On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the newly elected Administration of the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists arrived in the British Virgin Islands to see the magnitude of devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria had delivered upon those islands. Having recently visited the ravaged islands of Anguilla, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius, it was unanimous that BVI had gotten the worst of it.
The President, Desmond F. James, Secretary and ADRA Director, Pastor Wilmoth James and Treasurer, Sis. Sanida McKenzie accompanied by the ADRA Director of the Caribbean Union Conference, Pastor Alexander Isaacs.
On Friday, October 13, 2017, the delegation met with the ADRA team in the BVI to discuss ongoing efforts. A team of three residents of Tortola are currently assisting the ADRA representative, Elian Giaccarini, from Argentina; coordinate the work of ARDA on the island. He is the third ADRA representative deployed in the BVI since Hurricane Irma struck on September 6, 2017. His predecessors were Jeff Kern from ADRA Brazil and Edgar Castillo Castro from ADRA Mexico. Through their combined efforts, ADRA International has partnered with the Ministry of Education in the BVI, UNICEF and faith-based international humanitarian-relief organization, Convoy of Hope, to provide temporary care for children ages 3-8 at the Early Childhood Centers.
On Sabbath, October 14, 2017, the Administration met with the joint Church Boards of Tortola to discuss the needs of the island and to chart a plan for the way forward. Pastor Wilmoth James led the discussion and answered questions from the Church Board Members present. Sis. Sanida McKenzie informed members of how to go about filing claims for damaged Church properties. She noted that 98 of the NCC’s properties insured.
After the joint Church Board meeting, the gathering joined the rest of the members at the East End Seventh-day Adventist Church for the worship service. Following introductions by Island Coordinator Pastor Howard Simon, the President, Secretary and Treasurer addressed the rather upbeat island congregation.
President James commended the brethren for their resilience. “We bring you hope in Jesus and help form your church family.” Pastor Wilmoth James stated that there were two reasons for their visit; to inquire and account for every baptized member of the SDA Church in the BVI, and to deliver the action plan for the way forward.
Pastor Alexander Isaacs, who was visiting this region for the first time, captured the congregation’s attention with his midday message entitled, “God, where are you?” In this short discourse, he reminded members that it is because of the mercies of God that more lives were not lost and that Jesus, their Captain, led them successfully through two storms and that they should be thankful that they are alive today. He reminded the members that it is God who gives them the power to get wealth and that in spite of the challenges they face, God will watch over them. His final admonition to the congregation was “stay close to Jesus and put their hands in the hands of God, for a day is coming when God will make all things new.”
Following the church service, the travelling delegation was again on the move – off to Virgin Gorda to greet and meet the brethren over there.