From the Superintendent's DESK
Bob Downey, Director of North America Work, and his wife, Cheryl, arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to visit seven of the eleven churches on the island of St. Vincent, as well as our church on the neighboring island of Bequia.
On Saturday morning, January 19, a ministers’ and workers’ meeting was held in Paul Over, the location of the headquarters church. All of the churches on the island were represented, including Bequia.
Christopher King, the District Superintendent of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, welcomed everyone, and then Brother Bob spoke on the topic of “The Purpose of Our Calling.” He brought out that all workers, whether pastors, ministers, Sunday school teachers, ushers, etc., are called by God to help spread the Gospel and promote unity. He divided his discussion into eight categories: The Call to Preach; Spiritual Qualifications; Personal Fitness; Conduct; Accountability to God; Loyalty; Leadership; and The Connection with Headquarters. After the meeting everyone enjoyed a time of fellowship as a light lunch was provided.
The next morning, the Downeys traveled by ferry with six other church members to Bequia for the Sunday devotional service. The original church building was destroyed in a storm, and the current building has been under construction for a number of years as funds have become available. Since the Downeys were there last year, the sanctuary has been completed, and the temporary wall separating the finished from the unfinished portion of the building has been removed, making for a nice-sized sanctuary. There is still considerable work to be done outside and in the basement, but the congregation is hopeful that much of the work will be completed in the next year or so.
In spite of having no electricity on the island due to repairs, there was a sweet spirit on the service. It started with a short Sunday school session conducted by the pastor, Lincoln Ragguette, followed immediately by the worship service. Brother Lincoln’s wife, Vilma, led the congregational singing, and the enthusiasm could be felt throughout the sanctuary. The song books had words, but no music, so some of the hymns were sung to different tunes than the Downeys were used to, but they were able to follow along. Several shared their testimonies, and before the sermon, a lady sang “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” from the bottom of her heart. The message was taken from Psalm 100:1-5, and brought out that while God knows what we need and what we are going through, He wants us to bring our needs to Him with hearts of praise and thanksgiving.
On Monday evening, the Downeys’ driver took them to our church on Cedars Hill, which is located in Charlotte on the northeast side of the island. Although the distance is less than eleven miles from Kingstown (where they are staying), it took over an hour to get there because of traffic and narrow roads. The congregation does not have a pastor at this time, but Carmen Caine is serving as an interim leader. After welcoming everyone, she turned the service over to Elizabeth Medford, a visiting minister from Paul Over.
After congregational singing, several stood to give their testimonies, including a man who said he had a renter who was not paying rent, but rather than evict the renter, he felt the need to wait on God’s timing. He soon found out there was more to the situation than he realized, and he is so thankful that he relied on God’s timing to resolve the matter. Another man testified that last October, he ended up in the hospital because his blood pressure was so high it would not register, but after asking for prayer, God touched him. Before the sermon, the congregation sang “Hallelujah, Praise the Lamb.” Brother Bob took a portion of Amos 4:12 for his text, “Prepare to meet thy God.” He used several examples of evacuation plans in school, business, and airplanes to emphasize the need to make preparations in this life to make Heaven our home. A sweet time of prayer followed.
On Tuesday afternoon, Frank Matthews, a retired pastor, took the Downeys to lunch at the Cobblestone Restaurant in downtown Kingstown. They were joined at the restaurant by Brother King, Sister Medford, and Elizabeth Haynes, whose husband pastored the church in Gorse Estate until he passed away. After lunch, the Downeys and Brother King accompanied Brother Matthews to visit Leroy Allen, the pastor in Penniston, who has been ill for some time. He was very appreciative of the visit and prayers.
The Downeys will continue their visit with a service at Dorsetshire Hill next.