Adventist Church Offers Aid to TCI in the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Adventist Church Offers Aid to TCI in the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma
ATCU Communication Department

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Between September 6 and 10, 2017, Irma, a category-5 hurricane, passed through the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and the southern Bahamas, two countries within the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) with fury and left many residents displaced.

Before the storm’s passage through the islands, the administration of the ATCU, the organizational body that oversees the work of the Adventist church in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, along with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) were proactive in sourcing supplies and coordinating relief efforts.

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After the nerve-wracking ordeal, Pastor Smith, president of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission (TCIM), and his wife, Lynn, gave thanks to Almighty God. “There was damage to our home, but it was nothing compared to what others had suffered,” said Pastor Smith as he along with several volunteers from the Adventist Church in the Turks and Caicos Islands, many of whom had suffered damage as well, sprang into action to help those affected by Irma.

A delegation comprised of persons from the South Bahamas Conference (SBC) and the ATCU flew in to Providenciales to assess the damage done by Hurricane Irma and to give assistance.
Pastor Leonard Johnson, ATCU president; Pastor Peter Kerr, ATCU executive secretary; Elder Roderick Sands, ATCU treasurer; Pastor Leonardo Rahming, ADRA and Sabbath School director; and Pastor Kent Price, personal ministries, stewardship, and youth director, visited and prayed with persons in TCI. In the few hours that they were able to spend in the battered country, they stopped by a number of homes to assure members that the church had heard of and seen the devastation and would be working on continued assistance until their lives are returned to normalcy.

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Elders Anthony Burrows and Winston Ash from SBC presented a donation on behalf of SBC to president Smith, committing to solidarity during these challenging times.

On the way back to the Bahamas, the delegation stopped in Inagua, one of the islands in the southern Bahamas that also experienced damage due to Irma. Even though there was some damage, the delegation observed, as they drove around the island visiting members and non-members alike, that the spirits of the islanders were high.

The team was encouraged by the positive spirit of the community members of both TCI and Inagua who were praising God for being spared and were ready to rebuild.

Residents of TCI as well as the Bahamas are now bracing for another monster hurricane, Maria, heading their way. The entire membership of ATCU joins in prayer, asking God for protection as Maria heads to the islands of the Caribbean.

Hurricane Joaquin Wreaks Havoc in the Southern Bahamas

Hurricane Joaquin Wreaks Havoc in the Southern Bahamas
John Garcia, Communications Department, ATCU

During Thursday, October 1 and Friday, October 2, 2015,hurricane Joaquin wreaked havoc for hours on the southern islands of The Bahamas. Within two days, the storm strengthened from a mere tropical depression to a category four hurricane, while remaining almost in the same geographical position. Some of the islands affected significantly are Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, and San Salvador.
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As she described her horrific experience of riding through hurricane Joaquin, Mrs. Patronella Barr, wife of Pastor Howard Barr, the resident pastor of the Adventist church district of Crooked Island and Acklins (two of the hardest hit islands), exclaimed, “God is good, God is good!”. While the storm intensified on that Thursday morning, and sounds of raging water, breaking glass, and wood snapping became louder and more frequent, they quickly realized that their home would not be able to withstand the raging storm. Led by her husband, in the midst of the storm, they had to abandon their home and accept the invitation of their neighbors, the Gibsons, whose home at the time was withstanding the strong winds and heavy rain.

Within a short time, all those sheltering in the Gibsons’ home, which included two infants, a toddler, and an elderly lady with an amputated leg, had to keep going higher and higher until they had to resort to the highest place in the single story Crooked Island home, the ceiling.

“My body is aching from sitting for hours in that ceiling,” said Mrs. Barr. “I was praying to God that the water didn’t rise to the ceiling because if we had to break through the roof, I think we would all die.” Patronella was much more concerned about the children, and she cried out to God to have mercy on the children.
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After hours in the ceiling, help came when neighbors used a boat in the 5 feet deep water to rescue them. As they got a glimpse of the damage, all they could have done was to give God thanks for spared lives.

Clinton Scavella, the head elder of the Landrail Point Seventh-day Adventist Church, invited a number of community members to live in his home with his family as they awaited relief. On the Friday, Pastor Barr brought everyone together to welcome the Sabbath. They sang songs of praise, read scripture and praised almighty God for His mercy toward them.

On Monday evening, Patronella and a few others were evacuated to the capital city of Nassau by British rescue marines. Grateful for God’s mercy, Mrs. Barr is gathering relief supplies to ship to those remaining on the devastated islands.
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In addition to personal donations of cash and kind collected and dispatched, the Adventist church officially gave five Yamaha generators and Five Thousand dollars ($5,000) as an initial contribution towards the relief efforts and will continue to give support as the needs are assessed. Three of the generators were shipped to Crooked Island, Long Island, and San Salvador.

Pastor Leonard Johnson, Pastor Peter Kerr, and Elder Roderick Sands, administrators of the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission (The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands), contacted persons in the disaster areas throughout the weekend after the hurricane struck. They are working together with Pastor Paul Scavella, president of the South Bahamas Conference, and his administration in giving support and assistance to the Adventist community and anyone else in distress. “We recognize the urgency of the need, and we also want to identify with the government agencies that are providing assistance hence the donation of $5,000.00 towards this end,” Pastor Johnson said.
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Pastor Paul Scavella and a team of church administrators travelled to the southern Bahamas on Tuesday, October 6, to assess the situation first hand so as to effectively continue the relief efforts. The South Bahamas Conference is presently engaged in the Good News Gospel Explosion with Evangelist Claudius Morgan, under the big tent in the capital city of Nassau. Each night since the storm, both the evangelist and the administrators of the conference made appeals to the members to give financially and to bring water and non-perishable items for the hurricane relief efforts. The first shipment of relief items were sent to the islands affected on Monday, October 5, 2015.
In his appeal, after returning from visiting Crooked Island, Pastor Paul Scavella reported on the continued relief efforts by SBC. Teams of volunteers, including the Adventist men, Mastertguides, VBA (Volunteer Adventist Bahamas) and others will be mobilized over the coming days and weeks to assist with the repairs of the homes in the affected areas. The Adventist community in the entire Atlantic Caribbean Union region is continuing to collect items and to give financially for the hurricane relief and to bring hope to those residents in the central and south Bahamas.

ATCU Participates in IAD ADRA Meetings

By: Andrew Burrows/Communications Department


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During January 15 - 19, 2013, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) of the Inter-American Division (IAD) conducted its fourth Donor Forum since 1999. The meetings, which were held at the IAD’s headquarters in Miami, FL, brought together ADRA donors, ADRA union directors, respective ADRA board chairpersons, and union presidents within the IAD. Read More...