First Impressions of Guyana
Bro. Mark Carr asked me to accompany him this past January for a two-week pastoral visit to Guyana, South America. When we landed at the airport outside of Georgetown, the memories came flooding back of the time some forty years earlier, when I first set foot in the tropical mission fields of Central America and spent over two years living in El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama.
The Guyanese have right-hand drive vehicles and drive on the left-hand side of the roads, opposite of what most North Americans are used to. They also make very good use of their horns! I was thankful to be driven around as I, personally, would not venture to drive in Georgetown on my own, not knowing the area and especially due to the traffic and condition of many of the roads!
For the first week, I stayed with Bro. David & Sis. Joan Andrews and visited the ecclesias in Demerara (Georgetown, Eccles, and Mocha), while Mark visited the ecclesias in Berbice (Kilcoy, New Amsterdam, and Plegt Anker). Mornings started early with fresh fruit, which I mistakenly assumed was breakfast. This was followed by a discussion of the daily Bible readings, and then, a hearty “second” breakfast was served!
I arrived early on Wednesday in Guyana, which gave me time to meet and visit with many of the brothers, sisters and young people in their homes over several days, before giving a Bible class, CYC class, public lecture and a joint Memorial Meeting at Mocha, with over 70 in attendance. In every home I visited, I was served a very generous meal.
The second week I stayed in New Amsterdam with Bro. Deo & Sis. Jemmy Budhan and their 12-year-old son, Daniel, and visited the ecclesias in Berbice. Bro. Deo is a taxi driver and works from 6 am to 6 pm. Discussion of the daily Bible readings was done in the evenings following dinner.
Mark and I visited the Plegt Anker farm one afternoon, where we enjoyed another ecclesial meal, and on Saturday, we also attended the joint CNYC and CALSG meetings held at Kilcoy, before returning to Georgetown for the final weekend. One of the highlights of the visit was the joint Memorial Meeting at Georgetown on Sunday, which included the baptism and right-hand of fellowship of Sis. Danielle Semple. Lunch was served to the over 100 in attendance.
Bro. Charles & Sis. Candace Harricharran of the Eccles ecclesia live in La Parfaite, which providing the floating bridge is open, is about one hour away. Bro. Charles & Sis. Candace Harricharran have organized a growing Sunday School (20) and CYC (12) out of their home. Bro. Mark gave the public lecture at their home on Sunday evening. During the opening hymn, many children from the neighborhood joined us, followed shortly by their parents. In the end, 28 adults and 10 children listened to “America, Iran and the Middle East – Peace or War?” La Parfaite could have the seeds of a new ecclesia.
After our two-week visit, we left Guyana with many fond memories of the brothers and sisters we had met, their love of the Word, and their generous hospitality.
Bro. Brian Carrick (Toronto West, Canada)