St. Lucia Missionary Trip

The following article from Bro. David and Sis. Joan Andrews, describes their recent trip to St. Lucia, from Guyana where they have been helping in various ecclesias.

Return to St Lucia

On Friday 6-July-12 Joan and I once again left Guyana on a three-week visit to the beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia (our third in three years) and as usual we were welcomed at the Vigie Airport just outside the capital of Castries, by our fellow labourers and local Brothers, Andre George and Eddie Anthony.

Public Lectures

Photo 1

On our previous visit in August/September 2011 we held a number of public lectures that focussed on Israel and the many signs that herald the return of Christ. On this occasion we chose to follow through with five lectures surrounding the theme: How shall a man cleanse his way?

The related topics were: 1) A dream coming true; 2) Signs of the times; 3) The world today and you; 4) The world tomorrow and you; and 5) Making it right with God.

Flyers were prepared and distributed. The response while not as encouraging as expected, saw a number of visitors faithfully returning on each occasion.

Something new!

Photo 2

During this visit we were very pleased to observe an added feature of gospel proclamation entitled “Lunch & Learn” being practised and for which the Ecclesia should be complimented, in that each Tuesday and Thursday the Hall is opened to interested friends during the mid-day hour for Bible discussions. Because this exercise entails visitors foregoing their lunch, light refreshments are offered.

During our stay, the book of Acts of the Apostles happened to come under review, and again, a core of about four to five interested friends, as well as a few Brethren who could make it, repeatedly showed up to share in this spiritual treat. This exercise presents many opportunities to focus on Bible first principles, prophecy, and early Church history, thus helping with a greater understanding of the purpose of God. As such, this new practice carries potential to attract the serious enquirer and should be encouraged, perhaps by more aggressive advertisement, personal and otherwise.

Over the three weeks, we were privileged to share in six such sessions touching on Acts chapters 20 through 24 and each of them involved lively discussions and serious Bible questions from our visiting friends. Topics raised during these sessions included: 1) Holy Spirit Gifts; 2) Sabbath Keeping; and 3) Citizenship of the Kingdom.

Home visits

Photo 3

On 12 July, we once again seized the opportunity to visit the Lambert family who were instrumental in aiding our early preaching work in St Lucia, only on this occasion, the matriarch Mrs Lambert had recently died after a prolonged illness. We however met at her sister Ahya’s residence, just about a hundred yards further down the road. Sadly, Ahya also is confined to a wheel chair. This however did not prevent her enthusiasm in the presence of her five visiting friends as we expounded the good news of the Kingdom of God and tried to comfort her in her physical distress.

Joan and I also paid our usual visit to the home of elderly Bro George Rock, who lives in Gros Islet, near the tourist resort of Rodney Bay, as well as our dear Bro Sydney Enebelli and Sister/wife Ruth who invited us for a lovely dinner and fellowship around the Word. We were glad to again see Ruth’s two sisters, Sister Lois Hammond and Eunice who were spending holidays away from home in Canada.

Beach Party!

It was one of St Lucia’s national holidays on Monday 16 July and we thought it convenient to get away to a somewhat different setting and escape the city noise that usually accompany such revelry, so we invited all the Brethren to come with their bathing suits and Bibles and join us for a trip to Pigeon Island.

The only music we played came from our excited chatter over the Bible readings. The sunbathers at Pigeon Point must have thought us a strange and anachronistic bunch! We didn’t care being heard and would have welcomed interested listeners but they kept their distance! What’s more – there were lots of good Caribbean food to help keep the physical side happy. Sorry only six of us were able to make the trip.

Brethren’s Class and MIC

It was good to be able to meet with the Brothers specifically to consider tips for improving our service in the Ecclesia. We considered points on presiding, prayer, and how to prepare Bible addresses.

Ecclesia support

By Friday 27 July it was time to leave St Lucia, together with Andre and Eddie, and head for Tobago to attend the Bible School and 13th Triennial Caribbean Youth Camp. Having these two Brethren in attendance no doubt should prove good exposure to the overall benefit of the St Lucia Ecclesia in the long term, seeing there is only one Meeting on the island. They also went on to visit the Ecclesias in Guyana where they rendered yeoman service by way of exhortation, public lecture, Bible Class, and Youth Circle.

Again, we sincerely wish to register our appreciation for this opportunity to share in the work in St Lucia.

Submitted by Sis. Jan Berneau

CBMA/CBMC Publicity

The Road to Panama

The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal

Flying from El Salvador to Panama City, Bro. Don Luff and I were met by Bro. Luis Sobles of the Colón Ecclesia. The weather in tropical Panama was a bit rainy and saturated with high humidity, and quite different from the climate of California.  Yet again the warm greetings of a brother in the one faith melts those differences, and we were welcomed into his and Sis. Vanessa’s home.

On Thursday, Bro. Luis took me to the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal and we watched the tugs ready the ships to pass through the locks built in 1913. Six locomotives pull the ship ever so carefully through the locks as the ships move from the level of Gatun Lake down 87 feet to sea level. So tight is the clearance on either side that the huge ships are only 12-15 inches from the walls.

Literature at the preaching effort in Colon
Literature at the preaching effort in Colon

For this trip, the Colón Ecclesia had planned a special effort on Saturday featuring four classes. The activity was promoted in several ways, including placing 50 posters into local businesses, distributing 500 handbills, radio announcements, newspaper ads, and guests were personally invited. Distributing the handbills along the main street in town on Friday, we found that passersby were eager to take the handbills and all were distributed in less than an hour. An air-conditioned Banquet Hall had been secured, and Saturday morning all of the members of the Colón Ecclesia were readying the facility for the classes. Apparently true to the custom of Panamanians, no guests were in attendance at the 11:00 AM start time. By 11:45, however, the first wave had arrived, and guests were streaming in all day until there were 25 visitors, and 13 of their children.  That was double the size of the 12  embers, and 6 of their children.

Group photo of most of those who attended the preaching effort in Colon on June 2nd.
Group photo of most of those who attended the preaching effort in Colon on June 2nd.

There were three classes on “The Messiah” given by Bro. Don and I wound up the day with the PowerPoint presentation “The Crossing of the Red Sea”.
The guests had so bonded with the members that they willingly participated in the group photo afterwards.  Unlike guests to our own ecclesia in Simi Hills, California, this group found the literature table especially interesting and every piece of the 200 or so pamphlets sent down by Bro. and Sis. Jim and Jean Hunter were taken. Six of the guests returned on Sunday for Memorial Service, and stayed for the presentation on “The Miracle of Israel”. In our home ecclesia, guests are often quiet and reserved but here in Colón, the guests were talkative, participated in the activities, joined in the group picture, and actually made the day an enjoyable one for everyone.

Sunday night we moved to Gamboa and visited Bro. and Sis. Jay and Llori Gibson of the Panama City Ecclesia whose home is on the edge of Gatun Lake. We shared the classes with them, and the next day we watched the myriad of ships pass by just a stone’s throw from their patio. As our trip drew to a close, I thought of how wonderful it is to share fellowship with brethren and sisters I had not known before, but now have fond memories of, and wish us all to be together in the kingdom.

Bro. Doug Hawthorne, Simi Hills, CA

The Truth in El Salvador

Bro. Doug being met at the airport by Bro. Manuel and Sis. Sylvia Fernandez
Bro. Doug being met at the airport by Bro. Manuel and Sis. Sylvia Fernandez

After expressing an interest to participate in a CBMA mission effort to Central America, I was connected with Bro. Don Luff of Brantford, Ontario, and he gently encouraged me in the weeks ahead of the planned visit in late May. I prepared 3 classes using PowerPoint in English, and set about to translate them to Spanish using Google, as it had been over 50 years since I took Spanish in High School and I was a bit rusty. I found that using Google was far from successful, as it had trouble translating the incomplete sentences in my ‘bullet points’ of the presentation. Google translated the Catholic Pope as ‘El Papa Frite’, or in other words, the big French fry. A better plan was to engage my colleagues at work, most of whom were from Central America originally. They were very helpful and showed interest especially in the “Mark of the Beast” presentation.

On landing in San Salvador, I was greeted by an exuberant Bro. Manuel and Sis. Sylvia Fernandez. The warm hugs and welcome was quite indicative of the reception that we would soon receive from the members of the three ecclesias we planned to visit over the next few days. Bro. Don joined us in the airport and we set off to San Salvador to stay at the home of Bro. Manuel and Sis. Sylvia.

The ecclesia at Sonsonate
The ecclesia at Sonsonate

Saturday we traveled to the Sonsonate Ecclesia, where about 30 members including children, were delighted to see us. Many of them spoke better English than I could speak Spanish. Bro. Don helped me present the class on “The Crossing of the Red Sea”, and we were able to show a probable crossing point by Israel of the Gulf of Aqaba capped with a mini-video of divers locating coral encrusted structures of chariot wheels and axles. The Ecclesia managed with my feeble Spanish, which was interpreted by Bro. Don, who also presented a Bible Study of the “Vineyard of the Lord”. The day finished up with a hot meal and warm fellowship together.

On Sunday, many of the members of the Sonsonate and Usulatán Ecclesias joined us at the San Salvador Ecclesial Hall for Memorial Service. There were about 120 Bre. and Sis. including a goodly number of children. All of the people were quite warm and friendly and the bonding together of brothers and sisters in the one faith is something that is quite exhilarating to experience. It certainly helps to build one’s faith in the Lord, and demonstrates the fact that we are truly one family.

The ecclesia at Usulután
The ecclesia at Usulután

On Tuesday we visited the Usulatán Ecclesia located about two hours to the South. Set in a small community replete with chickens and dogs, we found a very faithful group who had labored together for more than a week prior to our arrival. Originally a small house, the hall was transformed with a new concrete floor, fresh paint inside and outside, a new electrical service, and then a podium and benches were added.

Outside, a new patio cover and sanitary facilities had been completed. We were told that all of the members had participated in readying the hall for this special day. Oven baked chicken and rice were prepared in the outdoor brick oven, and was enjoyed by all. Bro. Don presented the “Christadelphians: Who are We and What do We Believe?” and I presented the “Mark of the Beast”. The classes were well received and the warm fellowship continued long after it turned dark. Bro. Julio Garcia expressed everyone’s thanks to the CBMA for its generosity in helping with the hall refurbishing. His closing prayer was filled with thanksgiving and tearful emotions, and it touched every heart.

Yes, the Truth is quite alive in El Salvador, and what a wonderful experience it was.

Bro. Doug Hawthorne, Simi Hills, CA