St. Lucia – A Memorable Visit
First Few Weeks – Jan 8 to Feb 8
For the first time in many years Bro Andre George was not at the airport to meet us. He had been in Trinidad for five months for medical treatment and was scheduled to return home one week later. All the members of the ecclesia were delighted to see Andre again!
The Tuesday and Thursday classes were started again with increased attendance and interest from some new contacts; Donna (a contact of Bro Edward Anthony) is particularly interested in the Truth. She continues to come and is bringing her children and sister.
For ten days during out stay we were pleased to have the company of bro Clement Williams from the Mount Grace ecclesia in Tobago. Twenty years had passed since he was last in St. Lucia, so the ecclesial scene is quite different from 1999! His help with exhortations and classes was much appreciated. Having ‘retired’ he is determined that not so much time will elapse before he returns.
Our Final Weekend
Our final weekend (February 8-10) in St. Lucia was one to remember – for all involved in the occasion. Ten brothers and sisters from the United States arrived on Thursday evening and returned home on Monday morning. But their time in St. Lucia was packed with activities.
On Friday morning the ten plus members of the ecclesia went into Castries (a short walk from the CBMC Mission House) to hand out literature on a variety of Bible first principles. We separated into groups of two and three agreeing to meet an hour later at a particular landmark. The purpose was to engage people in a conversation suggesting that they meet with us for a discussion on the Bible. Typically, in the Caribbean people are willing to accept literature on the Bible. The challenge comes when in due time it is pointed out that baptism with a correct understanding of the gospel is needed.
On Friday evening, the visitors, using their two rented vehicles gave a ride to their guest house to as many members as were available for fellowship. We had picked up the keyboard and extra chairs from the ecclesial hall to accommodate the group. The weather was magnificent, and we all sat on the large balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea, as we sang hymns, read and got acquainted.
On the following morning (Saturday) all the visitors came to the CBMC Mission House and then walked to the market. The market early on a Saturday morning is packed with stalls selling all kinds of fresh fruit, vegetables, spices etc. Many of the sellers of produce are from the country and jabber away in the French based patois, but of course know English because that is the language of the government and business. All the visitors enjoyed the experience.
Later in the day we had arranged a Study Day in the guest house, inviting all the members. Brother Erik Sternad gave three very practical addresses on Overcoming Temptation. During the breaks some went swimming while others chatted. The three classes were followed by a sumptuous dinner of several varieties of local fish, rice and salads. Staff at the guest house had cooked the fish that bro Fred Bearden (with assistance from Bre. Andre George and Edward Anthony) had purchased the previous evening at the local fish market. Again, the evening was beautiful and the view across the entrance to the Castries harbour magnificent.
On Sunday arrangements had been made to pick up as many members as possible to attend the memorial service. Bro Jim Brinkerhoff presided, and Bro Fred Bearden exhorted on a theme related to Bro Erik Sternad’s talks of the previous day, dealing with temptations that come in our lives. Nineteen brothers and sisters present plus several contacts. The only member unable to attend was Sis Jessica Ortega. Jessica had to fly to Martinique for urgent medical treatment the previous Wednesday. Since returning to Canada we have heard from her. She is doing well, and we pray that she will be home soon.
After a KFC lunch Bro Erik Sternad gave his fourth class on Overcoming Temptation and in this class used Biblical examples as the basis of discussion, with several hymn breaks between the examples. The singing led by Sister Kellie Gelineau on the keyboard was magnificent. Something the local brothers and sister do enjoy is singing hymns of praise!
The strongly expressed desire of the ecclesial members is for the occasion to be repeated in the not too distant future.
Written by Bro. Martin & Sis. Lois Webster, St. Lucia Link Couple