The beautiful Island of Tobago nestled next to its sister island, Trinidad, lies at the very end of the Caribbean islands chain, and only a few miles from the coast of Venezuela. (7mi). It has the strongest economy in the Caribbean due to large oil and gas deposits. Although English is the official language, an English Creole dialect is the main spoken language. 36% of the population is of African descent, hearkening back to the dark days of slavery in the sugar cane industry.
Mt. Grace is the only ecclesia on Tobago, and is a vibrant congregation of about 35 members. In late March, a small group of brothers and sisters from California took a CBM organized trip to visit this ecclesia. (travel expenses paid for by the participants) Bro. Jerry Hirst of the San Francisco ecclesia went first to join the CBMA link man, Bro. Brad Butts of Denver, Colorado, as they visited the ecclesias on the island of Trinidad. After that, we all met in Tobago for the second half of the visit.
The intention of this visit was twofold:
- to encourage the brothers and sisters of Tobago by enjoying fellowship with their brethren from other parts of the world,
- to introduce the California brethren to their Caribbean ecclesial family and make permanent connections.
It was a wonderful weekend of fellowship indeed!
Bro. Jeff Gelineau shared a series of classes titled “The Footsteps of Abraham” which were very well received by young and old. Bro. Kent Ellis provided the exhortation on Sunday focusing on the common experiences we all share as brothers and sisters of Christ, regardless of where we live in the world. The ecclesia provided a lovely pot-luck lunch for us all to share and enjoy together after the Memorial Service.
An extra-special aspect of this visit was an eye clinic that was provided on Saturday. Sis. Sherry Luskin’s husband, Steve, is an optometrist. Steve and Sherry provided eye exams for over 45 people that day, and also distributed free magnifying readers and eye drops that they had brought from California. Steve was able to diagnose whether they had healthy vision, or if they needed to pursue vision correction for near-sightedness or cataracts, etc. Probably the most thrilling part of the clinic was seeing the joy on people’s faces when they saw clearly for the first time in years because of the magnifying readers that the Luskins provided. One sister had not been able to read her Bible for some time because of her vision degeneration, and she was thrilled!
The Mt. Grace ecclesia is extremely warm and hospitable to visitors. There were a few tears shed as we all said good-bye to one another, appreciating the opportunity and blessings that we had all gained by sharing this time together.
Please consider visiting this lovely ecclesia on the beautiful Caribbean island of Tobago. You will be greatly blessed by the experience. If you have any questions about visiting Trinidad or Tobago, please contact Bro. Brad Butts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Sis. Kelly Gelineau