In the Bahamas, Adventists Still Reeling After Hurricane Dorian

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Church members are being assisted psychologically as they face uprooting, depression.

Richard and Curlean Berry have been homesick since the day they had to evacuate their home and farm in Abaco, North Bahamas, when Hurricane Dorian leveled the central part of the island in early September 2019. They had lived for more than 27 years in Marsh Harbour after a rural paving job came about in the 1990s for Richard, a road engineer and builder. Curlean had her own crafts souvenir business that was thriving. When they moved to Abaco, they had decided to go as self-supporting missionaries to grow the church membership there. They were instrumental in pioneering two churches in South Abaco and strengthening the church in Marsh Harbour as well. 

Abaco is home to them — what’s left of it. The Berrys are among hundreds of church members who had to escape Abaco and relocate to different islands, many to Nassau, Bahamas. “We have been living with our daughter [in Nassau] since September and really have nothing much to return to,” Curlean said. 

“Everything was destroyed,” they both said, almost in unison. 

Richard has been back to visit Abaco and stays for a few days, trying to find a tractor to get his coconut farm going. But the clean-up on the island will take longer than just a few more months. In the meantime, the displacement has taken a toll.

  • Carlos Fayard, associate professor of psychiatry at Loma Linda University, tells the audience to trust in God and His Spirit and seek the help of a professional therapist to help them cope with their trauma. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]
  • Richard and Curlean Berry lost their home and farm in Abaco, North Bahamas, where they lived for more than 27 years, helping to grow the church as self-supporting missionaries. They visited the New Providence Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nassau, Bahamas, on January 8, 2020, to hear lectures on psychological trauma led by Loma Linda University experts. They expressed the hope that it helps them better cope with losing their way of life in Abaco and waiting for rebuilding to take place. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

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