high today so we are hanging in the harbor and will leave tomorrow !
A bright rainbow greeted us this morning with God’s love as we end our time here.
It been amazing and its hard to leave as we love so many here and have seen God’s hand brining healing and love forth.
"We have four days left before we start our sail back to the Florida Keys. We are all torn , its hard to leave. We are already planning our return and if you would like to join us , we encourage you, please do. You will never be the same.The treasure from your heart will always remain. "
Taking the day off we went out to Fowl Cay. How great to see the reef doing well ! Sea fans moving in the current the purples, greens and golds in full life. Many fish are happily swimming around the corals untouched as far as we were able to see. God’s creation, one of the many beauties of the Bahamas remains.
Motoring over to Hope Town the landmark candy striped light house is still standing.The Island has suffered a beating form the wind and the storm. I was surprised to see the many building standing on such a narrow strip of land. Vernon’s grocery a favorite to visitors on the island is open with a sign that says “ we need your dough! “ Samaritan's Purse is on the island working on restoration, you can hear the hammers beating away. A new fence is up around the playground area on the harbor side. We were able to board True North, New Hopes Mission Ship which is docked at Hope Town Marina. They house many missionaries working on the islands.
Josh on Adonai plan is to fix the lost prop here this afternoon but many large bull sharks are swimming around changing his mind! We will hang out here tonight just out side of Hope Town and go back over to Marsh Harbor in the morning and get back to our work.
Motoring back over to Marsh Harbor our first stop is fuel at Abaco beach Resort. The marina is working hard on repairs to reopen which will be a great help to the island. Today is a little uncertain for us. A few of our team members will hopefully fly out, many flights have been getting canceled due to weather. The rest of us are having a late start.
The men are back up on the the roof at New Vision and distributing some of the roofing materials that we had shipped over. Our prayer and ministry team are reaching out to other churches to distribute bibles and supplies.
As we pull up to the first church many children and the Pastor come out to greet us. We are welcomed here at New Mission Baptist Church. Pastor Meme invites us into the church building which made it though the storm. The fans in side are all bent downward from the wind and pressure. Out side the church is a tent city with over 45 people living here on the property and they are expecting more to return soon from Nassau and other areas. So many people are suffering from lost homes and separated families along with deaths to loved ones. The heart ache is being survived by faith . The days to come will be long and hard as rebuilding continues. The tent camps are all that many have. The children are running and playing in their new found community. As we pray with the moms we see the longing in their eyes as many have children in Haiti. Pastor Meme has been in the Bahamas for 39 years from Haiti. He has been explaining many people were deported after the storm.
Our next visit of the day is to Bereca Baptist Church. Prior to the storm a new facility was being built. A large structure with high concrete walls is standing here in pieces, crumbling and caving in. Behind the huge ruin it looks like a war zone refugee camp. The vibe is low. A few people are on property and reluctant to come out. We have the pleasure to meet Du Carmel a wonderful man grateful to be alive. He translated for us which gave us the opportunity to pray with a few woman who now are living on the property here. The pain here is intense and the loss great. There are many storm stories and lives altered which are shared heart to heart, not meant to be retold. The sacredness of life is to be respected.
Our day comes to a close when the Bailou mobile comes rumbling up. Pastor Bailou with his big bear grin smiling from ear to ear is here. His front seat is filled with trays of local Bahama style cooking, a gift to thank us which is not necessary but gratefully excepted. The love and gratitude given to us for being here is humbling as we consider it a privilege to serve. The need is overwhelming and you wonder how can one help. Every little bit is a start, love matters, love cares and love takes action.
It is so easy to lose track of time and days. Visiting the churches with the tent camps sets in the reality of the devastation from the storm. Dorian has not been stronger than the faith of believers here in the Bahamas . Strong faith is present, making way for life to come forth. Looking around is endless confusion , foundations remaining, roofs missing , building crumbled, cars flipped, boats aground , nothing is in its place. Growing up and through this confusion one can see that everything wants to live. Clusters of green is forcing it self through what has been beaten, scraped and tumbled. Many tall palms have fronds coming forth. A young coconut coming forth birthing a new tree is a testimony of life. The pines have puff balls of deep green. Yellow flowers are squeezing up through twisted metal. Hibicus coming into bloom is spectacular! Life is strong , Life reaches beyond.
Last night was rocking and rolling the wind has picked up and soaking us as we dingy back and forth. This is our last day of ministry here. Today we are filling up Amos’s pick up with our remaining supplies and 10 of us! Jordan and Marcus are leaving today but with the adverse weather their flight is canceled.
What I love about going ashore is there is a pack of four dogs who greet us. When we come ashore they run up to us the most joy filled dogs wagging their tails with happy eyes just so happy to see us and hang our for pets.
Amos is wonderful to help us today. Driving around he shares with us many more stories of what has happened to the families and people during the storm. We drove by one church in the center of town which was totally gone. A young girl survived as the water engulfed and pushed its way through the building. She was washed out of the church pushed by the water across the street into a tree. She was just about to lose her grip on the high tree limb when two men in the neighboring house saw her and risked their lives in the middle of the storm. Passing through the churned up high water filled with construction debris the young girl was rescued. There have been so many brave people here who have risked their lives to save another.
We have visited many churches to pray with the Pastors or who ever is present. The church grounds have become a safe haven for the Haitian community and others who have been left homeless. There are many large organization present on the ground. We have met volunteers from all over the world. World Central Kitchen is a life line providing meals, All Hands and Hearts is rebuilding . Open Wold Relief providing temporary housing and building needs . What would happen if the Water Mission was not present. International Organization for Migration is bringing aid to the many in tent camps. Unicef, The Bahama Defense Force, YWAM, Mission of Hope, the Mennonite Community , Samaritan's Purse, the many individuals who came in directly after the storm, military men for search and rescue from all parts of the globe, the many more present with the many more who will come, and most of all those who live here are all woking and giving with their hearts to bring forth life, a true expression of love and the power of love unified.
Feb . 22
Across the sky a rainbow bursts forth as the wind howls. Its time to give our hugs and set sail.
Jeff… Taking one last walk along the shoreline this afternoon showed us plenty more of the mass destruction the storm caused to this beautiful place. Hardly a soul around but a few small beat up cars zipping by, made for an eerie scene amongst the piles of concrete walls, wood, debris, piles of boats, buildings, and on and on. Gail found a beautiful little square glass vase she snagged, that seemed like a jewel in a pile of junk, like metaphor of some kind. Nevertheless, it will take some time but we’re pretty sure Marsh Harbor will return to its original bustling condition hosting boaters and tourists who come to enjoy this place and its beautiful waters. No matter how much man develops, these beautiful remote locations, we have to remember that nature always wins.
Christi … There has been several very significant moments. Foremost was meeting a beautiful woman and her two daughters at a shelter. The 11 year old whispered. “May I tell you something?” yes, of course. “my daddy died.” Explanation not forthcoming but yes, In the storm, and her mother was stoic, very unmoved as I prayed for her. That night we prayed for her and her safety - and the next day we upon return we met up with a team from International Organization Migration and found out they were setting up a large food station, and would be present at the site. I asked if they would look after her, which they readily agreed. We gave her daughters and her, Marley, special gifts. and she received our love with a big smile. She had more hope now. She had been encouraged through the love of God, Other memories include children’s games, the lost shoe, the ladies and a hug from an old friend. Thankful for Holy Spirit! Seeing Jesus heal hearts! Very grateful to Gail and Ted for taking this on so and for Jaime and Josh, a dynamic duo, For Jeff and all of our team- the best!
Nancy….Wow God !!!! Above all, I want to thank you with all my heart and soul. For this glorious opportunity to serve You. Thank you Lord God for surrounding me with Spirit filled prayer warriors. So thankful that my heart is intertwined with the circle of love with my team here. . Thank you for using us Father to break down walls and bring a sense of peace and love to the people here letting them know that they are not alone. Looking out from the cockpit this morning, and seeing a vibrant rainbow, I felt affirmation from my heavenly Father that this journey and our mission was complete.
Randy - Today we got blown out - wind at about 30 knots so we decided to take one last trip into town. Walking around, I was struck with grief when we walked over to the “Mud” - once a community of Haitian’s living in a small makeshift camp. I’ve heard the stories this week about many who have been swept out to sea. Many bodies were never recovered. I said a prayer and walked on, realizing that this must hallowed ground.
Night is upon us. The wind continuing to howl coolness is in the air while the lapping of the water is on our hulls, we are being rocked hard its time to wait and be still .