Hurricane-Ravaged Bahamas Receives Care from Chaplains

By Todd Sumlin   •   September 20, 2019

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) has been on the island of Freeport for weeks, offering emotional and spiritual care in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Another group of chaplains recently deployed to Nassau to train Bahamians how to share hope in crisis, and minister to evacuees dealing with storm trauma.
Making landfall on September 1, Hurricane Dorian pummeled the islands with heavy rain and high winds for two days, leveling homes and upturning vehicles in its path. The vicious Category 5 storm was the strongest to ever hit the Bahamas.
Nevertheless, crisis-trained chaplains have still encountered many Bahamians with great faith in God. “They’re remorseful, grieving, hurt and [at a] loss, but they have hope that the emotional and spiritual component is still there," crisis-trained chaplain Kevin Williams said. "The more you talk with them, the more they get to release it and refocus [on the belief] that Someone’s greater than them."
Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, took time to encourage locals receiving care at the Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Freeport, which was the island's only hospital within days after the storm. (Photo: David Uttley)
Everyday necessities have become a challenge for Bahamians. As islanders wait in line for gas, Billy Graham chaplain Jonathan Carey encourages them. "We have the greatest hope in Jesus Christ," Carey said.
Officials expect the death toll of 51 people to dramatically rise as another 1,300 remain missing. In the meantime, chaplains share hope that lasts for eternity. >> Do you have hope to get you through life's storms? Place your faith in Christ today.
With an economy driven largely by tourism, some parts of the Bahamas look nothing like the paradise so many have come to know and love. More than 5 percent of the tight-knit country is now homeless as at least 70,000 people have lost their homes in the hardest-hit islands of Abacos and Grand Bahama.
Franklin Graham's daughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, prayed with her husband, Corey, and Billy Graham chaplains in Freeport. She also encouraged Bahamians, visiting multiple islands in the nation. “[The islanders] know they have a long road ahead, but they said even on our worst day, God loves us,” Lynch said. (Photo: David Uttley)
A gut-wrenching view of Abaco Island, Bahamas. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)
There are all kinds of emotions after living through a disaster—the pain that comes with significant loss to the relief of surviving.
This young man sat inside the Emergency Field Hospital and talked with chaplain Kevin Williams. His tears were gone by the end of the conversation as he received Christ. >> Watch how he came to faith.
Have you ever dealt with trauma or wondered what to say to someone who's suffering? >> Read and share these 5 tips from crisis-trained RRT chaplains.
“I think a lot of people are, you know, wondering where God is in these situations," Cissie Graham Lynch said. "God’s Word does say that we will walk through the fire and the flames won’t set us ablaze, that we can walk through the rushing river but it won’t overflow us. … It’s in these dark moments that we’re hurting and crying that we have to know God is sovereign and see His goodness through it all.” (Photo: Marshall Foster)
After facing Hurricane Dorian, Abaco Island native Jay Sands said, "We were dumbfounded. We've been through so many hurricanes before but never had this type of damage at all." Please keep the Bahamas in your prayers.