Situation Report #4
Since the beginning of the year, "Jane" and her daughter have endured a season of grief and pain after losing several family members; they were hurting before Hurricane Dorian ever struck the Bahamas. In the midst of this grief, the look of disbelief becomes palpable as they acknowledge the tragic loss of several other family members to the rage of Dorian. Unfortunately, many Bahamians like Jane have endured trauma upon trauma and now find themselves with the overwhelming task of post-storm remediation as well -- facing the staggering rebuilding task and cost ahead of them. Then, there are stories like the little 3-year-old boy who shared his story with our team about having to stay in the attic of his house to avoid the rising floods. The trauma is truly overwhelming....
Hurricane Matthew struck several Caribbean nations in 2017, leaving behind a huge swathe of damage in its wake, including Freeport. Many stories of local survivors begin with the fact that they had not yet recovered from Matthew, and now Dorian. The despair found in these conditions is unavoidable, yet we’ve also witnessed the undaunted spirit of Jesus-followers smiling and worshipping through the pain.
Many HFI Reservists from across the U.S. have converged to bring compassionate action to this hard-hit area. Whether removing water-damaged household goods, soiled and tainted sheetrock and insulation, these trained responders do an outstanding job of providing comfort, hope, and help in a sensitive and effective manner. Being aware of the survivors' emotional and spiritual wellbeing is critical, and sets the tone for how we approach each aspect of the task. Precious memories and memorabilia are painstakingly sorted through, looking for the one or two special keepsakes that can be salvaged. The warm smile, many hugs, and profuse thanks are the reward received at the end of a demanding day. This, along with the knowledge that our service is an act of worship, is payment in full for our responders. HFI has also provided several tents for Rand Memorial Hospital -- hit hard by the hurricane. We are also collaborating with the hospital in an effort to provide medical personnel to relieve current care providers; thus, affording an opportunity to engage in their own recovery needs.
"Jane" is representative of countless Bahamians in need of a practical demonstration of God’s love -- expressed through tangible acts of compassionate service...the "ministry of presence" from people who have come from far distances to make a world of difference. To maximize our efforts, HFI is working with wonderful, local faith-based partners who are assisting with identifying, qualifying and prioritizing those we serve. HFI will continue to work on behalf of the people in the Bahamas as long as funding and manpower are available. We have made an appeal to all HFI Reservists, asking that they prayerfully consider participating in this important work.
HFI RESERVISTS: Please contact Connie if you are able to respond within the next several weeks.
Finally, would you consider joining us in making a world of difference for our Bahamian neighbors through your financial contribution?