“All This Crime and Violence. Who Is to blame?” This very relevant question was the topic of the opening night for the Hope in Jesus Evangelistic Explosion on Friday, February 15, 2019, at Central Church in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands (USVI), under the blue and yellow tentorium.
After a lively praise and worship session and other preliminaries, Pastor Silton Browne, former President of the North Caribbean Conference, declared the series officially open. Pastor Browne told the audience, “You will be studying with a skilled teacher.” Then he introduced Sister Gerene Joseph, the speaker, a native of Cedar Grove in Antigua with her husband Sylvester Sr. at her side. This mother of two young adults is the Director of Education for the North Caribbean Conference, and a third generation Seventh-day Adventist.
In her opening presentation, Sister Joseph identified the USVI as having one of the highest per capita rates of murder, not in the Caribbean, but in the world. In 2018 alone, there were 35 homicides in the USVI. Sixty-three per cent of those polled in a recent survey say that they are concerned about the level of crime in the VI. Homes are being broken into, and people attacked. Sister Joseph then posed the question, “Who is to blame?” She led her audience step by Biblical step from the creation, to the fall of man, to Job, and on, revealing that the serpent, the devil, “that bad- minded one,” as she called him, has been behind the crime and violence all along.
Then Sister Joseph asked the question, “Whose side are you on?” As she declared, Jesus is giving the invitation: “Come unto me…and I will give you rest,” rest from all of the crime and violence, from all the pain and all the heartache. Then she invited those who would choose the side of Christ to come to the altar for prayer.
The youth pastor-intern, Pastor Timothy Leito, commented that he is “happy to know that there is still hope…in Jesus.”
Sister Madona Abraham, the Head Secretary for the meetings, called this opening night “powerful and very educational.” Elder New Jacobs is pleased with the support of the church and with the presenter. First Elder Anselm Charles also expressed appreciation for the church family’s support and described the opening night as a “wonderful evening.”
This evangelical series is one of about 30 sites conference-wide where the gospel is being proclaimed in February to March of this year.