Adventists in St. Croix Are Encouraged to Move Forward and Serve the Community

Members gathered at the Peter’s Rest Adventist Church in St. Croix, to worship and praise on Sabbath, September 30, 2017, after Hurricane Maria battered last month.  Image by North Caribbean Conference

October 10, 2017 | St. Croix, Virgin Islands | NCC Staff/IAD Staff

Seventh-day Adventists on the island of St. Croix were encouraged by church leaders to press on in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The powerful storm battered the island last month with winds in excess of 175 miles per house, destroying homes, displacing residents and leaving the community hurting.

“Do not allow anything to steal your blessing,” said Pastor Al Powell, youth ministries director for the church in Inter-America, as he addressed more than 500 church members on Sabbath, Sept. 30, 2017, at Peters Rest Adventist Church.

Pastor Al Powell, youth ministries director for the church in Inter-America. Image by North Caribbean Conference

“God knows what would have happened, so keep strength in your hope and don’t allow anything to take your blessing for God is riding in the storm with us,” said Powell as he challenged believers.

Pastor Powell was sent to represent the Inter-American Division (IAD) in a show of solidarity from the top leadership of the church. “Pastor Israel Leito [president of the IAD] sends his prayers and will be diligent in seeking to help to find solutions. We are one family and when you are pained, we share,” said Powell.

“We have called you here to express our sympathy to all of you for what you have been through,” said Pastor Desmond James, president of the North Caribbean Conference.

Pastor James reassured members that the church is there to help and care for them, relying on them to be the hands and feet.

“Go home and engage people, start ministry that will impact the lives of the people of the community,” said James. James, who has experienced many hurricanes, counseled the believers to do some self care.

“Tell the stories of God’s intervention and His power to save,” he said, “The devastation is humongous, we are down but not knocked out. The fact that Pastor Powell is here is an indication that our wider family cares about us.”

More than 500 church members gathered at Peter’s Rest Adventist Church. Image by North Caribbean Conference

Pastor Powell’s visit, though short, was welcomed by all.

“It shows that our church has not forgotten us in our pain, our members are happy to be alive,” said Elder Herman Ravariere, head elder of the Peter’s Rest Adventist Church.

The meeting was an opportunity for members to share God’s intervention in their lives.

“My house roof was gone but I celebrated what God has done and how He protected me,” said Myrtle Rogers with a smile on her face as she sang with the congregation, You Are God Alone.

It was the perfect song for members such as Maisie Willie, who recounted that she left her home to stay with her daughter as together they experienced the terror of Hurricane Maria: “Pastor, I am just glad to be alive. God is good. We had to take refuge in the bathroom and the closet.”

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the North Caribbean Conference has been working together with the church’s various community service ministries to provide meals to communities. Wilmoth James, ADRA North Caribbean director, said ADRA has been sponsoring the meals for nearly two weeks.

So far, more than 900 people are being fed every day through the two churches which have been turned into centers of influence, said Wilmoth. One more center is expected to begin serving meals this weekend.

Wilmoth James, ADRA director in North Caribbean Conference speaks to the membership. Image by North Caribbean Conference

The program is expected to filter through the other islands of the conference, according to Vincent A. David, youth ministries director at the North Caribbean Conference and coordinator of the program.

Even though ADRA does not work in areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works, the church is taking responsibility to look after its members and those around them, said Wilmoth. “People are hurting and their homes are sill wet every time the rain falls,” said James. “This is our opportunity to translate the message of the church into hands and feet and let people know that we are a church that cares for people.”

The offices of the North Caribbean Conference have been closed as church leaders and staff have been assisting at the Peter’s Rest and Central Adventist Churches to prepare and serve hot meals and package food baskets to distribute to those in the community every day. The churches have been functioning as centers of influence, offering prayers and counseling every day from noon to 4:00 p.m. for the last two weeks.

For more information on how you can help church members across the Caribbean Union affected by the recent natural disasters, CLICK HERE

To assist communities affected by the natural disasters across Inter-America, email for additional information.

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Categories From the Field, RSS English | Tags: | Posted on October 11, 2017