Just a few weeks ago (wow has it really been that long already?) we were flying back to the States after an incredibly moving week in the Bahamas. We spent a week volunteering at a wonderful ministry called Camp Bahamas on the island of Eleuthera.
I know, I know you're probably thinking "The Bahamas? What could you possibly contribute to a ministry in a country whose name is synonymous with vacation paradise?" Don't get me wrong the sunshine and crystal-clear blue waters are mesmerizingly beautiful but once you peel back the outer tourism it becomes easy to see the needs of the people that call the Bahamas home. With high import taxes and a scarcity of good paying jobs the costs of living here can add up quickly. Picture your most recent trip to the grocery store, gas station, etc. and then imagine if the price doubled. That is an everyday reality for the people living in the Bahamas.
When you combine this economic disparity with the natural isolation of island life you get an even stronger need for sound biblical teaching and influence. This is where the serving hearts and hands of Camp Bahamas step in to shed the light of hope and truth into the lives of hundreds of Bahamian youth every year. If you haven't clicked on the link already, take a minute to do so, I'll wait . . . . . . . Now, before you get too excited and begin to book your flight for camp I guess I better break the news to you that in order to register you have to be A.) between the ages of 8 and 18 and B.) from the Bahamas. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple. It is the vision that God laid out to the founders back in 2003.
The Albury family founded Camp Bahamas after they felt God tugging on them to minister to young adults/teens of the Bahamas, where they had grown up. The first year of camp was held in rented cabins in the town of Spanish Wells on the northern tip of the island of Eleuthera. As the years have passed the campers have multiplied and so has God's provision so that camp can be held in its current location on donated land in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera.
From several to several hundred campers this ministry has grown into a blessing for the island nation and for the many that visit it to further help it to grow. For us, hearing the vision that God had placed on their hearts and the testimony of how God has provided for them throughout their journey was such a blessing. It was inspiring, and a total "God-thing" (as my mother-in-law would say), to listen to their serving hearts desiring to reach these children and to spread the truth of the Gospel. I laughed on our way home and told Jo that while we had technically gone down there to work and assist as needed, boy did that place do some working on me instead.
If you're interested in learning more about Camp Bahamas or if you want to find out how you could get involved please check out their website.
A Look Into Our Week In Eleuthera
Our journey began before the sun was up and what better way to start out than a birds eye view of the lights of Washington DC as we made our connecting flight at Reagan International.
Welcome to Camp Bahamas!
Our home sweet home for the week.
After a beautiful sunrise to brighten our morning we had the amazing privilege of worshipping with the local church in Tarpum Bay. Then, we came back to a family style lunch and true relaxation.
After a wonderful breakfast, we started helping out with some tasks around the camp. During the week we had the privilege to assist with various maintenance tasks. For example, I was able to do quite a bit of painting (with a pretty nice view in the background I might add) on the cabins that the campers stay in while Jo helped to frame a house on the camp grounds and create some concrete stepping stones.
Monday night was one of my favorites because of the opportunity to interact with some of the local girls at a weekly ministry gathering called Baking and Bibles, led by our friends Andrea and Mariah. Baking and Bibles gives the young Bahamian girls a chance to come together to learn to bake a new recipe, while also having a small devotional time, complete with good fellowship. This week we made homemade french bread.... yum! These young ladies sure knew how to follow a recipe and they were more than eager to dive into the bible.
We set back to working, after another scenic breakfast, on that beautiful porch that I have missed walking onto every morning since we left. Each day our work sessions would be preceded by a time of fellowship and devotion as a group. After our first day of working all day in the Caribbean sun we discovered that large hats were a must!
After another rewarding day of work, Jo got to participate in Bibles and Basketball while I enjoyed a relaxing evening with our Bahama Fam. Camp Bahamas has the only basketball gym on the island which serves as a magnet of opportunity to witness to the local youth. Basketball is kinda a big deal in the Bahamas!
After another day of painting and building we decided to take out the kayaks with the Albury Fam and explore a nearby island that was inhabited. This was one of our favorite afternoons. We raced in the kayaks to the island as quickly as we could and just for kicks, we did a few physical exercises once we got to the island. It's important to stay in shape while hanging in paradise, right?
We even found a shipwreck. Talk about a Cast Away scene . . . .
Need we say more.......?
Saturday was another day of exploration where the Albury's, our new Bahama fam took us around to witness some of the wonders of the island. We were able to see some of the local favorites like the Banyan Tree, Ocean Hole, and Spider Caves. We perfected the day with a scenic lunch at Sky Beach Resort.
On Sunday, after sadly saying goodbye, we boarded a plane headed back for the States. We left a little bit of our hearts in the Bahamas though and we are eager to go back and see how the Lord continues to work through this ministry!
"One Generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts."
We are the Best's! Jo and Mo. We have been immensely blessed with many opportunities to see various parts of the world. We live an average, working life in Raleigh, NC but through our many opportunities have developed a passion to see the world. Our goal is to share with other desiring travelers different tips and experiences from around the world as we begin to check them off our bucket list. If anything, we hope to provide a little sense of motivation and adventure to those wishing to embark on their own journey!
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