Adventists on St. Croix Reminded , “Do Not Allow Anything to Steal Your Blessings

Pastor Al Powell, Youth Director of the Inter American Division (IAD), inspired over 500 members who met on Sabbath, September 30, 2017, at the Peter’s Rest Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. He told them, “Do not allow anything to steal your ...

News October 10, 2017

Pastor Al Powell, Youth Director of the Inter American Division (IAD), inspired over 500 members who met on Sabbath, September 30, 2017, at the Peter’s Rest Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. He told them, “Do not allow anything to steal your blessing.” It was the first time the believers were meeting since Hurricane Maria battered the island with winds in excess of 175 miles per hour. The Category 5 hurricane destroyed homes, displaced residents and left the community hurting. The meeting was an opportunity for members to give expression to their feelings of God’s intervention in their lives. Pastor Powell’s encouragement resonated with the congregation as he challenged the believers, “God knows what would have happened. Keep strength in your hope and don’t allow anything to take your blessing. God is riding in the storm with us.”

Powell was sent to represent the Inter-American Division in a show of solidarity the leadership of the Church. He brought greetings from the President, Israel Leito, and the other members of the Administration: “ Leito sends his prayers and will be diligent in seeking to help to find solutions to our pain. We are one family and when you are pained, we share.”
“We have called you here to express our sympathy to all of you for what you have been through,” said the President of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC), Pastor Desmond James, “We are with you all in this together. We feel your pain and share in your situation. This is our first opportunity to remind you that we are here for you. In order to do that, the Administration is willing to do as much as we can to allow you to be our hands and feet. Go home and engage people, start that will impact the lives of the people of the community.” President James, who has been through hurricanes before, the believers to do some . “Tell the stories of God’s intervention and His power to save,” he said, “The devastation is humongous, we are down but not knocked out. We did it before and we will do it again. The fact that Pastor Powell is here is an indication that our wider family cares about us. Leito has sent him here to let us know that the Inter-American Division is concerned about us as part of the church family.”

Powell’s visit, though short, was welcomed by all. “It shows that our church has not forgotten us in our pain. Our members are happy to be alive,” said Elder Herman Ravariere, First Elder of the Peter’s Rest SDA Church.  That was evident in the expressions of praise as the members celebrated the intervention of God during the September 19th experience.

“My house roof was gone but I celebrated what God has done and how He protected me,” said Sister Myrtle Rogers with a smile on her face as she sang with the congregation, You Are God Alone. Somehow it was the perfect song for members such as Sister Maisie Willie who recounted that she left her home to stay with her daughter as together they experienced the terror of Hurricane Maria: “Pastor, I am just glad to be alive. God is good. We had to take refuge in the bathroom and the closet.” Filled with emotions, Sister Willie lifted her hands in praise to God for His deliverance in her life.

Adventist Development and Relief Agency, ADRA, Director, Wilmoth James much to the approval of the congregation, shared the intention of the North Caribbean Conference, through ADRA, to sponsor three of influence which will serve up to 1000 meals to the community of St. Croix, beginning immediately. The program, coordinated by Vincent A. David, is expected to filter through the other islands of the Conference. “People are hurting,” said James, “and we need to look after them and take care of their needs. We know that ADRA does not work in areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) [works], but we have a duty to look after our members and those around them and that we will do. People’s homes are still wet and getting wet every time the rain falls. This is our opportunity to translate the message of the church into hands and feet and let people know that we are a church that cares for people.”

According to a 2010 census, 22% of the Virgin Islands’ nearly 105,000 residents live in poverty. Some people are yet to receive help and are without basic necessities. As Adventists, we believe that there is a work to be done. Radio callers are indicating that some people have run out of money. Members are anxiously looking forward to the opening of the of influence to volunteer in the community. Indeed, there is a blessing coming their way and they are committed to not allowing anything or anyone to steal their blessing.