• Pastor Kristina Hansen

After our sobering trip out east we met with the Bishop and two people - Joy and Therese working closely with him - to discuss the next steps of recovery they were planning and how the new info of the last few days had helped to sculpt it. 

The initial scope will be for 25-30 homes in need of repairs - No rebuild - it appears BMH may focus on rebuilds. Tom shared information regarding tracking mechanisms and the benefits of coordinated efforts, including descriptions of important roles that lent to success of the hurricane Sandy Recovery. This was well received. 





I am reminded how the Bishop shared on the first night how - as the storm bore down on the islands -  he began to write letters - dozens of them - reaching out to the Connection.  I am impressed by his foresight to reach wide, rather than contract and try to "handle it" on his own. I admire his tenacity. Having said that, all 3 seem very weary. 

At 6 o'clock we were back for our final session - putting it all together and bringing some of it into reality rather than theory. 

What had been amazing this week has been the synergy of press releases,  NGO meetings (both suddenly scheduled and by happenstance), and government meetings which culminated in a far more robust 3 sessions then could have been anticipated. 

Again, over 60 people attended this meeting. Given that upon arrival in Freeport we were expecting only around 8-10 people and just from one church, we ended up having many churches,  different denominations, NGOS, government, radio - it was more than we could have imagined.  

The new level of knowledge, combined with new information in a room full of competent and capable people made for an excellent final meeting.  Hopeful.  God was in the effort.  The Holy Spirit was in the room! The Body of Christ recognized a wider expression of itself than we normally might. 

Friday morning was an o' dark thirty wake up.  We left Grand Bahama flying out in front of a storm to Nassau. From Nassau to JKF. From JKF to Tom and Wendy's car in long term parking and the SHOCK of the cold. From there to Metro North in Mamaroneck, change in Stamford. Will be home soon. 

Much to think about and digest. Much to share.  Thank you for your prayers! See you soon.  Can't wait! Blessings on the journey, 

PK

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  • Pastor Kristina Hansen


Thursday morning we took a ride to the east end of the island.  If someone local asked us where we went, we would have said, "over the bridge" and they would have nodded gravely - the bridge being the delineation between devastation and total devastation. Over the bridge was a new level of sobering.




While out there, we spoke with a couple who had hired a surveyer to delineate their property lines - where their house used to be.  It is the house that they grew up in, next to 7 other homes and behind the restaurant they all ate at. We had to use our imagination. The community would have continued on the other side of the only edifice still standing. The others all agreed to have their totalled houses razed, but one man felt like his could be salvaged. They, and we, were doubtful. 

Further beyond where the other houses would have been was the gorgeous ocean. I walked out to it; the beach is gone. And even on this beautiful sunny day, the wind was powerful. It would have been frightening during the storm.  Thankfully this neighborhood all evacuated.  They lost everything material; a lifetime of memories and daily fixtures that ground our lives.  But they were alive - a reason for them to be thankful. 

The woman expressed frustration with going from agency to agency registering for aid and getting promises,  yet 5 months later, no results.  They said they didn't have many resources,  but they would use what they had and ever so slowly make inroads on their own. Just one example of why a coordinated approach to recovery is paramount.  They also said that going to church each week gave them what they needed to hold onto hope.

I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. 

Will follow with one final installment regarding our final session of our 3 day conference. 

Blessings on the journey, 

PK

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  • Pastor Kristina Hansen

Our evening meetings have been profound.  3 hour meetings from 6-9 pm; nobody wanted breaks.  We sailed right through with animated and impassioned discussions, hearing powerful witnesses of resilience and hope even though so many have lost their homes. Hosted by St. Paul's Methodist, all 60+ gathered are generously sent home each night with "a light refreshment" of a sandwich, granola bar, fruit, slice of carrot cake, and beverage. Bishop Theophilus Rolle has been our host each night. 


NIGHT 1: Pastor Tom led us in a basic Disaster Response Training called  “In the cycle of a disaster: Readiness, Rescue, Relief, Recovery, Review”- The Bahamas are often caught in the Rescue and Relief cycles because of the annual hurricane seasons. This training was particularly helpful to those gathered. The fatigue being experienced in the Relief phase had been profound because of the catastrophic level of Hurricane Dorian. One major challenge is the massive scope of Recovery needed. Other challenges include the lack of coordination of recovery efforts, which BMH is trying to address, disconnects and animosity toward government agencies, getting resources into the islands... and on and on - with another hurricane season looming just months from now. 

The most pointed question of the night was well into the evening when one woman asked, "Why wasn't a coordinated system of Disaster Response put in place years ago after (other significant) hurricanes?" To which Pastor Stephanie and the rest of us said, "We can't answer that question." I am just so grateful this knowledge and the opportunity it offers is here now.   I say again, there has been such resilience in the room and a desire on behalf of all the churches gathered to provide support to their communities - even as families among them have been particularly effected with substantial to total damage.  But I worry for their fatigue. Recovery will take years. 

NIGHT 2 was appropriately dedicated to Disaster Spiritual and Emotional Care. This part was led by Pastor Wendy with our full team chiming in at intervals with our various aspects of knowledge and experience.


Again the participation was lively and the conundrum as I began to realize is - How do people become the Care Givers when they too are survivors in need of care receiving? This is a bit different than the Compassion fatigue that an unaffected Care Giver outside the disaster zone experiences. 

The ministry of presence is profound with disaster survivors and our conversation called some to further pursue this skill.  Perhaps some of you have? Or will? In my next post, I will share with you our journey out to the heavily devastated area on the far end of Grand Bahama. 

Blessings on the journey,

PK

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