Having seen the damage caused by Hurricane Irma on the constituent island of St. Maarten, President of the North Caribbean Caribbean Conference, Pastor Desmond James, made a call for all believers to support one another in the long and tedious task of rebuilding.
“The devastation is humongous and awfully terrible,” he said, “but amazingly the members are powerful and Spirit-filled.”
Pastor James was speaking after the third in a series of conventions organized by the administration of the North Caribbean Conference to meet with the constituents on the various islands.
“We had a fruitful talk,” he reiterated. “Pastor Alexander Isaac, ADRA Director of the Caribbean Union preached a powerful sermon to a highly Spirit-filled congregation. We had a blessed surprise when the field officer of the Inter American Division, Pastor Max Laurent, turned up at the service to bring greetings from President Israel Leito. Most amazingly, President Leito called in live from the General Conference meetings in Washington. It was an amazing fellowship. “The devastation in St. Maarten is the worst I have witnessed, but the saints are a resilient and hopeful people,” said the President.
Hurricane Irma which struck the region early in September devastated nine of the ten islands of the North Caribbean Conference with winds in excess of 300 KM per hour for 37 hours – the longest such period ever in history.
President James, whose wife is a citizen of St. Martin, walked through in disbelief at the level of devastation he witnessed. In an emotional he uttered, “My heart goes my people.”
Since the disaster struck, President James has been at the helm of managing the coordination of the NCC response to the islands of the conference. In collaboration with the ADRA Director Wilmoth there has been steady progress in embracing the responsibility of disaster management. “It [a disaster of this magnitude] has never happened before in the history of our conference,” reiterated ADRA coordinator Wilmoth James to the constituents at the Cole Bay Church, but “God will see us through.”
The administration had the opportunity to meet with all the church boards on the island before meeting for the Spirit-filled convention.
ADRA Director Pastor Wilmoth James shared with the believers a report of the response to the disasters around the conference. “We appreciate the efforts of our local and regional leaders and government officials on St. Maarten for all their efforts to help return the island to being healthy, loving, and God-fearing. ADRA will continue accessing the needs of the conference; and with the help of our sister fields, we will pool our resources together to assist our believers.”
The North Caribbean Conference through its ADRA office is coordinating all relief supplies into the conference. Already the island of Tortola has benefitted from a shipment of relief supplies from the Grenada Conference. Interest groups in North America and Europe have expressed their desire to contribute to the rebuilding efforts.
Notwithstanding, the believers continue to forge forward. Last Sabbath almost all the congregations returned to their individual areas of worship around the conference. “Members have been displaced, but we keep thanking God that their eyes are on Jesus, and the mission is still the same – TO MAKE DISCIPLES FOR CHRIST!”