Caravel Zion Baptist
Story by Wayne Lake
It was September 1, 2019, I found myself watching the weather channel as the eye of a category 5 Hurricane Dorian had passed over Great Abaco Island with winds of 185 mph. The next day the hurricane stalled over Grand Bahama Island for another day before finally pulling away. My heart sank and it brought back vivid memories of the night when Hurricane Hugo made landfall near Charleston S.C. As a young firefighter and on duty that night as the sun began to rise I saw a very different Charleston than existed the day before.
As I continued to watch the progress of Dorian, I began to pray for all the people that were in harm’s way and made a commitment to God that if he needed me to help in the recovery effort just to simply open the door. Open the door he did when the phone ring and Mike Wallace, the Director of Missions for the York Baptist Association was on the phone. “I have a question,” Mike said, you want to help with the recovery effort in Freeport?” I stated I would love to and the rest is history, as they say.
I was a member of the first team on the ground. We were six strangers that soon became dear friends. It was one month post-Dorian and our assignment was to remove the damaged drywall and mold from Caravel Zion Baptist Church. The building had been flooded by 4-and-a-half feet of water during the hurricane. At the end of a very productive week, I requested of Pastor Mack Duncanson with Caravel that he arrange a tour of the east end of the Island. Freeport sustained wind and flood damage however Pelican Point and McLean Town endured the storm surge of an estimated 20-plus foot wall of water and the highest sustained winds. Major flooding and structural damage had occurred in this area and in several places only the concrete foundations remained. Never in my life have I experienced anything of this magnitude. It was simply heartbreaking.
After several trips back to Freeport coordinating the construction effort, I began to build relationships with many of the Bahamian people. The day before the storm struck, the Island life was good for these people, but now had been turned upside down by no fault of their own. Many had lost so much, however their spirit is so sweet and gentle. Their faith in God is extremely strong. Their hope is enduring and their love for the American people is quite refreshing. I have been touched by so many but the outpouring of love shown to all the teams by the Caravel family is incredible. They insisted on preparing dinner for the teams each night, even though many have so little.
The focus of our recovery effort was on the church building. The thought process was that the Church family knows best the needs of the community. We have now started to repair roofs and replace drywall for senior adult members of Caravel. The need is great and will continue for quite some time but I am very encouraged by the progress I see being made. I can’t thank everyone that has been involved with this effort. I ask only that you continue to remember them in your prayers.
"For even to son of Man did not come to be served, but to give His life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:45