His Excellency Augustus Jaspert, Governor of the British Virgin Islands, recently visited the Carrot Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tortola. The purpose of his visit was to show solidarity to members of the community who suffered loss and damages during the passage of hurricane Irma. He also brought greetings and best wishes from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11.
“When I got here a few weeks ago I thought the beauty of the islands was in the landscape,” the Governor said as he spoke to the congregation gathered for the Sabbath worship service, “but I was wrong. The beauty of the islands is in the spirit of the people. I want you to know that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 is working on your behalf. I am amazed at how resilient you are. Remember we are stronger when we work together,” he continued.
It was the second time the newly appointed Governor of the British Virgin Islands visited the Adventist Church in Carrot Bay. The leaders of the church took the time to offer prayers for him and the other members of his team.
“We were very happy that the Governor chose to visit with us during the worship service,” Bro. Linton Leonard commented. ” This is the second time he is visiting Carrot Bay in a matter of three weeks. “In late August, he visited to celebrate the 100th birthday of Sister Aleatha Fraser, a member of the Carrot Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Hurricane Irma made a direct hit on the British Virgin on October 6th, 2017, packing winds of 185 mph and displacing 22.5 percent of the population. Based on the 2017 population estimates from the Statistics Office, of the 37,017 persons living in the BVI, some 8,328 of them have had to seek alternative shelter.
The community of believers in Tortola suffered major damages to personal and church property. The Road Town and Carrot Bay churches, as well as the Seventh-day Adventist were severely impacted by the hurricane. The entire upstairs of the Road Town Church was dislocated, while storm surge swept through the Carrot Bay Church.
Notwithstanding the disaster, the believers are hopeful and optimistic. “God has been good to us and we are moving on,” said Elder Nigel Henry.
“The members continue to be strong and ,” said Pastor Howard Simon. “Many of them have been affected and we are trying all we can to support them and be there for them. It is a difficult time for them and the church but we are God’s goodness. We are also very mindful of our mission to God and for God.”
The church in the BVI through its arm, ADRA, provided water, canned foods and toiletries to the church and community. The distribution of supplies was coordinated from the North Caribbean Conference office located in St. Croix. Since then, Hurricane Maria has destroyed homes and displaced many residents on St. Croix.
ADRA, led by a team of volunteers, continues to make an impact on the community. This relief arm of the church partnered with the local government to provide training for and help to coordinate the distribution of relief supplies to over 500 families.
The Seventh-day Adventist Community on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada in the British Virgin Islands, worships in nine congregations. The church oversees the BVI SDA School, which is an accredited institution with over 300 students in the primary and secondary divisions.