Bracing herself for life’s storms
FOLLOWING her passion of sharing God’s love with people around the world, Lauren Wiener witnessed the destruction of Hurricane Irma in the Dominican Republic last month.
Offering basic safety training courses to volunteers for the mission ship Logos Hope, East Londoner Wiener was stationed at the main camp site in Santo Dominigo when Irma hit on August 30.
“Everything was still and calm and the sky was bright pink and orange before the storm. It was beautiful,” said Wiener recounting her experience.
“It poured with rain for 12 hours straight, but luckily we were on the outskirts and the camp suffered minimal damage.”
The Logos Hope, which was docked in port, had to leave and return when the storm was over to prevent damage but Wiener had to stay at the campsite, having arrived there four days before the storm started. She said her family back home was scared and worried about her, especially when they could not get gold of her for about a day because of the storm.
The category five storm was one of the worst recorded in the Caribbean region. Passing over the Dominican Republic en route to Florida, the hurricane left a trail of damaged homes and inundated streets along the country’s north coast.
Soon after Irma hit, Hurricane Maria followed suit, devastating other parts of the Dominican Republic.
“It felt like a miracle that we were not hit as badly. We were not in the eye of the storm and I was glad to get out before Maria hit. Seeing all the devastation the storms have caused throughout the Dominican Republic gives me a strong pull to go back and help in any way I can,” Wiener said.
Wiener, who first volunteered on Logos Hope’s sister ship, the Doulos, for six years, has to date travelled to 67 different countries, but this was the first time she experienced a storm of this magnitude.
Now a qualified deck officer, she is involved in the training camps for new recruits twice a year.
Volunteers run the ship and facilitate various programmes, but need to be trained in basic fire-fighting, first aid and safety at sea.
The Logos Hope is mainly a travelling book shop open to the public, bringing education and literature to some of the world’s most isolated countries and communities.
The teams sent out to shore often visit schools, orphanages and hospitals, sharing God’s word and helping where they can.
“Throughout my time on the Doulos I got to experience some of the most wonderful places and cultures. We were all volunteers, sponsoring our own way but the rewards were endless. It’s wonderful to go back and be involved in the training of new crew members,” Wiener said.