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Prayer in times of tragedy

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For some who believe in prayer, the tragedy of Hurricane Dorian has amplified its need.

Agape Flights CEO Allen Speer and a small group of his team returned to the Bahamas on Monday and Tuesday, checking on donations Southwest Florida residents gathered — and Agape sent — along with standing in small prayer circles.

Hurricane Dorian leveled large swaths of the Bahamas in early September. Still without power and largely in uninhabitable homes, residents showcase their faith — dancing to songs of worship as they await donated goods.

As two vans drove through an area of Freeport, a woman waved and thanked the group. Speer had the vans stop so he could share a moment of prayer and praise with her.

“’Stop the car, I have to go meet the lady and pray with her,’” he said. “And she said 'I’m just so thankful for groups coming in.' She was just a great giver, too."

He doesn’t know exactly how prayer works — he just knows it does. Several times, he spoke of it being of certainty — not clarity.

“We’re not sovereign. God is. We want clarity but what we get is certainty. Jesus said this: In this world, we will have persecution. … we are going to have great challenges. But He said be of good cheer. I’m never going to leave you or forsake you,” Speer said. “We don’t get clarity, we just get certainty.”

He said there is power in prayer — and he did it many times when he was in the Bahamas.

One victim of Hurricane Dorian was Pastor Kelly Pierre, who in quick succession has lost his parents — and now his home.

The storm was vicious, he said.

“It was like a monster. Like the devil himself was here,” Pierre said, recalling the moments that windows started bursting in his home and how he started praying until, eventually, the winds subsided a bit and the flood waters started to recede.

As he spoke Monday with Agape and other Christian nonprofits helping the community, Pierre smiled, even as he recalled what many would likely deem a summer of sorry.

“I’m always smiling. My father passed away (earlier this summer); right now, my mother is in a morgue in Haiti. I have to go the funeral — that’s my faith — but at the same time I have to work here before I leave, for the community,” he said. “Let me tell you why I’m smiling: Jesus. Only God can make you smile, even if it’s difficult, a difficult time, I’m always smiling.”

He said he has no worries about this life.

“Jesus said in John Chapter 1, said he’s going to prepare a room for us. I have that hope. I’m waiting for that day to come. I’m waiting for it.”

And, in that moment, he prayed with Speer and others near him.

For the missions that are underway, Speer said he keeps in his thoughts hoping for what’s best for victims of Hurricane Dorian.

“My prayer has just been and always has been for God to help us be servants to these people … to be their hands and their feet and to utilize the tools like aircraft and people and to make as much of an impact as possible,” Speer said.

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