March 11, 2024

Visit to St. Lucia

By Bro. Martin & Sis. Lois Webster

We no sooner arrived at the Mission Apt., than to be met by our landlady’s helpers telling us that she had just died.  Doris Bailey was 97 and had been failing for some weeks.  This was not surprising since she’d been ill for a while.  Owing to family constraints, the funeral would not be until 7th February, and Linkman, Bro. Mike LeDuke, asked if we could stay an additional week to represent the Christadelphians on that occasion.  We were able to move our flight and we got to know Doris’ niece, Ruth McFarlane quite well as she came quite often to sort things out and prepare the house for the reception following the funeral service at the Methodist church in Castries.

Our main activities consisted of the Sunday meetings, and events at the apartment during the week with the various members and contacts.  Martin exhorted each Sunday, with Brothers Benji, Gabriel and Julian helping with readings and prayers.   We used the No. Christadelphian Choir recording as the basis for our singing.  Everyone sings along with the choir especially when we have favorites such as ‘Great is thy Faithfulness’ and ‘To God be the Glory’. 

After lunch together, we would have an afternoon program, usually a topic from the readings, and one time, a visual presentation by Bro. Andy Walton on the current Middle East War.  Some Sundays, a long-term contact, Stan Drapin would sit at the back.  So far, he hasn’t made a move to be baptized, but he has a good Bible knowledge and agrees with us on many first principles.

A very interested contact, Nasha Louis, so far hasn’t attended on Sundays, but comes every Tuesday, after dropping her children at school.  She is keen to learn the first principles and has nearly completed a course of lessons (on with Bro. Mike, so he came on Zoom and we join the discussion as well. Following the session with Nasha, at about 11:30, other members of the ecclesia arrived for a Bible Class. Bro. Mike had already started a series on the Epistle to the Philippians.  Nasha stayed for this as well.  After this, we would have lunch together and whoever could stay would do the Bible readings with us.  Other days, Julian Jackson (baptized a year ago) would come in for Bible readings and discussion. Julian is a good student of the Bible and enjoyed doing the readings with us and discussing them, sometimes at length! He is currently seeking employment and  Martin spent time and effort with him to work out an employment plan.  They developed a resume, attended an employment agency and obtained a ‘clean’ Police report, a routine requirement by the agency.  We pray that Julian can find something suitable in the near future.

Julie attends on Sundays, and requires help because she is deaf.  It is necessary to sit by her and write notes of all the speaking.  She reads her Bible, and likes to sing the hymns (as best she can) with gusto!  Sis. Dawn Hutchison has a key to the apartment and when there isn’t a visiting brother, she opens the apartment on Sundays and organizes the Zoom connection with the Kitchener, Ontario ecclesia. On Tuesdays, Sis. Dawn, with other members, comes to the apartment for the Zoom class with Bro Mike.

On the last Wednesday of our visit, we attended the funeral of our former landlady Doris at the Methodist Church in Castries. It was a long service with the niece Ruth and her brother giving eulogies and then the minister giving a long sermon and five hymns.  He didn’t actually talk about heaven much, although the others referred to it.  He actually tied in the three Bible readings delivered by members of the family quite nicely.  They were: the death of Moses, Matt. 25 and the parable of the ten virgins, and two verses from Revelation, ‘Blessed are they that die in the Lord…’

Since the funeral, Bro. Mike has been in touch with Ruth, the new landlady and an interesting proposition has arisen.  She doesn’t intend to sell the property and has asked if the Christadelphians would like to rent both the apartment and the house. It should be clarified that they are separate buildings on the same piece of land. But linked with a short, covered walkway.

Renting the 3-bedroom house (with a secure space for a vehicle), the potential for a missionary family to come for an extended stay to promote the gospel, start and run a Sunday school, and have one-on-one classes with contacts. This is an exciting prospect! It has been found that long-term missionaries in such a place make a significant difference in spreading the gospel and baptizing people.  The full facility can conveniently house two couples at one time.

This is an opportunity that is worthy of serious consideration and support.

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