God moved mightily during the summer of 2003 on Cat Island, Bahamas. Everybody who was a part of that trip realized how special it was to see people come to Christ. Lives changed as the Holy Spirit moved on the island during the final week of July. Once again, God has provided the way for another mission trip to return to Cat Island. Servant Air Ministries, the Florida Chapter of Pilot’s for Christ, was called on to provide safe and reliable air transportation to this remote Bahamas Island.
During the weekend of February 28th – 29th, 2003, a scouting team from the Missionary Alliance church of Ft. Pierce, Florida flew down to Cat Island to see how God was moving and where they could best be used. From the moment Dan Pennell, Paul and Katie Kuhn, and pilot, Ryan Roberts stepped on the Servant Air Ministries Piper Aztec, it was apparent that this would be a special trip guided and directed by God. Early in the morning before the sun woke from its slumber, the team departed on an IFR flight plan to New Bight, Cat Island.
On the ground that day the weather was dreary, like a cold Irish morning. Just like God’s faithfulness, it is amazing how He can lift you above the temporary troubles of the world and into His light. After liftoff, radar contact with Miami Center was established. The climb continued up through thick overcast layer. A few minutes later the plane was on top with God’s brilliant light shining all around. The rest of the trip was simply spent reveling in God’s amazing creation. Upon arrival, customs was cleared in New Bight and the airplane was relocated 20 miles north to Arthurstown, Cat Island. Pastor Newbold, who was the main contact on the island, joyfully met the missionaries. Hugs in brotherly love were exchanged and the weekend unveiling of God’s plan quickly took shape.
The first task was going to each of the Churches on the island that pastor Newbold oversees to find out what they needed. Paul Kuhn measured empty spaces in newly built structures where windows would eventually go. Most of the churches on the island were in desperate need of repair. Pastor Newbold was virtually the only person rebuilding all of the churches. However, he knows that on top of being a Pastor and professional carpenter on the island, the time spent building God’s physical kingdom will translate into building God’s eternal spiritual kingdom. While traveling to the dozen churches on hard, rocky roads, Dan Pennell recorded all of the supplies they would need to complete the roofing, painting, window installation and other building projects. Katie Kuhn determined how to best divide up the team of 30 people coming during the summer for VBS camps throughout the island.
The previous year, the Missionary Alliance group brought 16 people and stayed at the home of a doctor from Tampa, Florida. They has never previously met ‘doc’, and thought how great it would be if he just happened to be on the island at the same time during this trip. As God would have it, that was in His plan. ‘Doc’ was at his home, working on upgrades to his house to accommodate even more people. When Dan thanked him for opening up his home to us, and asked if it would be possible to do it again, ‘doc’ replied with an astounding ‘yes’. He said it would be available any time the group wanted to come down. This was a big answer to prayer and a sign that God was in control of these short couple of days. The final stop was at Pastor Strong’s church. The Cat Island pastors and missionaries prayed for God to come in power and might now and in the upcoming summer. God’s presence was obvious, and it was amazing to be blessed and to simply fall into God’s will.
From there, pastor Newbold blessed the foursome with a complimentary night’s stay at ‘Sammy T’s’, a local resort. Pastor Newbold had won a night’s stay there a few months back, and decided to bless the group rather than use it himself. As Christ would say, it is more blessed to give than to receive. That night there was also a great dinner with fresh seafood and time of reminiscing about what God did the previous summer, and what He was about to do in the coming months.
The following morning found the four missionaries at a local church service, enjoying a tribute to one of the local pastors who was 98 years old. People from all over the Bahamas came to pay tribute to a great man who lived with Christ at the center of his life. The worship was lively with a distinct Bohemian flavor, and the presence of God was readily apparent. Before the service was finished, the group was ushered out of the church. Waiting was the local customs agent, Dawsett, who was also at the church service. He completed the paperwork, and sent the foursome on their way.
As morning turned into afternoon, Dan, Paul, Katie and Ryan embraced Pastor Newbold and Pastor Strong as beloved brothers in Christ. Taking to the sky and giving a wing dip on takeoff as a final ‘so-long’, the Servant Air Ministries turbocharged Piper Aztec was carried back to the United States by an friendly easterly wind. When God directs, and we simply follow His lead, it is amazing how He lets us take part in so much of the action. As for the coming months, Servant Air Ministries is ready and excited to aid in advancing the gospel in the Bahamas, and around the world.