Reflections from the Berea College Team
During Spring Break 2020, Rev. Dr. LeSette Wright led a small team to Nassau, as part of the IM response to the Disaster relief efforts, the Short-Term Mission office has undertaken in collaboration with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Lott Carey. Here are excerpts of reflections shared by Rev. Dr. Wright and members of the team:
“I returned to Nassau with a team of six Bereans. Wilkensley Thervil, Kyle Seghers, Ana Chavez, Christella Philippe, Stephanie Itumba and I are forever changed by this experience. We made many plans in preparation for our trip. However, when we arrived in Nassau, we quickly internalized the importance of flexibility and openness to our plans changing. There was clearly a purpose for us being in the Bahamas that was bigger than what we knew. This message resounded as we encountered our first assignment at the Distribution Center in Nassau. The Distribution Center receives the donated goods to be provided to Hurricane Dorian survivors, divides the goods and repackages them to be given out based upon family size. The Center Director is a proud Bahamian woman who does her work with a strong sense of purpose. This became evident to our team immediately. From the manner in which she greeted us, to the instructions she provided and the words of encouragement ultimately shared with our team. Divine purpose was undeniable. Discerning this beautiful truth, our team served with love, dignity and humility, a true Berean spirit. The Center Director was so smitten with our team that she invited us back to the Center to serve the next day, had dinner with us and called to check on us every day. As we broke bread together, she imparted these words into our souls: “If you don’t remember anything else that I have said to you, please remember that purpose supersedes death.”
Reflection by Wilkensley Thervil
I am extremely grateful to have served in the Bahamas. Throughout this week, I experienced a tremendous amount of emotions, both good and bad. As a Haitian, seeing the tensions in Haitian-Bahamian relations troubled me. Overall, this experience allowed me to overcome obstacles and grow as a person, friend, and servant leader. I hope that the work we did, though seemed small when compared to the amount of casualties left from the hurricane, made an impact both on the victims and on everyone that we had an interaction with.
Reflection by Christella Philippe
Serving in the Bahamas was an unforgettable experience. Through this opportunity, I was able to connect with the Bahamian people and make lifelong friends. I embarked upon this journey with no expectations. I just knew that I wanted to serve. As I reflect on my experience, I feel like I received more than I gave. I have been challenged, stretched, and have grown closer to God, understanding that I truly need Him in every aspect of my life. As I interacted with people who have experienced great trauma, I saw them continue to praise the name of the Lord. This impacted me deeply. This trip is only the beginning of God refining me into the purpose he has truly called me to be. Sometimes the refining hurts and is uncomfortable. However, in the end, I look more like Christ.
Reflection by Stephanie Itumba
I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in such a beautiful nation and help those who were affected by Hurricane Dorian. This experience is something that I will never forget. Serving brought with it joy and challenges. One of the challenges that I faced was the culture shock. This was something I knew that I would encounter, but it was not something that I could truly prepare for. My experience with culture shock reminded me of back home in Kenya, particularly, the roads, the drivers, my interactions. These moments of awakening were truly unexpected. I encountered these experience with fond memories and jarring reflections. I am forever changed and empowered to be a servant leader who is a global citizen.
Reflection by Kyle Seghers
This service trip to the Bahamas has been a fantastic experience. From the moment that we walked out of the doors of the airport to watching the sunrise on the final day, every moment has been an incredible gift and blessing that I will remember forever. Some fantastic things that happened during this experience include: the challenge to encounter cultures that are new to me and learning to adapt to honor culture and fit in. I have also been challenged to step out of my comfort zone. I grew in my ability to communicate and connect deeply with people in a short amount of time. I felt appreciated by the Bahamian people as I honored their journeys. I saw their needs and was willing to serve in whatever way they found helpful. ”