A week after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, a group of Alliance disaster coordinators arrived in Nassau. Their first stop was Chapel on the Hill, an Alliance church Eunice’s father helped plant in 1971.
Today Eunice and her husband, Edison, a Bahamian pastor, have ministered on the islands for more than 40 years.
The Fury of a Category 5 Hurricane
“On September 1, 2019, we went through the worst nightmare ever—Dorian,” Eunice writes. “We spent much time huddled in the bathroom, covering our ears that popped from the pressure. And we prayed!”
The couple hunkered in a church apartment on Man-O-War Cay, a small northern island. The home lost shingles, shutters, and a window. After two days of rain and wind, they discovered the staggering devastation Dorian left behind.
On Man-O-War Cay every home was damaged. Of the three churches on the island, one was leveled and the other two had roofs blown off.
The couple left the island by boat 5 days later with 30 people, 9 dogs, and 2 cats. At the Nassau dock, they were greeted with food, drinks, hugs, and tears. They soon contacted their family and friends who were safe but without homes, businesses, and jobs.
A youth pastor renting Eunice’s duplex in Marsh Harbour took in 47 people during the storm. Windows blew in, walls blew down, and portions of the roof blew off. A 10-foot water surge stirred below the house, and they tragically saw people swept away trying to reach their house for safety.
The youth pastor is now without a home or job, like thousands of others.
“This is not going to be a typical storm response of helping clear homes of mud and water,” says Tom Olney, disaster coordinator with The Alliance Southeast. “People will have to create new lives, find new jobs, make new homes, enroll in new schools, and start over.”
Tom and the team of coordinators spent their time in Nassau with Pastor Nathan Wells of Chapel on the Hill Church and Pastor Kenel Marcellin of Kemp Road Alliance Church, a Haitian congregation. Thousands of evacuees have arrived in Nassau and hundreds remain in shelters.
While visiting a shelter, the team learned the story of a father who had his hands tightly clenched. Aid workers, thinking his hands were injured, asked if he was OK. “I just need to hold on to my son,” he told them. His son wasn’t there; he had been swept away in the storm.
Strong Need for Christ-based Trauma Counseling
The local churches, CAMA, and The Alliance Southeast District plan to come alongside evacuees with counseling teams to help victims process their loss. Your gifts make this possible.
Pastor Nathan has a great burden for the children and youth left traumatized. Pastor Kenel is burdened to help Haitian evacuees who need medical care.
Together we can support these Alliance pastors, their congregations, and other local churches as they show mercy and compassion to their communities.