Disclaimer: Blog posts like this one are not to come across as ‘holier than thou’ or that we are better than other cruisers. That is not our intention at all nor do we think that. We write this blog to keep in contact with family and friends but also to record our trip so that Marc, the kids and I can look back years from now and remember all our experiences…
A few days ago a large boat named Beacon Won pulled into the marina.It was full of high school kids, parents and the crew. I was curious as to what their story was since this was not the typical boat and passengers. Maria and I headed to the beach and we stopped to talk with two of the high school girls, Lanessa and Isabelle. Turns out Beacon Won is a vessel lead by Captain Bruce that travels around The Bahamas with various church groups (mostly from the US) and leads them in mission projects. I asked the girls what brought them to the island and they informed me that they attend a Christian high school in Portland, Oregon and that they were on spring break doing mission work. They named their spring break trip Sail and Serve.Earlier in the week they laid concrete for a project in The Exumas and here in New Providence they were going to an HIV/AIDS camp. Wow! I know that back in high school helping people in need during my spring break was not on my radar. I was all about the sun and fun. So these high school students really impressed me.
I then started talking with some of the chaperones of the group and they invited our family to join them the next day at the AIDS camp. I asked what it entailed and they said it was very simple. The plan was to just spend time with the residents, praying and singing with them. Here in The Bahamas there is still a stigma with those with AIDS and many families turn their backs on a family member that has AIDS. These people simply have nowhere to live and no one to take care of them. So a former leper colony has been transformed into an HIV/AIDS camp (due to privacy of the residents I’m omitting the name of the camp) run by a couple formerly from the US. Marc and I were thrilled with the invitation and it just so happened that there were 5 extra seats in one of the vans! God always works it all out, doesn’t he?
So the next morning we woke up, met up with the high school group and headed in the van caravan to the AIDS camp. When we got there we started singing songs and then visited various residents. At first Joellen and Camden were shy but within 20 minutes they were clapping and singing right along with the group.Some residents were in wheelchairs and others were bedridden. But it didn’t phase our kids and they were right there in the thick of things and loved listening to the residents’ stories. The gentleman in the second picture below (calls himself King Arthur) had an amazing voice and sang many songs to us including the Bahamian National Anthem. He asked us to sing our National Anthem which we did and he told us to always be proud to be an American. We all felt very patriotic and moved during that moment. Joellen and Camden really warmed up to the students and latched on to a few of them. It was really cute.We’ve been wanting to do some kind of volunteer work here in The Bahamas and we feel so blessed that we ran into Captain Bruce and his crew on Beacon Won and this wonderful group of high school students. It was a reminder from God that no matter where you go, even in the midst of paradise, there are people who need help and need to know there are people that care.
Two days ago the high school group flew back to Oregon and Marc, the kids and I got to hang out on Beacon Won with Captain Bruce and his crew. We all cooked dinner together and Captain Bruce told us great stories and told us his favorite places to visit in The Exumas. We will run into Beacon Won again because it will make many treks back and forth between New Providence and The Exumas. Captain Bruce, thanks for letting us tag along and share in this wonderful experience. We will catch you on the flip side down in The Exumas!
Next part of the plan: It’s really windy here today and tomorrow here on New Providence. The weather calms down Thursday so we will head out at 9:00 am Thursday and sail to the northern part of The Exumas (Highbourne Cay). We should arrive there around 4 pm. We will travel The Exumas the rest of April and all of May. Internet will be spotty so we may not be making as many posts to the blog.