Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8)
Sixteen of our youth and adults heard the call to serve over spring break and headed to Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas, to do home repairs. Eleuthera, although very beautiful, is a extremely poor island. Several homes do not have adequate plumbing and many are in desperate need of repairs.
We began our journey in Nassau at St. Michael’s United Methodist Church on Palm Sunday. This was our first encounter with Bahamian hospitality. When we arrived (one and half hours later than expected) Reverend Stubbs and his wife picked us up from the airport and brought us to their church. They had sixteen air mattresses and beds ready for us. The next morning we were invited to attend service and their Palm Sunday parade. After service, we gathered outside the sanctuary, received our palms, and paraded throughout the community with the congregation and a marching band. After our parade the congregation invited us to their fellowship lunch.
When we arrived in Eleuthera that afternoon, the director and a long term volunteer from Bahamas Methodist Habitat met us at the airport. We drove an hour to our camp and began our orientation. The next morning we woke up early and headed to our work-sites. Our group worked on four homes, in addition to the cottage at Camp Symonette, where long term volunteers stay. The teams did some electrical work, tiled, made and hung exterior doors, painted, and hung dry wall.
I believe each of us began this trip with different expectations. Some went with the expectation of seeing and playing with children. Some had the expectation of working on and repairing as many homes as possible. Others had expectations of absorbing every bit of the Bahamian culture. And still others had no expectations except to see where God was calling them.
As we closed our week with reflection and foot washing, we realized that regardless of what our expectations were going into the week, we all experienced many of the same things. We experienced that even though the people of Eleuthera were monetarily poor, they were rich in relationships. We experienced the joy of community. We witnessed the passion of loving Jesus through Bible study and Palm Sunday parades. But most importantly, we witnessed God. We witnessed God in every laugh we heard, in every smile we encountered, in every person we met. We witnessed God in our group, in sharing the burdens, in tears shed, in helping hands. We are humbled by the experience and are grateful for the support and prayers of our church family.
Don’t miss the Bahama’s Mission Forum in Wesley Abbey on April 24th at 9:15am.