As the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) ministers to those affected by Hurricane Dorian in Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas, each day has been filled with personal accounts of the Category 5 storm that decimated several islands.
“I heard a man’s story of how he lived on top of his kitchen table for two full days with water rising around him,” chaplain coordinator Pam Rhodes recalled. “I heard [another] man in a wheelchair say he commanded the [incoming] water to stop in the name of Jesus—and it did!”
One of 14 crisis-trained chaplains in Freeport, Rhodes has spent most of her time in the waiting room of a Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital, offering a listening ear, word of encouragement and prayer to the Bahamians. She’s also stood by many people as they unexpectedly lost loved ones in the storm or at the hospital.
“Children were washed away in the water,” Rhodes said remorsefully, adding that she met a 102-year-old woman who survived the storm but 11 of her family members are missing.
Despite the catastrophic tragedy that killed at least 51 people, left tens of thousands homeless and 1,300 missing, Rhodes said she’s been inspired by the islanders’ great faith in God.
“They’re very warm, relational and loving. Many of them are full of faith,” Rhodes said of the strong Christian nation, where public school teachers lead their classes in prayer.
“You know how Paul says I’ve learned to be content whatever the circumstance? I’ve found a lot of people like that,” she continued. “They do believe God is faithful and will see them through this.”
Through the difficult situation, her faith in God has increased, too.
“Before I came here, I said to the Lord, ‘Why are you sending me? What can I bring?'” Rhodes said.
Her answer was Isaiah 46:9, which says, “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me …”
“It’s helped me to remember He’s the God that parted the Red Sea. He provided manna in the desert, water from a rock and made the sun stand still. He’s still the same God,” Rhodes proclaimed. “He’s the God over this storm and He will see us through these things if we believe His promises to us. And [the Bahamians] will see the Lord through these things because they trust in Him.”
Who do you turn to during life’s storms? Have peace with God today.