As part of a tour to 10 countries, Bishop Waddell together with other general authorities of the Church, including Elder Dale G. Renlund, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visits throughout the Caribbean.
It has been five months since Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas in early September 2019, severely damaging key infrastructure and claiming the lives of at least 61 individuals with hundreds still missing. This was the location where Bishop Christopher Waddell, from the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with local members. He visited various humanitarian projects in which the church has been collaborating in the aftermath of Dorian.
Since last September, the church has donated nearly 2.5 million dollars for food, water, medical supplies, clothing, generators, sanitation, construction materials, and school recovery projects in conjunction with IsraAID, International Medical Corps, American Red Cross, UNICEF, World Food Program, and Adventist Relief and Development.
Bishop Waddell visited some of the areas that were destroyed by the hurricane in Grand Bahamas, including the Well Field #6, a facility run by IsraAID based on an agreement with Latter-day Saint Charities. He also visited the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation and the Salvation Army Social Support Center. These organizations provide support and stimulation of the mind, promote resilience, and help displaced children due to the hurricane.
On Monday evening, members of the church in Freeport gathered for a Devotional where words of encouragement were given by President Fred Parker, Jamaican Mission President, Sister Lina Parker, Bishop Christopher Waddell and his wife, Sister Carol Waddell.
Sister Parker reminded those in attendance that the Lord loves them and is mindful of their struggles. She encouraged them, “To look to Him for comfort and inspiration” while they strive to rebuild their homes and grow the church in their area. “This will only happen as you work together in unity,” she emphasized.
President Parker reassured the members of the power of God’s authority, the Melchizedek Priesthood, and its ability to keep them safe. He said, “It was this power that kept you safe during the hurricane. Continue to have confidence in that power and look to the Lord and He will deliver you.”
Sister Waddell reminded the audience that there is always hope notwithstanding their struggles and the destruction of their homes. She counseled them to “Step back in the thick of things and look at your circumstances with a spiritual eye.” She also encouraged the members of the church in the Bahamas to look at their needs with the same spiritual eyes and look for the lessons and truths during their struggles.
Bishop Waddell said, “That trials and testing are a part of the Plan of Salvation but if we stand firm in the Lord, and keep His commandments, we will be delivered.” He invited the congregation to lift their eyes unto the Lord; promising that glorious things lie ahead despite the opposition they are facing in their lives. At the conclusion of his message he shared, “Be steadfast and continue to invite your friends, families and neighbors to come and see, come and help and come and stay.”