Barbados in February
Barbados, one of the paradise vacation spots for people from all over the globe, has recently announced its intention to cease being a constitutional monarchy, therefore removing the Queen as its head of state. The government is now headed by three strong women: President Sandra Mason, Prime-Minister Mia Mottley and Deputy Prime-Minister Santia Bradshaw, the granddaughter of our own Sister Ida Yearwood, who died in 2019, at the age of 93. I remember as a kid, she was quite stern, in fact, many of the brethren dared not question her authority, for she was one of the oldest members, some 40 years after the truth first arrived there in 1892. Back in the 1980’s, on one occasion, we wanted to sing, “How Great Thou Art” at the CYC, however, she firmly maintained that if it was not in the hymn book, we could not sing it!
Upon arrival at the Grantley Adams International airport, we had to traverse what seemed like the length of the facility, as we made our way to our car rental. Thankfully, Bro. Jonathan Ramlochan was there to guide us to our villa on the West Coast. Even with GPS, the many round-abouts are quite a challenge to those who are accustomed to stop lights and intersections, not to mention driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and sitting in the right side of the car. Instead of the blinker, the wipers came on a few times. However, most Bajan drivers are quite patient and will allow the silly tourists some leeway since they will only be here for a week or two. And so, we were quite grateful to Bro. Jonathan who took time off from Digicel to accompany us on a few occasions across the Island.
It was quite a delight to see our brethren some after over 20 years, and despite the pandemic still not completely over on the island, there were about 20 members present at the Bank Hall Ecclesial Hall. These included: the
Baileys with Bro. Rudolph at the Piano. I remember him from many years ago and how he got interested in the Truth, after being the musician for years; the Caines, whom we also met on several occasions at the Caribbean camps over the years; the Haynes, who live a short walk from the meeting place; as do the Ramlochans; Sis. Bev, who lives nearby and ensures that the building is open and ready for meetings each week, Sis. Judy, who also attended several Caribbean camps with the CYC’ers; Sis. Kim, who remembered me from childhood days, along with Sis. Tania and Bro. Anthony and Bro. Oral and their families. We also had Bro. Clive and Sis. Joanne Wilton from Birmingham on their annual visit to the island. We did notice, however, that there were no Sunday school kids and, upon inquiry, found out that, sadly, some of them were scolded by a sister for running thru the building a while back and since then have stopped coming. Of course, the current pandemic has not helped the situation. It reminded me of an unscriptural policy someone at my own meeting was trying to enforce years ago, that children should not be at the breaking of bread.
Thankfully, the arranging brothers were able to squash such a ruling and we are delighted to have our young at our meetings, after all, they are the future of our ecclesias, should our Lord delay his coming. We were also able to chat briefly with Bro. David Bancroft, who has a meeting in his own home with a few members.
One of our highlights was our journey across to Lakes Village, St. Andrew, to the home of Sis. Murl Marshall baptized in 1961. Again even with GPS we were brought to a few streets away from her home, however as soon as we inquired we were immediately guided to her home, as she is one of the oldest residents there. Upon arrival, we saw Sammy (her cousin) sitting on his front porch reading from the Psalms and were blown away when he immediately not only recognized us from 35 years ago but called out my name. We were able to spend a few hours recollecting some great memories and taking a short tour of the yard, even though the fruits are now being harvested illegally by young men who traverse the island via pick-up trucks collecting especially the coconuts and selling them for $3 each in the cities.
Another highlight was reconnecting with another family, the Gibsons. Back in the 80’s we had gone to the island for a 3-month missionary stay and had rented a villa from them in Paynes Bay, St. James. The children attended the meeting and CYC with us but sadly we lost our connection after leaving the island. And now, it so happened, that the street we rented from was the same street they happen to still be living on. Again, I was completely amazed when Bradley, who now resides in England, but happened to be on the island, recognized and called me by name. Matrina, his sister, is a horticulturist and has numerous plants all over her place. This time, we hope to maintain our connection, in the hopes that they eventually come to a knowledge of the truth. I attempted to reconnect with Santia, another childhood friend, however, no doubt her duties within the present government and system of things did not allow for that.
Hopefully, with a new laptop, webcam, and mic, they will soon be able to broadcast via Zoom, so that we can tune in from time to time and lend support to this Caribbean Island. If you have a love for the island flavor…fresh fish, such as Mahi, Rainbow, Bill fish, Congalie, and flying fish…and do not mind 80 plus degrees year-round, as well as beautiful beaches, then this is the island that could use a few capable brethren to further the gospel message. Historically, Bajans have been very keen bible students, even their prime-minister quotes from the bible, so be prepared to defend the scriptures, as we all should be!