The Baptist Record

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Bahamas rebuild begins in Dec.

IN THE BAHAMAS — Baptist disaster relief volunteers were among the first on the scene after Hurricane Dorian swept the Bahamas on Aug. 24. Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief has committed to help rebuild St. Matthew’s Church on Grand Bahama Island when all necessary permits and approvals are granted. (Photo by Shane McGivney)


By Tony Martin

Associate Editor

Relief work by Mississippi Baptists and other Southern Baptists continues to slowly fall into place in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on Aug. 24.

According to Shane McGivney, disaster relief coordinator at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and director of the Men’s Ministry Department, “Right now we are in a holding pattern. There have been some issues that have come up about building foundations and inspections.”

Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief will be heavily involved with the rebuilding of St. Matthew’s Church on Grand Bahama Island, in a community near Freeport called Pelican Point. Freddie Laing is the pastor.

“Freddie has actually been in Louisiana preaching at their convention,” McGivney said. “The state director for Louisiana and an engineer are going [to the Bahamas] next week to try to make sure we have all the permits we need. It looks like it’ll be the second week in December before we can get our camp set up and teams in place.”

Other Baptist groups are already at work. McGivney said there are groups from Florida and South Carolina in the Freeport area.

“They’re having trouble getting sheetrock in,” he said. “Logistics are still a problem, getting supplies in, but just as soon as we get our compound in [to house volunteers], we’ll be sending out requests to individuals to build teams and do construction. There isn’t any need to do that until we have materials on the ground and everything ready to go.”

“The Bahamians are an amazing people,” McGivney said in an earlier interview. “They love the Lord. They are a very resilient people. They understand that their hope is in the Lord, and they are loving on their church families and their communities.”

Baptist Global Relief (BGR) is coordinating Southern Baptist engagement in the Bahamas and  has a pair of missionaries working there now.

According to the BGR website, “BGR undergirds the work of Southern Baptists worldwide and partners with others who are like-minded. BGR is not an official entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, but is rooted in the soil of Southern Baptist life and committed to helping Southern Baptists who care connect with people in need around the world.”

“BGR’s missionaries will be down there through the second week in December, then another BGR missionary will come in. BGR is trying to keep a presence there. Florida and South Carolina have been sending teams down so things are happening, just not necessarily the rebuild part.”

Mississippi Baptists also have teams currently working separate disasters inside the state. “Up in Corinth, Booneville, and Baldwin, for the last three weeks we’ve been doing storm damage repair. We’ve done close to 100 jobs there. Our teams have been getting trees off people’s houses and such.

“Gaston Church near Booneville has let some of our folks stay there, and we’re really appreciative. We’ve worked with First Church, Corinth; the City of Corinth; and Prentiss Association missions director Chester Harrison.

“We’ve gotten a lot done. A lot of people and the communities have come out and helped.”

Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief is supported by the Cooperative Program, the Margaret Lackey State Missions Offering, and donations to the ministry,

To make a tax-deductible donation specifically to disaster relief efforts, make checks payable to the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board with “Disaster Relief” noted on the memo line, and mail to MBCB Business Office, P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530.

For more information on the Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief ministry, contact McGivney at the above address or e-mail Telephone: (601) 292-3335. Web site: