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The following is an article by Pastor Leonard A. Johnson, as a part of his Ministerial Weekly Note to pastors on September 29, 2017. It was also published in the Nassau Guardian on September 28, 2017. Pastor Johnson is the president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventist which consists of following countries: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.
We Must be Willing to Help Others
While viewing a touching story on MSNBC News, on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, I was moved to write this piece. The report told of a police officer or fire fighter (not recalling which) from New York who became restless after not hearing from his relatives living in a remote area in the hills in Puerto Rico. Consequently, he and some of his colleagues traveled to Puerto Rico and made their trek up the hills in search of his relatives. On his journey, he encountered downed trees and electrical poles, and after much effort and danger, he eventually reached the location. With the camera rolling, it was a moving experience as he found his relatives apparently well. They embraced one another for the longest, no doubt grateful for life. He would later learn that they had sufficient food supplies for another week. Imagine if he had not risked the trip what could have eventually happened?
Bringing Out the Best
As I recall the efforts of the government in evacuating people and networking with churches, the Red Cross, and the private sector, it is obvious that they touched and impacted so many people in a positive way. In such circumstances, people go beyond the call of duty by becoming their brother’s keepers without any thought of remuneration or praise. I vividly recall such selflessness in a visit to Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands a few weeks ago. There were two church sisters assisted by other church members, mainly young people, helping their church in reaching the community with necessary tarps, clothing, and food.
Then, while on an assessment tour to Inagua with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and his team, I again witnessed a caring disposition in the driver who transported several of us as we visited the Morton Salt Company and other areas of the island. He essentially epitomized many others on the island. The same was found in Mayaguana, another island of the Bahamas in the south. Also, there were numerous police and defense force officers who met us at the airports and without showing any signs of a “breakdown,” displayed courage and strength in describing to us what it felt like in the hurricane and how they were helping residents to return to a state of normalcy. Kudos to the pilots and operators who made their aircrafts available to assist the government.
Vulnerability of Our Country
The sites of Barbuda; Key West, Florida; Puerto Rico; Dominica; and Ragged Island, the Bahamas really brought home the vulnerability of our country as it could be decimated at any moment. The stark reality that our houses, in mere minutes, could be reduced to rubble with everything dear to us lost has registered clearly in my mind. These recent catastrophes clearly underscore that we are that close to destruction or death. This in itself ought to prevent us from worshiping transitory things and motivate us to be forever grateful for each day for life and our relationship with God.
We Must be Willing to Help Others
Additionally, recent events should remind us to be caring and supportive of one another. I do support the local Christian Council in standing by the side of the government to help the people of Dominica by allowing some of its students to relocate to the Bahamas to be accommodated in public and private schools for a period of time. I am mindful that some may have opposed the gesture because of a lack of information. But, now that information has been provided by the Bahamian government, we as Bahamians should help our Caribbean brothers and sisters because it is the right thing to do. Let us remember that the hurricane season is still upon us and until it closes, we have to bear in mind that there may come a hurricane that wreaks such havoc on our dear Bahamaland that we, too, would be declared 50% uninhabitable or worse. How would we fare if others chose not to come to our aid? Yes, it will inconvenience us for a period, but inconvenience may also lead to some untold blessings. May God help us and our brothers and sisters on the other island nations around us!
2016 South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.