This past November, Rev. Dr. LeSette Wright from Berea College & Peaceseekers Ministry, Rev. Teruco Tynes from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and I visited families at the “GYM,” the designated shelter in Nassau, now housing over 450 individuals who were evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama. We met with guidance counselors and pupils at the C.W.Saunders Christian School, met with members of the leadership staff at the Ministry of Education, Guidance Counseling & EAP Units, were welcomed by the Bahamas Baptist Convention staff, prayed with Dr. Shelton Higgs, the Senior pastor at New Lively Hope Baptist Church and Professor at the Baptist Community College, engaged in sessions with Bishop Victor Cooper and the men of New Bethany Baptist Church. God had us moving about in Nassau, listening, observing, asking questions, and strengthening relationships. Everywhere we went, our goal remained to come alongside our hosts and all who opened their doors and hearts to us. We made many pastoral visits and accompanied families, staff and colleagues in moments of prayer, silence, songs and tears.
We met a young couple at the “Gym” who were eager to tell us their story of survival. We stopped, sat on the floor with the young couple and their 16 months old baby boy, listened as they recounted their journey. They spoke in Haitian Creole. Our heart languages connected. They thanked us for “not just passing by.” Hurricane Dorian not only devastated physical structures on Abaco and Grand Bahama, but fractured lives for ever. Many families are trying to grasp the new reality that surrounds them; having left their homes with the clothes on their backs or with a couple of small bags, containing items they grabbed in a hurry before the wind and water submerged their homes. Many grieve the passing of loved ones in their arms. As some recounted events of the September category 5 hurricane, we saw many emotions come across their faces. We witnessed and heard their cries.
Ms. Rolle, Sr. Guidance Counselor at the C.W. Saunders Christian School (pictured in the purple dress), heightened our understanding of the traumatic adjustments children and families continue to live through, while settling in Nassau. Emotional, spiritual and physical healing will take time. The churches in Nassau have responded with enormous generosity to some of the physical needs the evacuees face. Teachers, counselors, pastors attempt to attend to the psycho-social needs.
The Body of Christ has a unique opportunity to come alongside brothers and sisters in The Bahamas at such a time as this, and minister from the heart. May the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 teach us wisdom, knowledge and shower us with God’s grace as we aim to be the light of Jesus in a broken world.
The Short-Term Mission office is partnering with Lott Carey Global Missional Community and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship(CBF) to assist in recovery efforts in the Bahamas. For anyone feeling called to serve in physical rebuilding, please connect with CBF at https://cbf.net/dr-bahamas
For those feeling called to attend to the psycho-social needs of our brothers and sisters in The Bahamas, we are at this time looking for experienced chaplains and trauma counselors who feel called to serve on short-term mission opportunities (one week) in The Bahamas. Please contact STM at email@example.com for more details.Please know that all who are able to serve in The Bahamas, will need to submit copies of resumes and process a background clearance, as part of the application process. We are grateful for your servant’s hearts, prayers, financial support and desire to serve at such a time as this.