Isn’t that an amazing statement? I mean really are we ever doubtful that God is working? God is certainly working every day, every night – in fact every second of every day and night!! It is us who just aren’t aware of what all God is doing. Sometimes we see Him working with our eyes, but are just dulled to it or not tuned in and forget to give Him credit! So when I see God working with my eyes and am tuned in as well, then I find it awesome indeed!
On Wednesday August 28th, Hurricane Dorian began in the Caribbean and started its long slow journey as a category 5 storm. Over Labor Day weekend, August 31 – Sept 2nd, Dorian stalled over the northernmost islands of the Bahamas for nearly 2 days. Our hearts went out immediately to the people but for the COS, in particular, our hearts were heavy for Dr. Duranda Ash who lives and practices in Freeport. Through the storm we prayed and waited to hear from Duranda. There was a notable pause in communication from her during this entire time and no word was heard until Wednesday, Sept 4th when a single text was received that said “IT IS WELL! Thank you so so so much for your prayers !!! God is a shield around us, our glory and the lifter of our head.” Though flooding claimed the lives of others who stayed in their homes not far away, Duranda had stayed in her home and protected another mother and child whose home would be destroyed by the flooding. They were safe and alive! Praise God!
Those next few days, I grappled with how to respond. Just 3 days later, I received an unexpected call from Dr. Mark Cichowski who expressed his concern and shared that he and his wife Jan were ready to serve indefinitely as needed to help. Praise God! That next week the COS board dialogued and prayed for the best response to Duranda’s situation and also for her two staff who lost everything due to flooding. Immediately, board member Jill Rodila and her husband Raul, located just 90 miles due west of Freeport, volunteered their home, their boat and their time to coordinate and find transportation of any needed supplies going to Grand Bahamas island! Praise God!
Amazingly enough, that very same week, I had been scheduled out of the office and had plans to be here doing various catchup jobs. God laid on my heart to go, meet with Duranda to help survey the need and plan the response. I didn’t even miss work to do this!! Praise God! I found an inexpensive flight I didn’t know existed from my local airport with just one connection getting me to Nassau in only 5 hours total time. No early morning stressful drive to O’Hare airport! Praise God!!
On the ground in Nassau, the blessings and seeing God work just began to expand rapidly. Many things that happened we would have never guessed could have happened.
- The first evening, Duranda and I met and had supper with COS member Tricia McCoy and her husband Steve who were there in Nassau and had reached out to Duranda in concern.
- Duranda’s Nassau staff were amazing and attentive to any way in which they could help. In particular, her nurse Lightbourne composed a well thought through detailed plan to deal with the evacuees and their eyecare needs.
- A gracious man donated the use of his airplane and pilot to take us direct to Freeport on Sunday, Sept 15th to review the area and damages.
- The local TV news station knew we were coming and interviewed us for TV asking specifically to share how God was working through our planned effort. The local producer knew about the COS and had us share in front of the entire Bahamas how the COS was forming a plan to help.
- A brief meeting with the local government hospital administrator opened a door widely for partnership that had previously been closed.
- We surveyed businesses next door to Dr. Ash’s office that suffered extreme flood damage and witnessed first hand God’s hedge of protection around Ash Eye Institute where no water had entered the doors.
- Upon leaving we saw in person the huge Samaritan’s Purse airplane unloading the field hospital to care for general medical and surgical and ICU needs helping the local government hospital clearly in the name of Christ.
- The very next morning we met with the minister of health for all of the Bahamas and he opened the doors widely for qualified competent licensed Christian eye doctors to help with the evacuees. He was an amazing man and a bond seemed to be developing between him and Duranda to improve the long term eye care for the Bahamas as we discussed possible surgical outreaches to some of the unreached islands. He promised the government’s support of the volunteers for both accreditation and legal concerns.
- Through the COS online volunteer form, already 8 individuals had expressed willingness to help.
- The donation and equipment campaigns has already resulted in early financial support and some of the needed equipment items.
In summary, the weekend was amazingly successful thanks to God’s leading through the many details. The logistics for the volunteer’s how and where were laid out. The needed eye equipment was reviewed and listed. The necessary partnerships were beginning to be visible. Through the entire time, Duranda kept exclaiming “God is working, He is working, He is working. Stan, He is working!” She saw this clearly all the time. She expressed her gratitude to the COS in all things and indeed God is working through the COS!
As I reflect on how we see God work often, I think of humans as walking along the path of life like a horse pulling a buggy with those blinders on both sides of their head – only seeing what is directly in front of them. How true that is for humans. Fortunately, as believers, we know God is working and we see that evidence when it is right in front of our own eyes and we are “tuned in” at which time we can say “Praise God”.
When did you last see God working? Feel free to share your stories of where you observe God working with us to: firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Lord, let us see you working clearly and give you the glory!