Churches in the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists are celebrating with more than 200 persons who committed their lives to Jesus Christ in baptism, during the 2019 Lord Transform Me Evangelistic Explosion held from February 15 to March 2, 2019.
The effort was the first of its kind organized by the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) and mirrored the Caribbean Union’s effort, Impact Guyana 2018. Pastor Claudius Morgan – Assistant to the President of the Caribbean Union, for Evangelism – expressed his satisfaction with the result of the NCC evangelistic thrust, “This is excellent. Congratulations to all the warlords for the Lord our Maker. Great job! God be praised!”
Over the years, the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in the North Caribbean Conference has grown through baptism. In 2018, the church baptized under 200 persons as several islands were still in a state of disarray – recovering from the hurricanes of 2017. During the eight months preceding the evangelistic program, pastors and laity worked extensively in their communities to prepare for the massive 2-week undertaking, expecting to baptize, at least, 12 persons per site. On February 15th, excitement filled the air as laity and clergy gave expression to God’s impression at the 28 sites across the Conference – by the end of the first week, 103 persons were baptized into the church! While the grand total is still being tallied, several wonderful stories of how God impacted the lives of men and women, during the campaign, have begun to emerge.
A Few “Explosion” Encounters
On St. Maarten, pastors (Lester Jules and Sylvester Williams) co-labored with lay Evangelist Herman Ravariere, as well as ministerial workers (Margaret Peters and Alberto Mieses). While Evangelist Ravariere reported baptizing a neighbour he met 25 years ago while living on the island, Mrs. Peters shared an account of one lady who was baptized 2 hours before boarding a flight: “A 67 year-old lady regularly attended the crusade from the launch date. On Wednesday, February 20th, when I made the call for baptism, she did not come up; after the meeting she came to me and said she was scheduled to leave for the USA the next day and would be gone for about two months. I encouraged her to be baptized before leaving. She explained that being an Anglican and a member of the choir she still needed to attend the Anglican Church on Sundays. I told her we could have the choir robe laundered to be returned to the Anglican Church and she could receive a new choir robe from the SDA Church. I shared that whenever one showers, he/she puts on clean clothing, not the same dirty ones. She decided to be baptized. We cleared the baptism through the Boards that very evening. Still, we had a problem because there was no pastor to baptize her the next morning. I called Dr. Peters, who was on Anguilla. He arrived by the 10:00 a.m., boat while folks waited patiently at Belair Beach. She was baptized at 11:00 a.m., and left for the USA at 1:00 p.m. She is now praising God for her breakthrough!”
Across St. Thomas and St. John, the pastoral line-up of Howard Simon, Earl Daniel, Danny Philip, Pierre Rene Joseph, Leriano Webster and Desmond James worked alongside lay Evangelist David Williams. Without comparing notes from the St. Maarten effort, Pastor James, also, baptised his neighbour – whom he had invited to the meetings.
In the British Virgin Islands (Tortola and Virgin Gorda), the pastoral contingent of Trent Berg, Royston Philbert and Kumal Smith were joined by lay Evangelists Charles Yard and Andrew Honore. As Pastor Kumal Smith reflected on God leading a former member of the church to be baptized after attending one meeting, Pastor Philbert recalled the Lord’s guidance in the baptisms of an inspector from the police force and his daughter.
Pastor Desmond James, President of the NCC, was enthused to see leaders and members mobilized and energized to win souls for the Kingdom of Christ. He said, “It was a marvellous display of God’s power and saving grace. It was very uplifting. The church is blessed and everyone is happy. Evangelism has been given new life, a new fervor and passion that I hope will never die.” In his closing message to worshipers at the Shiloh SDA Church, Pastor James said, “Two hundred souls in two weeks is a phenomenal, defining, re-calibration of evangelism in the NCC which we hope to build on in the coming years. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is committed to offering a better way to those who long for a brighter future and young people who see their peers succumbing to drugs, violence and despair; there is a better way for families that are being ripped apart by strife and confusion; there is a better way for a society that faces darkness and despair; there is a better way, and that better way can be found in a life surrendered to Jesus. We have to do all we can, now, to conserve them and disciple them in ministry.”
“The church in the NCC took this initiative as its own and made it work successfully,” said Pastor Wilmoth James, Executive Secretary of the NCC. “We are working on re-kindling the fire of soul-winning throughout the NCC, stressing to our pastors not to stop or slow down on the mission to reach more souls for the Kingdom.”
Anguilla hosted Pastor Earl Esdaile and Brother Reynold Philip who commented before his deployment, “I am excited to be one of those to preach Jesus in Anguilla. Though I have never been there, I know that God is going to cover me and I am expecting to see the Holy Spirit transform lives.”
The St. Eustatius/Saba team included Pastor Wynfield Ambrose and lay Evangelists Mervin Alexander and Linda Ambrose. On St. Croix, the pastoral team of Jerry Languedoc, Marcos Salas Nunez and Vincent A. David joined forces with lay Evangelists Dureama Moorehead, Gerene Joseph, Horace Graham and Nigel Henry.
“Preachers really preached,” emphasized Pastor Hesketh Matthew – Special Assistant to the President of the NCC, for Evangelism. Pastor Matthew and Dr. Henry Peters, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Director of the North Caribbean Conference, coordinated the program by visiting the sites to stimulate momentum for maximum results. They agreed that the program was, “. . . better, greater, far more inspiring and transformational. It fulfilled one of the objectives in helping to excite clergy and laity in evangelism.”
Conference administrators and program coordinators expressed that the following efforts deserve special mention: Mrs. Margaret Peters, the NCC Bible Worker, has displayed a consistent passion for evangelism and baptized 18 persons at the end of the first week; the lay Evangelists Charles Yard, on Virgin Gorda, and Mervin Alexander, on Saba, exhibited a willingness to labor in territories considered “difficult” for evangelism; Pastor Howard Simon led the City SDA Church, on St. Thomas, in a family life series that culminated in 16 persons giving their lives to Christ; and, Elder Reynold Philip, the First Elder of the Hope SDA Church and a self-employed contractor by profession, placed his business on hold for two weeks (because of his love for God’s work) to be involved in the evangelistic effort.
Beyond The “Explosion”
There are more than 15,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 41 congregations, in the North Caribbean Conference. Leaders anticipate that the Conference is well on its way to achieving the baptismal goal of 600 souls for 2019 through this first-quarter evangelistic thrust, coupled with evangelistic initiatives already scheduled for each island.