Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders from the Caribbean Union Conference and the North Caribbean Conference welcomed Dr. Elie Henry, President of the SDA Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD), to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten on January 11, 2019. The planned two-day visit represented Dr. Henry’s first itinerary for 2019 and his first visit to the island since assuming the presidency.
The delegation of greeters at the Princess Juliana Airport included the President of the SDA Church in the Caribbean Union, Dr. Kern Tobias, and Pastor Desmond James, President of the SDA Church in the North Caribbean Conference.
“We welcome you to the North Caribbean Conference,” said Pastor Desmond James. “The Church on St. Maarten is happy to welcome you back and wants to hear your message.” While serving as Secretary of the IAD, Dr. Henry visited the island, on a few occasions, as a member of ministerial teams which offered training to the two Haitian congregations.
Dr. Henry’s visit was scheduled to include: Leading an ordination service at the Bethel SDA Church on Friday evening; a pastoral call to the Marigot district on the French side of St. Maarten; ministering to over 700 members during a convention; and, a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Spanish congregation on the island. In his address to the delegation, he said, “We want to let everyone know that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is well implanted in our communities and nothing can stop it because God is in control.”
The leaders attended the Ordination Service on Friday evening at the Bethel SDA Church, which was established to minister to the Haitian community on the island. Since then, the church has grown and given birth to another congregation – the Horeb SDA Company. Pastor Desmond James was delighted to greet the leaders at the Ordination Service and commented to the congregation, “You are in the presence of two world leaders.”
A special welcome to the church leaders was extended by Dr. Kern Tobias, President of the Caribbean Union Conference.
“You have your own French President,” said Dr. Tobias, to the delight of the Haitian brethren. “It is something to celebrate.” The growth of the church inspired church leaders in the North Caribbean Conference to give intentional ministerial support to the congregations. The churches are led by Pastor Pierre Rene Joseph and a ministerial intern, Pastor Lester Jules.
Dr. Henry told the church pastors, elders, youth leaders and members that his visit will include celebrating the goodness God through the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, since the devastation of the territory by the hurricanes of 2017. He sought to lift the spirits of members by reminding them that God is still in control. “We are not forgotten,” Dr. Henry said. “God takes care of us and has great plans for us.”