Tennessee pastors with Bahamas roots set to return for rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Dorian


KODAK, Tenn. (WJHL)- Just over 30 years ago, pastors Brenda and Tom Sterbens of New Hope Church in Kodak, Tennessee pastored a church on Man-O-War Cay in the Bahamas.

That island is part of the Abaco Islands that have seen great devastation since Hurricane Dorian hit last week.

Even though Brenda and Tom now call Tennessee home, they continue to help build the church in the Bahamas and even have a home on the island.

“So we pastored there for almost three years. It’s one of the family islands in the Bahamas. There’s only about 300 people on the island. The island is only two and a half miles long and half a mile wide. We have a home there now that our family has been going to twenty-plus years,” said Brenda.

Tom is heading to the island, but has run into an issue, said Brenda.

“The FAA has grounded all flights into Bahamian air space. So we are now looking at other avenues to get in and asses the damage. We have people who are ready, we have barges that are full of supplies and equipment, we have teams ready to go and help build, and we can’t get in yet,” she said.

Once Tom can enter Man-O-War, Brenda has plans to join him.

Peter Robers is from the island and was staying in Tennessee as the storm hit.

“My family, we’ve been here since the 1700’s After the storm hit I dropped everything and came back to the Bahamas to try to help out in what I can do. Even after you see it on the news, there’s no words to describe the devastation you see here on the island. I thought I was mentally prepared for this but there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this. There are people who escaped their houses with only the clothes on their back,” said Roberts.

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