Disaster Response Update: Pay It Forward Bahamas

December 03, 2019

This communication is rather long, so please take the time to read all of it.

Friends and Faithful Disciples of Jesus,

It wasn’t that long ago that we saw the horrendous results of Hurricane Dorian as it swept across the Bahamas, in particular, the island of Grand Bahama. The nature of this beast is that there is always an initial outpouring of support for the Survivors; but in the Long Term Recovery, it is a different storyline. People either soon forget, or worse; they assume everything is now OK. It was this way 8 years ago when our own Conference was struggling to bring recovery to so many communities, and even more families, in the aftermath of the April 2011 Tornado Super Outbreak. Were it not for many of you, and those from outside our Conference, many families would be without a home today.

Right now I am remembering Paul’s opening words to the church in Corinth found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and from The Message it reads like this “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”

God has opened a door of opportunity for us to pay-it-forward by a partnership with The Methodist Church In The Bahamas. Rev. Mike Vest recently contacted me after he and his wife had been there. Mike has a friend, Dexter Edwards, who is a certified and licensed contractor—and better yet, a follower of Jesus. Dexter has allowed his employees time to repair their homes and those of their neighbors. Dexter is also being a servant by offer mold remediation for only the cost of supplies—and if a family doesn’t have the money, Dexter shakes their hands and moves to the next project. Families who cannot afford it are given the service free. Dexter’s wife also has a food truck and has been feeding volunteers and communities.

In their conversations, Mike asked how we might help. We could send money where they could go to local suppliers to purchase their products locally. But there are still long lines and when one would get to the counter, the supplies they needed are sold out. The best thing we can do for Freeport and Grand Bahama Island is to get needed supplies directly to them.

Click to read a letter from the Bahamas Methodist Church

I would like for you to come together in a God-Sized dream I will call PAY IT FORWARD BAHAMAS. To accomplish this God-Dream here is what is needed:

  1. A place locally to collect all the necessary building materials and supplies.
  2. A shipping container loaded with these life-giving supplies and a way to get it to the island of Grand Bahama.
  3. A place in Freeport that can unload and securely store the materials and supplies.
  4. A trustworthy partner to oversee the receiving and the distribution of the materials and supplies.

This is a big order! But allow me to show you how God works when we are willing to Dream God-Sized Dreams.

  1. Locally, we have the Conference Disaster Response Warehouse in Decatur to receive the needed materials and supplies.
  2. These folks are seasoned veterans of receiving and international shipping.
  3. In Freeport, the St. Andrew and St. Paul Methodist Churches have the campuses, facilities and volunteers to receive and securely store what we send. The pastor of these two churches has the facilities to handle whatever we send.
  4. The same churches, along with Dexter Edwards will oversee the distribution and work done for so many who did not have insurance and do not have the means to repair and rebuild.

All that is now needed is YOU! Below is the list of materials and supplies need and their quantities. Then in order to send the supplies, we need approximately $4,000 to ship the container. And we are daring to dream that we can fill another container as well.

And here is what is needed for PROJECT PAY IT FORWARD BAHAMAS:


  • 800 sheets of sheetrock
  • 200 sheets of Durock
  • 400 sheets of 5/8 plywood
  • 400 rolls of peel and stick or 30lbs felt
  • 800 lengths of eve drips
  • 10 cases of 8 penny nails
  • 30 cases of roof nails
  • 30 cases of tin tabs
  • 30 rolls of 18" flashing
  • 5 cases of 16 penny nails
  • 2000, bundles of roof shingles
  • 20, buckets of roofing cement
  • 200 pieces of 2x4x16
  • 200 buckets of joint compound
  • 80 interior doors 30 x 80
  • 40, bathroom doors
  • 400, light switches
  • 600, receptacles
  • 20, sets of kitchen cabinets 14 feet length
  • 100 rolls of drywall tape
  • 40, rolls of paper drywall tape
  • 40 exterior doors
  • 40 key locks
  • 120 bed and bath locks
  • 120 windows standard size 38 ½ x 36
  • 600, lengths of 5 ¼ baseboards


  • 4 filtered Shop Vacs vacuums
  • 10 generators capable of running saws, etc.
  • 4 mold fog machines (check at local building supply stores or online)
  • 6 wheelbarrows
  • 20, shovels
  • 20 rakes
  • 4 cases of garbage bags large such as 55 gallon or leaf bags
  • 6 chain saws
  • 10 generators
  • 80 gallons of Concrobium Mold Control (check at local building supply stores or online)
  • 10 moisture gage reader (check at local building supply stores or online)
  • 100 all-purpose coveralls (disposable type, check online)
  • 10 garden spray containers
  • 2 cases of blue construction towel wipes and washing and cleaning products

These supplies will help to build/repair 20 homes. Don’t think you have to buy these things—maybe you know someone in the building industry who might have some of these items laying in a storage building and they need to put those items to good use. We can provide an IRS letter of in-kind goods and services for their records if they would like.

You will be responsible for delivering the supplies to the Decatur Warehouse located at 3220 Hwy 31 South, Building F, Decatur, AL 35603. Call ahead to arrange delivery at (256) 341-9961

And we need approximately $4,000 for shipping costs for each container. If you would like to help with this part of Project Pay It Forward, mark donations FOR BAHAMA PROJECT and mail them to P.O. Box 1133 Decatur, Alabama 35602.

And one more thing; please email me at rburbank@umcna.org with a list of what you are taking to the Conference Disaster Warehouse so I can mark it off our needs list at least twice a week, we will send out updates of what has been provided and what is still needed.

The cut-off date will be February 5, 2020; which brings another opportunity. The shipping container will need to be loaded and you can call the Warehouse (256-341-9961) to assist in this part of Project Pay It Forward Bahamas.

And one final thing. Watch for information on how you can be part of a team to go help in Freeport. Today, Mike Vest made a connection with a person who delivers fresh and frozen foods to Freeport who can take up to 10 or 11 volunteers at a time if we help with the cost of the fuel. This captain has made multiple trips delivering food since Hurricane Dorian, sometimes with no help paying for his fuel costs.

I am absolutely amazed at how God is putting the details and pieces together. I am witnessing how God is at work and I would hate for you or anyone to miss out on seeing God opening doors so that we can Pay It Forward!

Grace, joy and peace to you as your fellow servant in The Kingdom,
Rev. Randy Burbank
North Alabama Conference Disaster Response and Recovery Coordinator

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.