During the recent assault on the Bahamas by hurricane Dorian, there was this lady in Miami who felt the horror that most of us were feeling. The weather channel was using words like catastrophic, disastrous, nightmarish, devastating. Joan Finkel, a Floridian, knew that meant people were hurting. Many were losing everything they owned. There would be deaths. The history of this beautiful island chain was being rewritten. Joan wanted to help.
So she did. Between the threatening wind and the expected surge, the waters around the island would not be navigable. How do you get help into a place that would soon be ravaged and cut off from the rest of the world? First, you ask God if it’s His will. Once you’ve established that, you look for doors He might open. And you don’t think little thoughts.
Joan contacted a group of paratroopers she heard about. Paratroopers. They were civilians now but were military-trained. She learned that, yes, there were medics in the group. So she raised some money and had them dropped into strategic areas where their services would likely be needed. Bringing both skills and medicines, they were truly gifts from heaven. Through wise planning and Providence, none were injured in the drop. As I write this, they’re still there.
The airfield in Freeport, the main city on Grand Bahama, was under five feet of water so no cargo planes could land, but several possible landing sites for seaplanes were searched out, and a Grumman Goose and DeHavilland Otter were pressed into service and before the sky became unflyable they had ferried tons of supplies from Miami. Baby formula, drinking water, medicines, bandages, water sterilization kits, portable generators, bedding, food. The stuff of survival.
Joan solicited an army of helpers who caught her vision and raised donations and gifts of supplies. As soon as the materials arrived at the hangar in Miami they were on their precarious way to the tragedy developing in the Bahamas.
I love Joan’s spirit. In a story Jesus told, the Pharisee saw the broken and bleeding man beside the road, and he said, “What might happen to me if I stop to help this man,” and he walked on by. But a Samaritan saw the same man and asked, “What might happen to this man if I don’t stop to help him?” So he did.
There was this lady in Miami who said, “This is going to be a tragic event; what will happen to these people if I don’t do everything I can to help them?” Driving her was the thought, “Because I can’t do everything doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do something.” So she did.
By Don Jacobsen