A Disaster Births Hope

by | Oct 8, 2019 | Desk of Tanya, Emergency Response, Hurricane

Fresh Water Production volunteers have been cycling in and out of the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian delivered a deadly blow on September 1, 2019. World Hope International has been pumping clean water in the Bahamas for a full month and we still turn people away at the end of the day.

Our volunteers have been clocking 15+ hour days of intense physical labour in very hot conditions. They are staying in tents and bringing their own food in order to be self-sufficient. They are pumping clean water, distributing supplies, encouraging families, fixing tires, helping with generators, and more!

Fresh Water team member, Deborah Gilbert of Halifax, NS shares her story:

Scared, excited, under-prepared, hopeful, intimidated. Those are some of the feelings I felt. I was going to make clean drinking water for people whose lives had been stripped away by the strongest storm to hit the Bahamas. How was I, a young pastor, and mom from Canada possibly going to help? Within hours of arriving in Marsh Harbour, we had our Katadyn water purification units running. Then people began to come. That is when I realized that the simple act of making clean water was enough. We were providing people with something they could not live without. We were allowing a demolished community the chance to rebuild, simply by creating clean water. By the end of the week, I felt empowered and passionate about helping people. I knew that what I was doing with World Hope International was life-changing for the people I gave water to, but it changed me as well. By allowing myself to step very far outside of my comfort zone, it allowed me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.

The initial shock of a devastated country is intense. Jimmie Penney from Halifax, NS explained that everything was blackened as if a huge fire had ripped through the landscape leaving no stone unturned. Ken Wright of Saint George, NB shared that as soon as he arrived, he was stunned by the devastation; it was like nothing he had seen before. However, both Jimmie and Ken spoke of the beauty that they saw. It was beautiful because people were coming together to care for one another. People were breaking social barriers by helping to distribute clean water. Many people from multiple countries showed up solely to serve and to be a physical voice of love. A physical voice that says, “I have no idea what you have been through, but I am here.”
When we serve in this way, the temporary struggles of our lives look much smaller. When we have seen a disaster-zone birth a new beginning, we see hope. The Canadian team members who have returned continue to share what God has taught them about the impact of serving. Ken reminded me that there is satisfaction in serving. It isn’t natural to sap all physical strength by pumping water day in and day out. But in the end, you will find joy!
For more information on World Hope’s disaster response program, click here

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