The week has come and gone and it is time to say goodbye to Grand Bahama for now. The people we have met, the experiences we have shared, and the fellowship we have embraced will provide us with inspiration for years to come.
For many in the group the discussion centered not on if we would ever make it back to the island to continue our mission, but when. We have been inspired by Raoul's vision of God's Garden and the deep and lasting impact that he is making, each and every day, upon the people of Grand Bahama.
Today does not feel like it is the end of our story on Grand Bahama. Instead, we have a sense that it is simply the beginning of the next chapter with the hope and faith that there will be many more to write.
Update - Friday, June 19th
Our last full day on the island!
Today we had an opportunity to enjoy one of the reasons that many come to Grand Bahama Island -- the ocean.
Some of the members of the group chose to stay and enjoy the beach near our hotel, and some chose to go snorkeling. We were lucky enough to have a visitor to our boat before we even left the dock as a manatee decided to hang around our boat. Our boat crew said that they had been doing this for many years and had never seen a manatee in the harbor area.
Later in the afternoon Raoul took all 29 of us out to the site of the house where we all prayed for its continued progress and officially ended our initial contribution to Raoul's vision. Raoul's vision for God's Garden is much more that the house that we have begun. He envisions a complex spread over the nine acres that will include tilapia ponds, an extensive system of gardens, multiple structures where missionaries will be able to stay, and an orphanage. Most importantly the complex will educate Bahamians in how to raise fish and to raise crops in order to become more self-sufficient and sp
Update - Thursday, June 18th
Today EVERYONE was at the construction site as we neared the completion of the first phase of the house. All 29 lent a hand and worked hard throughout the morning.
In the afternoon we all headed to Pinders Point which is one of the most economically depressed areas of the island. Here we distributed clothing, shoes, dental supplies, school supplies, and basic medicines to dozens of families in the community. It was a very moving experience as the items we distributed were desperately needed. The Bahamians we met during this time were appreciative and gracious as they thanked us for what we provided.
During the late afternoon hours the men and some of the kids returned to the construction site
Update - Wednesday, June 17th
Today we spent the first half of the day working at the construction site, and helping out at the school. For the first time some of the 'young adults' joined the men in working on the house and proved themselves to be worthy additions.
During the late afternoon and early evening we were able to spend about 90 minutes at the nearby Port Lucaya marketplace where everybody got a brief taste of something that we had all been craving---- ICE CREAM!!!!!!
Evening devotionals once again brought everyone together as we shared our successes, our challenges, and the times when we felt that God was in our presence throughout the day.
Update - Tuesday 16th:
After some frustration in the morning, trying to get the structure square, the guys added some joists and beams to part of the structure.
The ladies and the kids went back to the school to love on the children. We played baseball with the kids, as well as taught the teachers at the daycare how to crochet. Then we all ate lunch as a group at the work site. :)
Update - Monday, June 15th
Significant progress made on the house.
Another wonderful experience at Holmes Rock Chapel when the kids at their preschool got to spend the day with the members of Antioch.
Update - Sunday, June 14th
After breakfast we went to the Holmes Rock Chapel where we attended a truly wonderful service. Reverend Eddie and his wife Erica Munroe welcomed us to worship with them, Miss K. blessed us with a beautiful solo, and Raoul's sermon really connected with the group.
After the service one of the members of the church invited all 29 of us to his home to pick fresh mangoes. The spirit of fellowship and community through our mutual faith was an experience that none of us will soon forget.
Update- Saturday, June 13th
We have arrived!
Everyone arrived safely on the island and we had an incredible first day. We were greeted at the airport by Raoul and Miss K. who took us to our hotel and then, despite a very early start to the day, we got to work.
After a trip to the lumberyard, we were able to set four posts were set and our contribution to the building of the house has begun. It is going to be challenging, but rewarding work as we look to accomplish a lot during our time here on the island. The location has incredible potential and will provide for the ministry for years to come.
Mission Trip Team Members:
Bruce, Sue Ellen, and Maddy Hodgson Chris, Katherine, and Allison McGill Nicole, Gabe, Carter, and Addy Shinski Brian, Susan, Elijah, Benjamin, and Lilah Mohler David, Chrissy, Mikayla, and Thomas Clark Chip, Jen, Kristen, and Chaz Updyke Michael, and Graham Waldron Christie Hall Josh Funderburg Maddie Frampton Jim Colthar