I have friends in the Bahamas. At a former church, we developed a relationship with an organization called Methodist Bahamas Habitat. It was led, at the time, by a young man I had known since he was a 7th grader, Abraham McIntire. Their mission was to help rebuild homes that had sustained storm damage—and in the Bahamas such damage was frequent. One of the lessons we learned there was that the roof we were repairing might not last a year. But what we were mostly doing was building relationships.
A Once in a Lifetime Storm
Then came Dorian. A Category 5 hurricane that decided to sit right on top of Abaco and Grand Bahama for basically two days. 185 mile an hour winds. The destruction was immense.
Most people don’t know much about the Bahamas…
Quick quiz: How many islands make up the Bahamas?
Did you guess 5? 10? 20? The Bahamas are an archipelago of some 700 islands—most of them uninhabited. And they stretch across a fairly large swath of the Caribbean. Methodist Bahamas Habitat is headquartered on the island of Eleuthera. They received minimal damage because they were some 80 miles north of Abaco. Nassau was also spared a direct hit.
As of this writing, there are 10 confirmed dead, but there are upwards of 2,500 persons still missing and so this death count will continue to rise. And then the process of rebuilding will begin. Most experts believe that it will take two to three years to rebuild. Others believe it will be longer.
What We Can Do
Our friends at Bahamas Methodist Habitat figure to play a large role by hosting groups from all over to come and help with the rebuilding. They will serve as a staging area to assist their fellow Bahamians. We may look to put a team together to go there. Would that interest you? If so, please let me know by contacting the office or sending me an email.
Otherwise, the best thing any of us can do right now is to send donations. I suggest you do that through our own United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR). Because of our conference apportionments, every dollar donated for such a disaster goes for 100% relief. Very few organizations can make that claim.