In the wake of the loss of lives and devastation left behind by the monstrous Hurricane Dorian, Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) president Bishop Delton Fernander urges Bahamians across the country to find a church this weekend to thank God for keeping them in the midst of the storm. He said the God that allowed the storm is the God that kept His people in the storm.
“Sometimes we kind of think that because we’re Christians that bad things don’t happen to us, but the Bible assures us that He’s a very present help in a time of trouble,” said Fernander. “He was there in the storm, and He will be there after the storm. And He will keep us.”
As of Wednesday night, seven people were confirmed dead as a result of the passage of Hurricane Dorian through Abaco and Grand Bahama, with winds having peaked at 185 miles per hour (mph) and gusts over 220 mph.
“When the winds kept increasing, I was really mindful that this might be the worst we had ever seen before, and my job as president was really to keep us more than our faith, and challenge the country to be prayerful to do all they could in preparation – evacuate … do everything we could – but at the end of the day, this [hurricane] took us to a place where we need to find our spiritual level. When we can’t do anything physically, we must turn it over spiritually to God,” said the BCC president.
“There’s a lot of things we don’t understand – heartaches, the loss of life – but we must trust God, and that He is still in charge.”
He also said the BCC has mobilized and is ready to help.
“For the long haul, we’ll be working behind the scenes, because this is our country.”
From Tuesday, he said, Council members have been on the ground and working, with two shipments of water and food expected to be dropped in Abaco and Grand Bahama, from Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. It’s an initiative, he said, that will be led by Bishop Neil C. Ellis, presiding bishop for Global United Fellowship, and senior pastor at Mount Tabor Church.
Fernander said they are trying to figure out the logistics of getting the aid into the islands.
According to the Samaritan’s Purse website, the organization has airlifted over 30 tons of emergency items and more than a dozen disaster relief team specialists to The Bahamas. The organization’s September 4 airlift included materials for temporary shelter, household water filters, and two community filtration units that turn salt water into drinking water.
President of Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, on the site, called for people to join him in praying for everyone affected by the hurricane.
“Families in The Bahamas are suffering, and millions of others are bracing for Dorian’s impact as the storm continues to move. Please join me in praying for everyone affected by this hurricane, and for our teams as we respond in Jesus’ name.”
Once given access to damaged areas, Samaritan’s Purse volunteers will assist with clearing debris and downed trees, tarping roofs, and cleaning out flooded homes. In addition to disaster relief units (stocked tractor-trailers), supply trailers and heavy equipment are also on standby, according to the Samaritan’s Purse website.
The BCC president also said that the faith-based Operation Hope has also committed to sending supplies. The initiative, he said, will be led by Pastor Mario Moxey in terms of coordinating with the government and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as far as logistics and paperwork.
Minutes after he spoke with The Nassau Guardian, he was scheduled to meet with the Baptists, to hash out a way forward and said he was flying out on the weekend to the Baptist General Convention to make an appeal for what is needed in The Bahamas.
Fernander said the Caribbean Israel Alliance has also reached out to them to send two rapid assessment teams to the country which are expected in today.
“We will facilitate them being allowed in the rapid assessment if that is allowed by the government. They have already promised water and will have a water supply that does not need power, that can take some of the brackish water and turn it into pure water.”
The BCC chief said a group of Florida pastors is also gathering goods on behalf of The Bahamas.
“So, for the next three weeks, we will have a substantive amount of supplies being sent to The Bahamas through faith-based organizations. The Council is facilitating that in trying to make a difference in our country.”
The Christian Council chief said goodwill is being expressed.
“Christian Councils are worldwide, and they are responding, as we would have responded to their disaster. And we’re going to do our very best to help rebuild our country,” he said.
After it’s all said and done, Fernander plans to lead two services of healing and prayer; one in Abaco and one in Grand Bahama, but which, he said, would happen after a good bit of the recovery has taken place. And while he encourages people to pray and visit a church of their choosing, he said it would be useless holding the services he has planned during the recovery efforts.