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The 700 Club

Forgiveness After Living Through a Nightmare

THE “D” WORD
Bonnie’s parents divorced when she was 12. Her dad, Bill, and Kathy, who would eventually become her step mom, decided to pursue his lifelong dream and sail around the world. In order to follow his dream, Kathy and her dad made the difficult decision to leave Kathy’s young sons and her behind. Bonnie heard from her dad occasionally, but rarely talked to him personally so she stayed in touch with him and Kathy through letters.

During her teen and young adult years she began searching for anything to fill the hole that was created by her parent’s divorce. She found getting high or being drunk helped to ease the pain of the divorce and her dad’s absence. After graduating she moved to California and got a job. During the day she was surrounded by Christian coworkers, but in the evening she was surrounded by people who liked to party. Over the years Christians and those of other religions tried to share their faith with Bonnie, but she didn’t know what to believe.  In November 26, 1986, she went to church and accepted Jesus as her Savior. “My search was over, my sins were forgiven, and I had a feeling my life would never be the same,” shares Bonnie. As her faith in Christ began to grow, she met a man named Donnie at church who eventually became her husband in August 1987. Together they started a successful construction business. She loved being Mrs. Floyd, but one void never seemed to go away – she missed her dad.

She prayed and longed for her dad and mom to come home. One day her prayers were answered when they came to California for a visit and met Donnie for the first time. During this time, Kathy and Bonnie grew closer in their relationship. Bonnie talked to her parents about Jesus and what He had done for her. Her dad was happy for the positive change in her life, but felt he was doing just fine in life without Jesus.

In 1992, her dad took a job as the island administrator on the Island of Jethou (jet-TOO). They would be the sole inhabitants of the island except for the other island’s employees who would come to work by boat during the week. Bonnie prayed God would let her and Donnie be able to visit soon. Her prayers were answered when Donnie took Bonnie to the island  to visit her parents. One evening while talking with her parents, Bonnie asked her dad to make her a promise. “Dad, just promise me one thing – if you ever get into a position where you fear for your life, you will call on the name of Jesus.” Her dad without hesitation promised her he would do so although he felt he would never be in a position where he was not in total control. After they returned home to California, Bonnie and her parents stayed in close contact, “The years of being disconnected, for whatever reason, were in the distant past, and God had granted me the desire of my heart.” Her parents did not come home that year for Christmas but made a quick trip to California in November. When her parents returned to the island they were invited by their boss to go sailing in the West Indies aboard his yacht, Challenger. They were excited to be sailing once again.

LIVING THE NIGHTMARE
On February 1, 1994, Bonnie received a phone call at six o’clock in the morning from the United States Embassy in Antigua. She learned that her parents who were sailing in the West Indies along with two others had been murdered aboard the yacht, Challenger. It would be three days later before the bodies were discovered. The caller, Paul Howard, said her parents had been killed in their sleep. All Bonnie could think was, “They’re dead. They did not have time to call on Jesus. They are in hell!” Yet Donnie and his sister, Sandy, both said the Lord told them, “He has them (her parents) with Him in heaven.”

Bonnie’s pastor reminded her, “God could have prevented this, but He didn’t. He doesn’t make mistakes.” These words gave her peace and hope in the midst of tragedy that seemed out of control. God also told Bonnie not to hate the people who had committed this heinous crime. A few days after receiving the devastating phone call, Paul called again from the embassy. He explained that previously he was told by Scotland Yard to report that her parents were killed in their sleep when in fact her parents were actually bound and gagged for hours before they were killed. The news that should have been upsetting actually proved hopeful to Bonnie. She fell to her knees and began thanking God that her parents had been given time –time to keep their promise to her. Bonnie told Paul, “I’m a Christian, and just six months ago, my dad promised me that if he and Mom were ever to get into a position where they feared for their lives, they would call on the name of Jesus. What you first told me left them no time to keep that promise; what you’re telling me now does.”

REDEMPTION
Two years later, the quadruple murder trial began in Antigua and lasted five weeks. Bonnie began to feel an unexplained level of compassion for one of the three men convicted of the killings. His name was Donaldson and he had been involved in the crime, but did not kill anyone. She prayed for leniency in his sentencing. God answered her prayer, Donaldson was sentenced to fifteen years hard labor.  The other two who had committed the murders are still in prison for their crimes. During the trial, Bonnie was often greeted by locals who asked for her forgiveness because her parents’ murder had happened on “their watch.”

After Donaldson went to jail God told Bonnie to go see him and tell him that she forgave him. She was obedient and while visiting him she also prayed with him to receive Jesus as his Savior. Donaldson became a Christian and for several years they wrote letters to one another until the prison administration stopped sending Donaldson’s letters to Bonnie and she stopped receiving letters. Ten years later, Bonnie and Donnie returned to Jethou. They also visited Donaldson who was now out of prison. During their reunion they talked, prayed, and even met his mom. Before they left Donaldson said these parting words, “Bonnie, when we were praying, in my mind, I see you and me together talking and telling our story.”

In 2016, Bonnie and Donnie returned again to Antigua and Barbuda where God opened unimaginable doors. She was invited to speak at several churches, addressed over 500 students at a school and did multiple radio and television interviews. An open air event was organized where high ranking Christian authorities and high ranking government officials came forward on behalf of the entire island to ask forgiveness. During one of the events, the daughter of the mastermind behind the killings asked Bonnie to forgive her for her father’s sins. And, yes, Donaldson and Bonnie did share their story on stage. Bonnie and Donnie are longtime supporters of The 700 Club.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info

Guests
Credits

Author, Bound To A Promise, (Creative Enterprises Studio, 2015)

International speaker

Bible teacher

Former co-owner (with her husband) of Floyd Construction Company

Married to Donnie

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