Bahamas Missions Trip - Blog #2
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,