Southbound

I’m going on a trip! A work trip. I’ll be leaving the country for the first time in almost two years. I have been hugely privileged/blessed in my adult life to be able to travel. This is the longest I’ve gone without leaving the country since Lewis and I got married.

I’m excited, but I’m also extremely nervous. I’m not particularly worried about getting sick (maybe I should be, but I’m relatively healthy, I’ve been working to build my immune system over the last two years, and I’m vaccinated), but I am worried about possibly being asymptomatic and getting stuck out of the country for quarantine.

But I’m going. Our flight on Friday is at 7:30am out of JFK into Miami for the weekend. We’re staying with Chuck and Mary Smith. Chuck is the Senior Pastor of the Caribbean. He frequently travels to Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, and the Bahamas; he also pastor’s the Ft. Lauderdale congregation. He’s a busy guy. I’m not quite sure how he does it all… but I do know that Mary does a lot to keep him going. We’ll spend the Sabbath in Ft. Lauderdale.

We fly out of Miami on Sunday morning for Freeport, Grand Bahamas.

Whenever I mention to people that I’m going to the Bahamas I get a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, and a “work” in air quotes. But I am legitimately going for work.

In 2019 Hurricane Dorian plowed into the Bahamas and made herself at home for at least 24 hours. It was intense, brutal, and devastating.

I coordinate for the Good Works program. Good Works is a program that United Church of God created to address emergency or unusual circumstances for church members. What it has turned into is the outreach program of United Church of God. We provide emergency relief after natural disasters, help orphanages, international camps, international church buildings, vehicles for pastors in international areas, and education and vocational opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

In 2019, when the hurricane hit, Good Works raised nearly $100,000 for relief. We were able to get emergency supplies (water, generators, tarps, bleach, flashlights, solar radios, water pumps, plugs and wires, and canned and dried foods) within two weeks of the hurricane (it wasn’t really possible to get there sooner since the ports were closed due to damage).

We sent a second shipment about two weeks later with supplies to help people begin to rebuild.

We were able to help all of our members (some in big ways, others in small) and with the remaining funds the members of our Freeport congregation set out to find people to help.

This was three years ago now, so we thought we’d head over to check on the status of recovery. This is the first time we’ve done a check like this. We typically rely on the local leadership to provide updates, but we wanted to create a video to share with all the people that helped make the recovery possible.

So, tomorrow, we head to Florida.

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