A team from the Guyana chapter of the Nehemiah Skills Association (NSA) arrived in Tortola to assist the rebuilding efforts, which are currently underway after hundreds of families were left homeless by Hurricane Irma in September, 2017. The cost of travel for the volunteers was covered by the Guyana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) and the team of four will spend six-weeks in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Dr. Henry Peters, the Sabbath School, Personal Ministries and Community Services Director of the North Caribbean Conference, explained, “The team will be engaged in three projects while on the island. They will assist in the reconstruction of the SDA Church, assist members with damaged homes and assist members of the community to rebuild their homes. The department is making good on its promise to assist with housing for the displaced.”
The Nehemiah Skills Association is a volunteer arm of the Community Services Department. The volunteers are skilled men and women who utilize their gifts to help in time of need. The Coordinator of the SDA work on Tortola, Pastor Howard Simon, indicated that, “The team is already making an impact on the community. Last Sunday they covered the BelleVue SDA Church which lost its roof during the hurricane in 2017. The church is providing the materials and the team is working along with volunteers from the church.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Tortola provided extensive community assistance through its humanitarian arm, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). The partnership forged with local organizations has worked to build bridges and solidify a positive image of the church in the community.
The North Caribbean Conference President, Pastor Desmond James, and other administrators will visit the volunteers at the construction site this weekend to thank them for their time and commitment to rebuilding the community. In expressing support for the volunteer mission, Pastor Desmond James affirmed that as Christians, church members must become the helping hands of family members who care, “Our heartfelt prayers and concerns are with the people of Tortola still suffering the effects of this devastating storm. Because we know Jesus loves us, we must let them know that His love compels us to help.”
“We see this as an opportunity for the members of Tortola to experience and be involved in missions,” said Dr. Henry Peters who was instrumental in coordinating similar groups of skilled church volunteers to assist in Grenada and Dominica, after major hurricanes.
Dr. Peters described the team’s visit as an extremely noteworthy sacrifice and expressed his gratitude to them and the Guyana Conference. Local coordinators anticipate that the six-week effort will be an opportunity to spread the love of God for all people and greatly advance the reconstruction phase on Tortola.