“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, Will your anchor drift or firm remain?”
This classic hymn of assurance by Priscilla Jane Owens (1882), rang ever so true to me and perhaps the people of Grand Bahama and the Abacos, as we found ourselves in the worst hurricane storm ever recorded in the history of The Bahamas (September 1 – 3, 2019). Hurricane Dorian (category five) left no secrets in her path, as she wreaked havoc throughout the islands. Keeping watch, I sat in my chair, drenched knee deep in water; I felt the anguish of being separated from my family, due to the rising surge. I came face to face with my own mortality, and the mainstay of my spiritual anchor - the Christian hope that God is the steadfast anchor for my soul. I called on God’s sovereignty – God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. I surrendered my proclivity to know how this storm will manifest itself, and accepted God was in control. Consequently, I experienced a peace that defied human understanding in the midst of this raging tempest.
After two days, the all clear came. I was able to reunite with my family and subsequently, evaluated the damages of the sanctuaries (a partially new building of nine (9) years, along with the former sanctuary). Caravel Zion Baptist Church was about two and a half miles (2-1/2) in proximity to the island’s airport that reported water levels reaching six feet. The fierce atmospheric commotion left such destruction in the sanctuaries: this was the moment to “be still and know that the, I AM is God.” The stench of sulfur mixed with the smell of sea salt in the absence of the ocean made the sound of silence that much louder. When the account was settled, the praise report of no lives lost within the membership was a blessing. Nonetheless, we were all directly affected and saddened by the demise of so many loved ones and fellow countrymen.
As a result of Hurricane Dorian, collectively both sanctuaries sustained an estimated one hundred and seventy five thousand ($175,000) dollars worth of damages (interior, exterior, musical instruments, electrical fixtures, sound system, A.C. units etc.). Despite our best efforts and sacrifices, our membership of two hundred (200) would require three (3) to five (5) years of time’s bounteousness to complete the repairs. In spite of our need for more time, lack of financial resources, and shortage of reconstruction workers: our God of the Impossible made all things Possible! I am grateful to report, because of your benevolence - the South Carolina Baptist churches (assigned by the Baptist Global Response Organization to work with Caravel Zion Baptist Church): we are presently seventy five percent (75%) completed. To God be the glory, great things He has done! There are not enough words to express our sincere appreciation for your sacrifices and labor of love.
Moreover, thanks to your charity and commitment to show the love of Christ in action (the South Carolina Baptist Convention established a special relief fund that provided all of the materials for the repairs): the officers and members of Caravel Zion Baptist Church were blessed. For this reason, we are able to assemble ourselves together because our house of worship is being restored; there is a place we can now go for the healing of our souls. In the same manner, I am overjoyed to account that your humanitarian efforts extended beyond Caravel Zion Baptist Church: other members in the community not affiliated with our church, but joined by your love to exemplify Christ were able to receive roofing repairs (five families).
In addition, we are grateful for the leadership and meekness of Brother Mike Wallace (Project Manager) and Brother Wayne Lake (Construction Coordinator), and their hardworking team members (skilled artisans of men and women – six Cohorts since January 2020), graciously shared their time and expertise. However, it was their authentic fellowship and demonstration of how Christ showed love to the broken hearted that will leave an edible mark on our lives.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” -Matthew 9: 37-38
The breathlessness of a sunrise, as it signals the arrival of joy that comes in the morning, cannot compare to how filled we are with elation and appreciation to you, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our gratitude extends beyond the human imagination; and our love is as deep as the oceans between us; but there is no distance in our prayers.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. - Hebrew 6:10
We have an anchor that keeps the soul! Peace and many blessings!
Pastor Mack A Duncanson
Caravel Zion Baptist Church (Freeport, Grand Bahama)