By Rick Burnette
We waited days for this storm to approach the Bahamas. We waited even more days for Dorian to finally clear the islands and reveal its devastation. And now we find ourselves waiting for the opportunity to provide comfort, deliver aid and assist our Bahamian friends with recovery.
Despite operating out of a culture that abhors waiting, CBF Domestic Disaster Response is a ministry that practices considerable restraint when it comes to timing and action.
Not equipped to engage in every emergency nor to provide full-scale first response, our priority is, at the invitation of affected CBF state and regional organizations, long-term recovery in under-served communities.
But the current wait for the harbors and airfields of the Bahamas to clear is agonizing. We ache for the countless Bahamians who desperately wait for rescue, food, water, shelter and healing. We long to work alongside them to begin cleaning up the mess and rebuilding.
While anticipating this opportunity, we have made Plans A, B and C. We have purchased equipment and supplies that await delivery. And we wait.
And the CBF network waits with us. Together, we anticipate hearing from friends and relatives in the Bahamian post-storm silence. And much like the Apostle Paul who longed for the opportunity to be with friends in Rome, we still wait for the chance to be the presence of Christ in the Bahamas. We know that sooner or later that opportunity will come. And we must be ready.
Meanwhile, what are our options? We can pray. Let us pray for those still in harm’s way. Pray for those trying to make contact with loved ones. Pray that food and water will be quickly delivered to the thousands who desperately need sustenance. Pray for medical assistance for the wounded. And pray that we all will be ready to respond. And we can give. While CBF Disaster Response isn’t equipped to receive material goods, financial donations are requested to purchase what’s needed for long-term recovery. Obviously, the budget needed to make such an effort possible will be considerable (you can give to support these efforts here).
And in the coming days, we will finally be able to volunteer. As soon as CBF Bahamas and Florida are ready for CBF volunteer teams to assist with clean up and other recovery, we will sound the call.
Meanwhile, as we wait a little longer, we thank you for your concern, patience and generosity.
Rick Burnette serves as Domestic Disaster Response Manager for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.