Arriving Water Caye across from Marsh Harbor the sun has set in brilliance. The glory of God is seen in the sky changing as each minute passes til the stars come out and light up the heavens. We have arrived to the sea of Abaco all intact.
Early we rise with the sun, it’s time to start moving across the way to Marsh Harbor. Coming to the channel it’s hard to recognize where you are. My favorite house is unidentifiable! Four years of carrying Boy Scouts in and out of this channel and today I feel lost. The shore line is just so torn up and the trees leaning from Dorian are wearing so much brown. Boats washed up on the shores, docks every witch way and torn to pieces. The port is busy and filled with
ships carrying container after container, relief is here. The trees that have survived are starting to grow and many houses are being repaired.
We are blessed to be met by Dr, Eldon Johnson from EJMO at the port to arrange our clearing of customs and immigration . Praise God our work permits have all been approved! Eldon and his ministry is full of the joy of the Lord. They are the most wonderful to be connected with and to have as our spiritual covering while in the Bahamas. Their love for God and the people of the Bahamas is great.
Next we meet up with Pastor Bailou and if you are ever having a bad day you need to spend some time with this man of God. When you say yes and step in faith, inexpressible gifts from heaven come your way. We are so excited to work with this wonderful team here in the Bahamas whose hearts are for what is best for their community.
Our next blessing is Brenda who pulls up in her taxi waiting to hear the plan. Since we have seen her last she has a new windshield in the van! I love the love and time of just hanging out to see what God has next.
Next stop is to see Lidia at New Vision Church, which has been a distribution center since the storm. Currently the church is facilitating school. We looked at part of the building which needs a roof in order for the school to be able to expand for the high school students.
Our team is bonded from traveling and all that has transpired, we are becoming one and growing in our faith. God is affirming the importance of our presence here in Marsh Harbor at this time. Each person we come into contact with is important. Many decisions need to be made for our direction while here and to steward our supplies well. There is no shortage of work and need. In the morning we will look at New Vision’s roof and Pastor Bailou’s roof. The team is fired up. We miss our team member Lecia, whose departure was today. For those of you who have been praying, she made her flight! Tomorrow, Caroline is scheduled to teach dance at the school and the rest of us will be sorting supplies, digging into cleanup and readying ourselves for our mysterious unknown-in-the-moment, divine appointments!
Feb. 14 2020 Happy Valentines day! A whirlwind of activity .
Nancy and the men: Half our team went in early to deliver supplies and to start swinging the hammer. “The roof at New Vision is coming together with the craftsmanship of the men, who are putting the roof together like a puzzle which is astounding the parents of the students.” By the end of the day all framing for the roof at New Vision has been completed and ready for tomorrow's dry in! With this area finished, New Vision will be able to host High School students and get the youth off the street.
Gail: Divine appointments and visions coming to life . After unpacking the hulls and sorting items to distribute the Holy Spirit took control, bringing those in need at the very moment to receive what was in our hands. “I love when you see a vision in your mind weeks ahead of time only to find yourself standing in that particular spot and seeing God move. “
Jamie: Pastor Bailou's Church is filled with peace. “When you go to give donations and receive more than you give, in the Spirit, it is overwhelming. “
The many opportunities to pray and bring joy into the hearts of the people and the children is our God in action. He cares for our hearts. A little boy today lost his mask which he made in art class. After praying, asking Jesus to help him find it, there it was and placed in his hands. His sadness when to unexplainable joy. Small things are big things to Jesus.
To end our day was the greatest swim! By the end of the day it was hot, the water was cold but clear and exhilarating! The guys came home with the mother load, the grandpa of grandpa lobsters, his family, a huge trigger fish, and a mackerel. The girls found a huge rock new to the area since the storm with over 30 lobsters hanging out! Today has been a superior day!
The wind is blowing, Viento Azul is rocking and rolling! Making way through the 9 o'clock Snake Creek draw bride as it is raising up to open our entrance into the sea in the Florida Keys. Stowing the last minute items, while making last repairs the wind continues blowing 25 knots, stirring the sea into milky white. We are motoring out the channel though the waves head on until we are able to make a point of sail! Many a thank you we send out to our chase boat with Jeff, Christi and our son Trevor for such a loving departure and picking up Captain Steve our friend and partner and to all who has been lending their hands to aid in the success of this mission .
We are sailing closed haul, pointing into the wind as close as we are able which is not necessarily the most comfortable point of sail. Foamy white rollers crashing about is our start as we head towards the Gulf Stream to cross over to Marsh Harbor Bahamas. Our mission is to serve those rebuilding from Hurricane Dorian. This is our third trip over since Dorian wreaked havoc, September 2019. We are a team of 7, Captain Ted, Gail , Robert , Ron, Caroline, Randy and Nancy. Along with us a team of 4 aboard Adonai with Captain Josh, Jamie, Lecia and Kaye. Captain Terry will be joining us later this week with his vessel filled with relief supplies.
The wind and sea calm as the day progresses brining relief from being joggled around. One solo friendly dolphin approaches us for a moment at lunch time and departs as quickly as she arrived! Our day continues well until a lobster pot grabs hold and steals the port prop off of S/V Adonai as we near Elliot Key and Pacific Light. It is now 4:30 p.m. and a decision is made to continue on course and have the necessary parts flown in when we change out team members in the Bahamas. Our speed is averaging between 5-8 knots. Our next way point is West End, Old Bahamas Village on Grande Bahama which is 110 miles away.
The wind has decreased and the sky is now a mixture of pastel grays forming a beautiful contrast against the now calm turquoise seas. The rain spits but never forms as our world is about to change again. As we pass over the reef into the deep blue of the Gulf Stream; the waves peak up and continue to rattle and drop our vessels through out the night.
Dinner time rolls around and working in the galley is a bit of a challenge. Eventually we get food to the table and prepare the ship before the dark of night takes over. We give special thanks to Cathy for prepping and preparing many meals prior to our departure, making our lives easier and delicious!
Team work is what makes for unity and a successful sail. Preparation for any mission plays an integral roll to execute and empower our ability to serve others. Our goal is to be available and present to others, to love and to encourage as we lend our hands in rebuilding efforts. Worship Sailing believes "We are at war against any thing that causes us to stumble and not live the full abundant life God calls us to."
The crossing has been more than exciting, as the wind continues blowing steady at 25. The horizon is dark and every so often you see a black mountain rise beneath the moon and stars. The erratic confused seas are difficult to see but easily felt. As dawn breaks we approach West End to our starboard side and Indian Caye to our port. Passing from the ocean through Indian Cut and down the channel to Little Bahama Banks is relief! Praise God!
The reflection of the shallow calm water is radiating in the richness of light turquoise, famous to the Bahamas, a beautiful sight! It is a gorgeous day with perfectly smooth sailing under a sunny sky. A few fish on the line bring excitement of a catch, two barracuda and a lizard fish, none are keepers.
Its 4:44 p.m. Veinto Azul position is 26.57 N : 78.13 W
As we near Grand Bahama Island and Great Sale Caye looking around we see the finger prints of Dorian. The vegetation is hurricane brown and tree limbs remain decorating parts of the harbor. We drop our anchor for the night. S/V Adonai glides in beside us to raft up for the night. There is time for a short explore before the sunsets. Hog prints and belly prints in the sand are evident on Great Sale Caye. Colorful vibrant purple and white scattered pieces of coral lay strewn about on the land. All the trees are leaning to the west, on the ground is a carpet of shredded vegetation, but shoots of green are starting to bust forth as the bushes and low lying trees survive such a tremendous blow from Dorian. On the floor of the shallow waters an abundance of sea fans are dancing to the motion of the sea. Life prevails. The sun is fading and all are now aboard Adonai and Viento Azul. We join together to share a meal, thank God, swap sea stories and have a good laugh before we all crash early for the night.
Good morning to a bucket of water in my berth! Someone decided to swab the deck before I arose. What a wake up call, I guess my team is jealous of my sleeping in! Now, I relate to Randy who had the same thing happen the other night while crossing the Gulf Stream. It is very important to dog your hatches when crossing high seas or washing the decks! Another day with bedding flying in the breeze like extra sails. All are in good spirits today with the sun out, seas calm and 50 miles to Marsh Harbor.
Our day is calm and relaxed. Stretching on the bow trampolines feels great after such a bouncy crossing. The calm water is soothing to your scrambled mind from going up and down, this way and that way. The fishing lines are trolling behind. Mr. Barracuda grabs the bait gives a good fight and then is released back to the sea. Mr. Mackerel however is not as blessed. He is now ready for the grill. As we close in on Fox Town Abaco, cell signal appears. Modern day sailing has its conveniences. We are traveling at 6 knots so Marsh Harbor is looking like later tonight . We will need to wait to check in and clear customs til the morning.
Tomorrow is another day with great promises, but today is the present, to be lived with each moment and every breath. So lets make the best of it, and bring glory to our Father in heaven with every word that we speak , every thought that we think, followed with every action that we take. Our faith is in a loving God, a good father who will direct our every step. Breath and Believe!
We are excited about the endless possibilities that become available when you step out in faith. The mystery of what lays ahead is an exciting adventure with endless opportunities to grow in your faith.
February 8th is our departure date for the Hurricane Dorian Mission Trip to Marsh Harbor Abaco, Bahamas. We will sail from Islamorada, Florida and we are looking to spend a total of three weeks in the Bahamas but have broken the trip up to best accommodate people and various schedules. Some people will sail over and fly back, fly in and sail back, or fly in and fly out. We are flexible and would love for you to join us whether it’s three days or three weeks!
Ted and I have spent four years in the Abaco Islands serving the Boy Scouts of America's High Adventure program based in Marsh Harbor. We believe it is time to encourage and lend our hands to the rebuilding efforts. Experiencing Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys, we know first-hand the struggles post hurricane. The media has stopped coverage and many organizations have pulled their relief efforts out of the Marsh Harbor area. The work has hardly begun and the spirit of the people is in need of rejuvenation.
The needs and avenues of relief work is great, we are excited to connect with passionate people like you to bring hope back to the Abaco Islands. The many needs are constantly changing so we are flexible in our mission vision.
We feel very moved to be spiritually present for the people. Their community is in shambles and many families are separated. The Spirit of God, expressed in love, is needed to strengthen and encourage the wonderful people.
Cleaning up hurricane debris and lending our hands to some construction projects will help bring hope that others care and those suffering from Hurricane Dorian are not forgotten.
On Dec 7, 2019 Ted and I flew in to Marsh Harbor Abaco three months after Hurricane Dorian ravished the community causing people to be displaced and separating families. Many homes are destroyed and those remaining are in a state of great disrepair. Businesses have been demolished as the storm decimated many areas of the community. The many challenges ahead are not without hope. There is an attitude of gratitude amongst the people knowing it could have been worse.
The Haitian population that remains is living in hiding or taking refuge in tent dwellings at the local church where they are protected from being deported. More people of the Haitian community have been found dead from Hurricane Dorian. They were recently found in underground dwelling places, just now being discovered by the authorities.
Despite the challenges ahead, business is starting to come to life. Taxi cabs with broken windshields, taped up windows, and windows of roofing paper are grateful to give you a ride. One truck passing by us had no windshield but was still operational!
Gas pumps are being rebuilt and Maxwells, the food store, is fully stocked. One Common Wealth bank has relocated inside Maxwells and is now open. The need for commerce and business to return is integral to the community’s well-being and rebuilding process. In Dundas Town just outside of Marsh Harbor, a barber shop has re-opened in a tent. The spirit and ingenuity of the Bahamas is coming forth. The government has contracted trucks and equipment for clean-up and employs many of the residents.
I asked a question while driving with Brenda our taxi driver who we have known through our time working in the Abaco Islands with the Boy Scouts of America. I asked, “If someone would walk up to you, what at this time would be the greatest gift you could receive?" Her answer was Ice & Water Shield, a quality peel-and-stick, waterproof roofing paper! She commented, "We don't need clothes. We need roofing material, shingles, plywood and beams because the plastic tarps are blowing off when the wind picks up. Families are separated but with the houses dried we would be able to camp in our homes as we put our lives back together."
Clean up is in process and progressing. At the airport the storage building has been organized and many containers are housing other goods. The roads are mainly clear while debris is being piled up on the side of the street. The schools are still closed but the government is at work repairing the structures so the children will be able to come home. I believe the greatest heartache is the separation of families. Michael the first person I met in September, when we were delivering Luci lights and other supplies after the storm, works at the airport. He escaped the storm during the eye of the hurricane and his home was completely destroyed. He was the first person I saw when landing in Marsh Harbor this time. Michael has been separated from his family the entire time. You can see in his eyes the pain he is feeling, yet his faith in God is strong. He takes life one day at a time.
The port is receiving containers but many containers are being help up in Freeport and Nassau making materials sparse for those who are able to rebuild. One hardware store is open but others remain as a pile of rubble stagnated. The marina district where the Mooring Charters fleet, the Boy Scouts of America operate, and home to the many seasonal cruisers is left untouched. It is a scattered lumber yard with boat parts, the remains of Keith’s dive shop, a dinghy or two, and a few green trees coming forth.
We met with Sandi the coordinator of World Central Kitchen while we were there. They are serving over 7,000 meals a day and delivering to strategic areas. They are partnering with many other organizations present. We have been welcomed to send volunteers to work with food preparation. Next we met Ki at All Hands and Hearts, an organization on the ground working to stabilize the community through clean-up. Their main mission is to rebuild the schools. With other organizations pulling out of Marsh Harbor, All Hands and Heart will continue in the community for another two years partaking in construction on homes in the community. We have also been welcomed to send a couple of day workers to join with them. Paperwork is required but can be filed onsite. For a large group to join there is a process of paperwork online that would need to be submitted. Water purification stations are set up around the island providing reverse osmosis drinking water. People are able to come with jugs and have them filled. Once a week there is a meeting with the government and the volunteer organizations to coordinate and plan the rebuilding efforts of the communities. The relief efforts of the large organizations are very impressive as they continue to work unified stabilizing the community.
The local church is very active. New Vision Church has been a rock to the community as a distribution station immediately after the storm and is still the headquarters and meeting center, ministering to the many needs. The effort is led by Lydia, a church member who weathered out the storm. The leadership is returning to the church and services are being held. They are also in the process of restarting Bible studies. The needs are constantly changing as rebuilding progresses and families slowly return. Lydia has been short-staffed and would love help restocking supplies at this time. The church facility has volunteered to be a school starting in January and the distribution center may no longer be in operation.
Flying into Marsh Harbor we were able to see the brown area caused by the hurricane slowly turn to green. To see the green of surviving plants is uplifting. Flying over the reef the water is now clear instead of the stirred up milky white post-storm. There is hope for the survival of the reef; some areas look alive while other areas look hurt and brown. Many of the boats that went aground during the storm are being salvaged and rebuilt while others remain on land and in the sea.
I would like to close with the words of a local. “God allowed this, so surely it will be for good.” The faith in a loving God who is good all the time continues to live in the Bahamas. Faith is what remains and faith is what is rebuilding.
You are invited to join us by faith to come along side our neighbors who are suffering from Hurricane Dorian. Our mission is one that will need to be flexible due to needs that are constantly changing so our faith will be our anchor.