Life is like a painting
30 May 2021 | Islamorada
Gail Gordon | Sunny and clear
As each day appoaches we have the opportunity to live and paint a picture which continues on throughout our lives. Our thoughts and actions are like paint able to create something beautiful with an element of mystery.
On May 9th, we were passing over Grand Bahama Bank, and it was a stunningly beautiful day. The water depth at 9 feet meant smooth sailing and pretty colors, which were absolutely mesmerizing.
The day prior was just as fantastic with the spinner flying perfectly. It was filled with steady air at 16 to 18 knots as we passed through the Berry Islands. Whale Cay sat to our starboard side with moderate easterly winds. We were moving across the water with a peak speed topping off at 13.6 when we surfed down small 2-4 seas. One fish on the line bailed out as it was landing on our deck. You could hear all the groans and ahh’s. Our plan was mouth-watering fish tacos, but Mexican-style tacos, as opposed to the dreamed-of mahi-mahi, was the change to the events menu. Some disappointments are not life-threatening or life-changing at all. With Eleuthera now 7 hours behind us, it had been a fabulous sail. No complaints at all.
Our minds were filled with fond, fun-filled memories: cave exploring in Hatchet Bay, fishing off North Eleuthera, and snorkeling the colorful reefs filled with soft corals and exquisite hard corals in an array of color and size. There was brain coral, some with deep green lines, and also staghorn reaching towards the surface. Swimming joyfully in and through the crevices were schools of brilliant purple and blue fish, playing about. A passing turtle is the all-time favorite, as the turtle would eyeball you then dart off in a rapid hurry.
Another great moment while in Eleuthera was when a group of three dolphin surrounded Viento Azul at anchor. They were curious and brave as Erin jumped in to see if they would play. Making eye contact, she was thrilled to a scream beyond measure! That night, when the sun set, and I woke in the dark under the stars, I saw they were are amplified by the peaceful sound of soft waves breaking on the rocky coastline. Sailing is a beautiful adventure.
Looking back even farther, 2 weeks since Awake, with a lot in between, there is so much to be grateful for. Our time in the Abacos was more than we could possibly imagine. The teamwork of 22 people coming together to bring love and the hope we have in Jesus was excellent.
We had packaged up over 1,000 Bibles, tracts and crafts for the event. The vision came despite covid, the threat of rain, and all the challenges of not knowing what was going to happen. Placing one foot in front of the other with faith, you can be assured greatness will unfold. God loves faith, and He is a rewarder of faith. Walking with a heart filled with joy comes from taking that step of faith, no matter whether it is large or small.
As we left our rental van so long ago in the Abacos, we also left a holy fire that was kindled and ongoing. Hearts were encouraged, and the vison of Awake was ablaze, expanding and taking new territory. We have been invited back to continue in the good work of the Lord. As we walked back to our boat that final day, we knew it was time to move on. I distinctly remember the sun’s rays shining through the clouds, beaming through the water, lighting up my soul to the reality and the presence of God in our lives.
From the Abacos, to resting in Eleuthera, and onward to the Florida Keys, we know more is yet to come. Currently we are reprovisioning Viento Azul to depart for Mexico where we will pick up our first team for the summer season, after a quick stop in Belize. Our destination will be the Rio Dulce of Guatemala. Our mission is Casa Agua Azul (bluewatersurredner.org). There we will be involved with many projects for the house and the children.
Our calendar is filling up quickly. As fall approaches, so do hurricanes. To keep our trips safe, we will remain in the protected waters of the Rio Dulce, Guatemala area for fall trips. We will serve, and we will sail. Join us, and you will experience living on board and sailing on Lake Izabal, touring the Rio Dulce and Lake Golfete area, and passing through the exquisite canyon walls to explore the port town of Livingston while you learn to raise the sails and capture the wind!
Rise and shine "Awake"
30 April 2021 | Murphy Town
Arriving Marsh Harbor is a mix of memories and emotions. We are in world wind of events of preparation while visiting communities and churches to bring forth the event Awake. The island here since Dorian has been busy working hard under adverse conditions. Many homes are rebuilt and we are able to see life is returning to the island. Maxwells the local grocery and hardware store is bustling. Colors has reopened on the water front filled with people enjoying lunch and the view. Sail boats are in the harbor and visitors are starting to return to the island which in the past has been a large source of the economy here in the Abacos. The beaches and colorful waters are irresistible along with warm hearted welcoming people of the Bahamas.
The joy and life on the island is wonderful and only part of the picture The island still remains in great need. Commerce building and homes remain destroyed. The rebuilding is a monumental task. A shortage of building supplies at escalated prices increases the challenge. We were made aware that rent for a 1 bedroom apt is $ 2,700 . All of this combined with covid on top is a heavy weight.
We have been spending time returning to previously visited tent camps. Many people are still living in temporary structures donated by large NGO's since the storm. Others on the island are less fortunate finding shelter in camping tents and cars. Driving though many areas in town it still look like a war zone. When you drive past town acres and acres of dead trees remain standing for miles and miles. This was once a thriving pine forest home to many creatures. Now it houses mounds of wrecked cars.
The purpose of our return visit to Marsh Harbor is to bring encouragement to the heart. Living in the Florida Keys for over 30 years we know first hand the aftermath of a storm, none to the degree of destruction as Dorian. If any of you remember Andrew and Irma , amplify them.The people in Abaco heard the sound of their ones ones crying out for help as they vanished from the storm, either swept away by the sea of crushed beneath their homes. Behind the joyful smiles of many remains pain and trauma. One of the greatest heart aches is the still separation from family. To look into the eyes of a weeping mother as she starts to open up, you feel the once hidden desperation. To God we pray, believing he is the way maker and miracle worker today. He is the one able to open doors, to bring peace and heal hearts.
I met a woman in our visit to Spring City where the government has erected igloo looking dwellings. She shared her storm experience. A tornado came through the window she had minutes prior boarded up. She stood holding hands with her children as the tornado swirled a few feet away from her. The blessing of God is, after a few second which seemed as hours, it went directly up tearing apart the roof. She remains today with her family, with great faith knowing the love and protection of the Lord.
Awake is a three day revival event bringing hope and healing by the spirit of our God who is alive and the same today as yesterday. " Arise , shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you Isaiah 60: 1) We are believing for many hearts to come back to our heavenly Father though the saving grace and love of Jesus.
Last night was our first night. People attended in person adhering to strictly enforced covid protocol . The event is being held at Murphy town Park which is in the Marsh Harbor area. We are in the middle of a very active running track and soccer field The basketball court in an ear shot away along with the liquor store directly across the street. Many drive up in cars as if you were at a drive in movie. This is common on the island. The event was also live streamed though individual accounts on Facebook sending the word of God out and into homes.
The many challenges have not stopped us . It has made us to think more creatively and caused us to persevere though pressure and adversity but our God is more than able . The kingdom of God is unstoppable, so get out there today and love someone, you just may save their life.