Trusting God When the Unthinkable Happens
Bound to a Promise tells the amazing true story of God’s faithfulness in the face of unimaginable loss. Bonnie Floyd’s father and stepmother had been living a dream life—serving as caretakers of a private tropical island and traveling the world in a sailboat. That life was cut short when three young men boarded their yacht as it was anchored off the coast of Antigua. Determined that there should be no witnesses to their theft and brutality, the assailants shot all four people on board.
At 6:00 a.m. on a cold, foggy day in Fresno, California, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. The U.S. Embassy notified me that my parents, Bill and Kathy Clever, (my father and stepmother) had been brutally murdered, along with two others, on board the yacht Challenger. For many years, my parents had lived a life of adventure. They traveled the world together on their sailboat. Then they became the caretakers of a private island that belonged to a wealthy British businessman. My parents, as a Christmas bonus, had been given a two week trip aboard the yacht Challenger; on what should have been a relaxing and fabulous Caribbean vacation. Instead, every person aboard had been shot to death as the ship was anchored in Antigua. It would take over two years for the assailants to be brought to justice.
Q & A with Bonnie Floyd
Q: You chose the title Bound to a Promise. Tell us about the promise that became the focal point of your story.
A: After I became a Christian and married my wonderful husband, Donnie, we seized every opportunity to share our faith with my parents. The thought of them spending eternity separated from God was too much for me to bear. Over the years, they became more open to hearing the gospel. For example, my mom kept a daily scripture calendar I sent her in the kitchen where she worked as a chef and read the verse to my dad every day. She even mentioned praying for us. My Dad was supportive, but many of our conversations ended with his saying, “Honey, it has obviously made a positive change in your life, but I’m doing just fine the way I am.” In one of my final conversations with my parents, they told the story of a friend who had nearly drowned after falling overboard in a storm. I decided to seize the opportunity and said, “Dad, just promise me one thing—if you and Mom ever get into a position where you fear for your life, you will call on the name of Jesus.”
Surprisingly, without any hesitation, he looked me right in the eye and said, “I promise you, if I ever get into a position where I fear for my life, I will call on the name of Jesus, but I have never been, nor will I ever be, in a position where I am not in total control.” I knew my dad so well, and while to some people that statement would have sounded arrogant, I knew there was a lot of truth in his assertion. What Dad didn’t acknowledge, which many people don’t, is the fact that a day is coming in every person’s life that he cannot control. On that day he will need a savior. And Romans 10:13 is comforting because it says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
In a way, there were two promises at the heart of the book. One was my father’s promise that he would call on Jesus if he was afraid for his life. The other is God’s promise that he will save everyone who calls on his name.
Q: You were originally told by the U.S. Embassy that your parents were shot in their sleep. Later, you discovered that, in reality, they had been bound and gagged before they were killed. How did you react to that news?
A: I knew Paul, the man who called from the U.S. Embassy, was prepared for another cry of anguish. However, what he got from me was not at all what he expected. While staying on my knees in a position of worship, I said, “I know for most people, the fact that they [my parents] were bound and gagged would be a torturous thought, but for me, it isn’t. It is the answer I have been crying out to God for. 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.”
Bound to a Promise
By Bonnie Floyd
Creative Enterprises Studio