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Hurricane causes severe damage in Bahamas

Mon, 11 Oct 1999 - 12:00 AM CST

Many youths throughout the Bahamas have come to the Assemblies of God's Abaco Youth Camp and found fun, stability, and salvation. But Abaco Youth Camp is no more. It became a victim of Hurricane Floyd in late September. Although the Eastern U.S. coast garnered most of the publicity, the Bahamas sustained millions of dollars worth of damage from the storm. Hurricane Floyd pummeled the Bahamas for 10 hours with 190-mph-winds, with gusts reaching 220 mph.

Churches and parsonages in Eleuthera and Abaco sustained $400,000 in damages. All five Assemblies of God churches and one parsonage in Eleuthera were damaged, with roofs being torn off, windows blown out, and carpeting water damaged beyond repair. Five of six A/G churches and three parsonages in Abaco had similar damage.

But it was the youth camp at Abaco that was battered beyond recognition. Nine buildings were virtually obliterated, including two boys' dormitories, one girls' dormitory, and beach cottages. The cafeteria's walk-in freezer and large cooking stove have not been found. Repairs to the camp buildings and equipment replacement will cost around $1 million.

While expensive, repairing Abaco Youth Camp is a project that is essential for young people. Many boys and girls from around the Bahamas have come to the low-cost camp, and it has proven to be a turning point in their lives. Now, kids, some of whom suffered through the trauma of clinging to heavy furniture in their living rooms to keep from drowning, will need the therapeutic youth camp more than ever to repair their shattered lives.

In addition to the wind damage, tidal waves and torrential rains ruined many homes, businesses, and churches. The hurricane hit with such force that roads washed away, concrete block buildings vanished, and steel beams bent like green willows.


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Many youths throughout the Bahamas have come to the Assemblies of God's Abaco Youth Camp and found fun, stability, and salvation. But Abaco Youth Camp is no more. It became a victim of Hurricane Floyd in late September. Although the Eastern U.S. coast garnered most of the publicity, the Bahamas sustained millions of dollars worth of damage from the storm. Hurricane Floyd pummeled the Bahamas for 10 hours with 190-mph-winds, with gusts reaching 220 mph.

Churches and parsonages in Eleuthera and Abaco sustained $400,000 in damages. All five Assemblies of God churches and one parsonage in Eleuthera were damaged, with roofs being torn off, windows blown out, and carpeting water damaged beyond repair. Five of six A/G churches and three parsonages in Abaco had similar damage.

But it was the youth camp at Abaco that was battered beyond recognition. Nine buildings were virtually obliterated, including two boys' dormitories, one girls' dormitory, and beach cottages. The cafeteria's walk-in freezer and large cooking stove have not been found. Repairs to the camp buildings and equipment replacement will cost around $1 million.

While expensive, repairing Abaco Youth Camp is a project that is essential for young people. Many boys and girls from around the Bahamas have come to the low-cost camp, and it has proven to be a turning point in their lives. Now, kids, some of whom suffered through the trauma of clinging to heavy furniture in their living rooms to keep from drowning, will need the therapeutic youth camp more than ever to repair their shattered lives.

In addition to the wind damage, tidal waves and torrential rains ruined many homes, businesses, and churches. The hurricane hit with such force that roads washed away, concrete block buildings vanished, and steel beams bent like green willows.


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Coins for Kids Giving Sees Results in Alaska

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 - 5:04 PM CST

Jim and Linda Schulz
Missionaries Jim and Linda Schulz.

Missionaries in Venezuela, South Africa, Alaska, Belgium, India, Bolivia, Romania and more have benefitted greatly from the $200,000 the annual national Girls Ministries Coins for Kids missions giving program typically raises each year.

Yet, with new annual focuses every year, past years' projects can sometimes be forgotten. But in the land of the midnight sun, Alaska, the Coins for Kids 2012 giving project to help build a permanent building at a camp for children, has come to pass.

But it was more of a miracle in the making than anyone ever imagined.

The creation of Camp "Agaiutim Nune," which means "The Place of God," and is also known as Camp AN, began with a miracle. The pristine property was donated to AG missionaries Jim and Linda Shulz to create a camp for children.

Camp AN David Huff
Volunteer David Huff with wood beams traveling up the Yukon River to Camp AN.

However, Camp AN may also be a dictionary's definition of "middle of nowhere." Located on the banks of the Yukon River in Western Alaska, with no roads in or out, and accessible only by boat, Camp AN's nearest neighbor is a small village 17 miles away . . . the nearest city is 500 miles away.

But not to be detoured, the Schulzes have been operating the annual camp since 1996. Their focus is on demonstrating God's love and compassion to girls and boys, who are mostly from the Yupik Eskimo tribe, and introducing them to Christ.  However, with limited resources, the camp has had to utilize tents for church services, cooking, eating and sleeping, which had to be shipped in, set up, taken down, and stored every year.

Middle of Nowhere
Where is the "middle of nowhere"? How about Western Alaska, on the Yukon River, 500 miles from the nearest city with the only access being by boat? That is Camp AN!

In a more temperate zone, tents may be the ideal camp experience. But at Camp AN, the temperature sometimes drops below 40 in the summer. The building of a permanent multipurpose building that would protect campers and staff from nature seemed like the best of plans.

Yet even the best of plans hit roadblocks. After the strong giving effort through Coins for Kids to make the building possible, the Schulzes learned that barges couldn't navigate the river to their remote location — there was no way to transport the large, heavy steal beams or other equipment and supplies necessary to the building site.

But where barges failed, God prevailed.

"The very logistics of this projected indicated that it was impossible," Jim Schulz admits, "but God gave us wisdom, creativity, and sheer manpower to move and handle extremely heavy pieces of building materials without the use of heavy equipment."

Steel floor supports
Wood beams and steal floor supports are in place, awaiting layers of decking.

Schulz says that with the help of many volunteers and using their two relatively small camp boats, they transported 80 tons of building materials to the project site. From the ground to the locked doors, it took just 32 days to put the building up.

"Many men and church groups from both Alaska and the 'Lower 48' worked extremely long hours to accomplish the task," Schulz says. "So many miracles happened before and during construction that a brief statement like this could never begin to enumerate."

Volunteer David Huff, who attends Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri, learned about the Camp AN project through a Pentecostal Evangel article. He agrees with Schulz, stating that the miracles that took place for the building to be completed are too numerous to name.

Nearing completion of building
The building nearly enclosed.

"Even though I have a background in carpentry, this project was very unlike anything I had ever done, due to the remote location and lack of equipment," Huff recalls. "There were lots of challenges that seemed insurmountable, but God provided solutions at just the right time.  

"We had 10 very large and heavy beams and 26 large red iron trusses that we had to move by boat, and unload them without equipment," Huff explains. "At one time it seemed completely impossible, but God gave the answer how to move them." 

Huff even praises God for the weather, explaining that typically August is a very wet month in Western Alaska, but during the two weeks he was there, the building effort was blessed by only two short periods of rain. "It was really amazing and incredibly unusual," he says.

Enclosed building at Camp AN
Through the efforts of missionaries and many volunteers, the Camp AN camp building is built in just 32 days.

Schulz says that the new building will house the chapel, dining hall and kitchen. 

"We have used the tents for 19 years and they show much wear," Schulz says. "Now we will be able to continue with a safe, dry, warm facility to continue reaching and disciplining souls for Christ. Next summer we have some 'finish' work to complete — outside steps, windows, two side doors, electrical work and insulate. We are confident God will continue to help us with this as well."

To view additional pictures of the building project in different stages of completion, see the Schulzes' Camp AN Flickr pages. To learn more about Coins for Kids, click here.

 

Authors: Dan Van Veen

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