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Dorian Relief Update

Blue Water Surrender is grateful for all your generous support! The love being extended to those suffering is a beautiful witness of God living in the heart of mankind. Hope is here! Your love and compassion are bringing healing and life.

In the darkest of times in our lives, there will be light as we look to the light of the world, Jesus our Savior.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

There is a story behind the story which is being created in this very moment. Hurricane Irma, a savage storm herself two years ago, brought Ted, myself, Steve and Carmen to Tortola. We had purchased two catamarans that were damaged in the storm. Seven months after the storm, water and electricity were still scarce on the island. Our Luci solar light became one of our greatest treasures. Every day, placing our Luci in the sun ensured a much-needed lamp to our feet during the dark hours of the night. In February 2016 on the island of Tortola, the concept for 1000 lights for the Abacos was born.

I love the plan and purpose God has for his people. The combined efforts of many have made it possible for 1000 Luci solar lanterns to be flown into Marsh Harbor, Abaco, along with many other supplies to bring light into the darkness.

We are grateful to those who sent God’s Word to be a lamp to the spirit. Man is made body, mind, and spirit. Relief efforts bring aid to house the body, consolers to reach the mind, and the word of God to build and heal the spirit which has also taken an assault deep within the person. All parts are of equal value and in need of care for a person to be whole.

The stories and photos of the last two weeks have been heartbreaking. It is hard to imagine what the people of the Bahamas have been going through spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Abaco was home to Ted and me for four years. We were living aboard our catamaran while serving at Bahama Sea Base, a Boy Scouts of America high adventure program. During this time, we became part of the community along with the other Sea Base Captains and crew. The beauty of the Abacos is astounding and her people gentle and kind.

It is sad to see such a beautiful community suffering and hearing the stories of the sea overtaking the islands and the winds destroying homes. Many people remain in Marsh Harbor working to rebuild their lives, homes, and island. The relief coming in from all directions brings tears to your heart from the over whelming love as one human family.

Flying into Marsh Harbor, the color of the bay was hurricane brown, bringing back memories of our Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma, which now, two years later, is bright and green. We are grateful to our friends who donated the use of their Navajo which has allowed us to bring more supplies.

Our landing was smooth with the three of us aboard, Shane Wiebe, Ted Gordon and myself stuffed in with the many supplies. The tarmac was filled with planes and helicopters all carrying supplies. We arrived and were met by Michael, an airport worker in a golf cart. He made it though the storm with his family. They had to leave their house during the eye of the storm. The pressure from the storm was building up, causing the house to eventually collapse. On our way to customs and immigration, we saw Captain Bruce, a friend from Sea Base. Sadly, he lost his beautiful catamaran. The destruction of storms may steal homes, boats, business and cars, but when a life remains, there is reason to rejoice. Eventually, we made our way into the still-standing immigration and customs office. The facility now has running water and lights, and is home to Samaritan’s Purse, Rubicon, Hands and Hearts, and many other organizations.

Shane was networking and found us transportation with Terrence. His pickup truck survived, but his business as a marine mechanic was taken by the sea. Fuel was an issue, so Shane went over to the plane and drained some AV gas out of our tanks to get the truck back on the road. Loaded up and squashed in again, we were off.

We met Clam, a helicopter pilot from Nassau, who has been delivering relief to remote areas. The Haitian community has been hiding out in these areas in fear of being deported. We were so grateful to be able to send lights out into these hard-to-reach pockets of people.

Leaving the airport was more brown, but mixed in were some green pine survivors! Entering Marsh Harbor, the destruction worsened as we neared the water’s edge. We saw the pile of sticks and debris which was once the community of Mudd. The water had risen up to the roofs of these houses, and one man we met saw a woman and child on the roof. The water had risen before the winds came, so he was going to make a rescue in his boat. Unfortunately, a wave came. Their are many other painful memories from the storm. Many men are outdoors, chipping away at the hard work ahead. We started distributing the lights needed for after sunset, along with hats donated by Sea Base, giving shade from the sun beating down on bare heads. The rumor was out that gas would be at the gas station soon, so this was ideal for handing out flat tire kits, an item highly desired.

The spirit of God was apparent in those whom we met. Many have left the island, and those who have remained are strong, praising God with grateful hearts, knowing they will rebuild better. They were so happy to receive the Bibles which were donated. It is beautiful to see, through the storm of life, faith which is bringing new life. God is a good God, despite what we see with our eyes. As we look through and push deeper, love will be found.

After town, we arrived at New Vision Church, which is becoming a distribution hub. Here one of the church members, Lydia, has taken up command and is leading many to join in bringing aid to the community. Their church is now secure, and they are going out in teams to help other churches recover and become further distribution centers. They are setting up accommodations for teams to come and help rebuild, cooking during the day to feed the workers and those who come by for help.

Organizations and people from all over the world are joining forces. As people and groups connect, plans are being implemented for future rebuilding efforts. If you are interested in serving, Blue Water Surrender will be sailing over and staying for an extended period of time to come along side our neighbor. Email bluewatersurrender@me.com for “Abaco Mission Work” to join our team.

In the disaster and aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the light of Christ manifesting in the hearts of people is shining bright.

Gail Gordon

Director Blue Water Surrender