Atlantic Caribbean Union


Surviving Hurricane Dorian

Surviving Hurricane Dorian
By ATCU Communication Department

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-03 at 9.22.45 AM
“My heart is full,” said Sherrell Taylor, a resident of Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, as she tried to describe her experience during Hurricane Dorian while still at the residence of the Women’s Ministries Director, Mrs. Arlene Sands to which she had to evacuate.
Hurricane Dorian traveled north from the vicinity of Puerto Rico and gained strength as it turned towards the northern Bahamas, approaching the Island of Abaco as a category 4 storm and strengthening to a category 5. It devastated the Islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama for most of Sunday, September 1 and Monday, September 2, 2019.
Residents who were directly on the coast and in low-lying areas were instructed to evacuate, but Sherrell had never experienced flooding in her neighborhood and decided to ride out the storm at home with her family. “Even during previous storms, my area has never flooded,” said Sherrell.
However, while looking outside as the storm approached, she was amazed and shocked as she saw the waters rising around her house. “I only had a few seconds to pack a small bag, put on proper clothing and shoes, and make a run in the monster winds.”
Sherrell and her family were able to get in her car and flee to the Sands residence from which she described her ordeal on Monday evening, September 1. “I still have family on the other side of the island asking to be evacuated,” she said. “But, as night falls evacuation efforts have come to a halt.”
Persons have been asking to be evacuated from 7:00 a.m., and up to sunset the overwhelmed evacuation teams have not been able to get to some. Many persons are still unaccounted for and even the structures of some of the shelters have been compromised. The Freeport and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches were both used as shelters during hurricane Dorian. The level of damage sustained by these structures is unknown at this time, but all those who sought shelter there are reported to be safe.
The administration of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) and the sister conferences of the North Bahamas Conference are all monitoring the situation and mobilizing efforts and resources to be able to bring relief to those affected by Dorian as soon as the all clear is given by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Pastor Peter Kerr, president of ATCU, has been in contact with as many persons as possible in Grand Bahama and Abaco in order to better mobilize efforts after the passing of the storm. “We are always extremely concerned about our brothers and sisters affected during the passage of storms. We pray and ask for God’s intervention, and we also bring relief to the physical needs of the members and residents,” stated Pastor Kerr.
Pastor Henry Moncur III, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Director of ATCU, though personally affected by Dorian as he is a resident of Grand Bahama, is in close communication with ADRA International in efforts to bring relief and support after the passage of the storm.
“To be honest, I can’t put words to this whole ordeal. It’s surreal and emotional, but even when things are bad, God is still good,” said Sherrell.
Please continue to pray for the residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco in the Bahamas, and please contact a local Adventist Church or conference to find out how you can assist with donations.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.