Sunday, October 26, 2008

On USS Sunward 1972

Bahamas a Foreign Land Just Minutes Away

Forty-five minutes east by air from Miami, Florida, you can arrive at the city of Nassau, Bahamas, where I have been nineteen times. Visits there were to preach, do seminars, or general consultant work for many of the denominations that have sizeable churches on New Providence Island or other neighboring islands. At the port in Nassau is a familiar post with boards made into arrows pointing in all directions of a distance city along with the mileage. Some were close but most hundreds or a few thousand miles away. This is just one indicator that you are no longer in the United States.

On a number of occasions I addressed over a thousand for the Church of God, Central Bible church, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance. These were thrilling times as you shared not only their culture, but their faith. Likewise, many times I spoke on cruise ships that were docked in Nassau on the weekends for the missionary group with Bethany Fellowship. The ships would not allow denominational groups but would welcome the Fellowship because they were made up of people from a number of churches solely for the purpose of ministry to the guests on the ship.

Nassau is the home of the Bahamian national capital, the bustling hub of The Islands of the Bahamas that traces its heritage back to the shipwrecking days of the legendary pirate Blackbeard. Prized for its sheltered harbor, the city made history and preserved it beautifully in colonial mansions, cathedrals, 18th-century fortresses and a Queen's Staircase whose 66 steps lead to a view not to be missed.

Today’s Bahamians continue the tradition of the early Lucayan and Taino Indians by producing distinctive arts and crafts that reflect the skill and artistry of their heritage. Bahamians utilize local resources to create unique foods, spices, ceramics, crafts, art, and music.

O yes, you will want to join in the fun of bargaining at the famous Straw Market, savor the colorful bustle of outdoor fruit and vegetable stalls and fresh fish market, or be entranced by the fashionable elegance of Bay Street's international boutiques.

The cities of Nassau and Freeport are the best know cities on the islands, but there is much more to discover in the islands of the Bahamas--there are about 698 more islands and cays! These other islands are called the 'Family Islands'. If you are searching for unspoiled beauty and quiet, you will find it in the Family Islands. These islands offer miles and miles of unexplored beaches, caves and cays which allow for the best scuba diving, fishing and sailing. The people of the Family Islands are well-known for their warmth and friendliness.

Paradise Island, which is 685 acres, is connected to the city of Nassau by two 600-foot bridges. The island is developed almost exclusively to accommodate travelers, with resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops, a golf course, and the large Atlantis aquarium along with other sites. There are very few private residences existing on this island.

One lady I remember well was the pianist each time I was a speaker on a cruise ship. She was from Ireland and had all the characteristics with auburn hair and a face full of freckles. Her husband was the president of the Bank of Scotland that had about 50 branch offices throughout the islands. These were people that God had blessed and were more than happy to share they bounty with others. I remember visiting in their marvelous home after many of the services and gathering around the piano and as a group sang many of the old hymns of the faith.

While ships came for many different places they ported in the same port with as many as seven nearly every weekend.

My mind has many times evaluated a day when people from every corner of the globe will gather into one place. The place for the redeemed. Color or denomination will not be a factor. Only those who have a faith and knowledge in Jesus Christ.

“And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” Luke 13:29

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31

“The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 52:10

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