By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Grand Bahama pastor and Hurricane Dorian survivor Simeon Outten is encouraging those who lost their homes and loved ones in the storm to keep the faith in God during these trying times.
He himself is no stranger to loss. This is the second time Pastor Outten has lost a home due to a hurricane. The first time was in 2005 when the Category 5 Hurricane Wilma wreaked havoc in Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama. Now, Hurricane Dorian has destroyed his new home in Grand Bahama in an area called "Over the Bridge". But despite these losses, he said his faith has never been stronger.
After Dorian had passed and an all-clear was given last week, Pastor Outten visited his house to find only a shell left. In a video posted to Facebook, Pastor Outten can be seen collecting valuables and mementos and were still salvageable.
The senior pastor at New Life Worship Centre shared with viewers: "This is it. It is a total devastation and thank God I am alive. The whole house is completely gone. I am just trying to pick up some plates, whatever I can get, and carry for the wife. Our island is completely devastated, you see my home, this is actually the second lost, but to God be the glory."
In the video, Pastor Outten points to what once was the kitchen and the bedroom, saying "To God be the glory, I will do my best to see how I can pick up the pieces and move on."
In a visit to Nassau shortly afterwards, a visibly emotional Pastor Outten attended a Bahamas Harvest Church service where he was invited to the stage by Pastor Mario Moxey, who asked him to share his story.
"My wife and I flew in yesterday and what a privilege it was for us to take a shower for the first time in just over a week," he told the congregation. "I never thought I'd get emotional because I have not been all week long. To walk into this place and see the theme for today, 'Hope'. Although tears may be coming down, my hope is built," he said.
Pastor Outten, who is also a gospel recording artist, went on to say that he is now just reflecting on some of the things that most people take for granted.
"I want to celebrate my very good friend who encouraged us to come yesterday. We came only with the clothes that we had on our backs. Pastor Mario, I serve a God, and my faith in my God has never been so strong. I am thinking of my brothers and sisters that are home today who slept in darkness as the mosquitos are now out and the frogs are making noise, and you know as a pastor, you try to bring comfort to those (in need), and we don't have anything.
"And I still didn't question God, because like Job said, 'Thou you slay us, we will trust you'. And Pastor Mario, my faith in God, my hope in God... I am convinced that He is a restorer, and He does all things well."
He quoted a Bible verse and challenged the congregation to "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."
"I told my people this week, yes, we lost our home, and this is the second time that we have lost our home, but my faith in my God is strong. All things work together for the good, and I want to just ask your congregation to stand for a moment and let's give our God a big round of applause, because there is no God like our God, and whatever God does is well done. Today we give Him all the glory and the honour," said Pastor Outten.