Pastor Peter Kerr, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists (ATCU), made a presentation to the 2019 Annual Council of Seventh-day Adventists on the impact of Hurricane Dorian on the Northern Bahamas Conference and on the Union at large. He expressed great appreciation to the worldwide Adventist community who stepped up even while the storm was over the northern Bahamas to pledge their support.
Unions and conferences have sent funds and containers of relief supplies to assist affected persons
A special prayer was offered for the North Bahamas by Pastor Abner De Lo Santos that the Lord would restore the affected islands.
By ATCU Communication Department
“My heart is full,” said Sherrell Taylor, a resident of Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, as she tried to describe her experience during Hurricane Dorian while still at the residence of the Women’s Ministries Director, Mrs. Arlene Sands to which she had to evacuate.
Hurricane Dorian traveled north from the vicinity of Puerto Rico and gained strength as it turned towards the northern Bahamas, approaching the Island of Abaco as a category 4 storm and strengthening to a category 5. It devastated the Islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama for most of Sunday, September 1 and Monday, September 2, 2019.
Residents who were directly on the coast and in low-lying areas were instructed to evacuate, but Sherrell had never experienced flooding in her neighborhood and decided to ride out the storm at home with her family. “Even during previous storms, my area has never flooded,” said Sherrell.
However, while looking outside as the storm approached, she was amazed and shocked as she saw the waters rising around her house. “I only had a few seconds to pack a small bag, put on proper clothing and shoes, and make a run in the monster winds.”
Sherrell and her family were able to get in her car and flee to the Sands residence from which she described her ordeal on Monday evening, September 1. “I still have family on the other side of the island asking to be evacuated,” she said. “But, as night falls evacuation efforts have come to a halt.”
Persons have been asking to be evacuated from 7:00 a.m., and up to sunset the overwhelmed evacuation teams have not been able to get to some. Many persons are still unaccounted for and even the structures of some of the shelters have been compromised. The Freeport and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches were both used as shelters during hurricane Dorian. The level of damage sustained by these structures is unknown at this time, but all those who sought shelter there are reported to be safe.
The administration of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) and the sister conferences of the North Bahamas Conference are all monitoring the situation and mobilizing efforts and resources to be able to bring relief to those affected by Dorian as soon as the all clear is given by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Pastor Peter Kerr, president of ATCU, has been in contact with as many persons as possible in Grand Bahama and Abaco in order to better mobilize efforts after the passing of the storm. “We are always extremely concerned about our brothers and sisters affected during the passage of storms. We pray and ask for God’s intervention, and we also bring relief to the physical needs of the members and residents,” stated Pastor Kerr.
Pastor Henry Moncur III, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Director of ATCU, though personally affected by Dorian as he is a resident of Grand Bahama, is in close communication with ADRA International in efforts to bring relief and support after the passage of the storm.
“To be honest, I can’t put words to this whole ordeal. It’s surreal and emotional, but even when things are bad, God is still good,” said Sherrell.
Please continue to pray for the residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco in the Bahamas, and please contact a local Adventist Church or conference to find out how you can assist with donations.
Cayman’s Youth Benefit from International Support
Eighty-seven Cayman youth and youth counsellors depart for Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Sunday (August 11) for an international “Pathfinder Camporee”, joining some 50,000 other Pathfinders from more than 100 countries.
Preparing Cayman’s youth for the five-day international camp in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the Adventist 2019 Youth Congress (Friday-Sunday, July 26-28) held at the Lions Centre featured a 30-member visiting choir in the three-day programme. The weekend culminated in a multi-dimensional gospel concert on Sunday (28th).
The Camporee to which the large contingent of Cayman’s youth are headed Sunday is held every five years for members of the Pathfinder Club, a nearly two million-member global organisation aimed at “enlarging … windows on the world and building a relationship with God,” organisers said. The camp experience, organisers added, has become “a leadership and spiritual rite-of-passage for youth and adults.”
Meanwhile, choir member Chueyen McIntyre said that he had opted to be a part of the 30 visiting members of the 80-strong choir based at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica because “It is part of our role as Christian youth to help other youth.”
“The idea of youth-reaching-youth led to the invitation to the Kencot Youth Choir (KYC) to lend their support to Pastor Henry Vaughan, Youth Ministries Director for the Cayman Islands Conference,” said KYC Director Dianne Boyd.
The choir sang throughout the three-day Youth Congress, organised by the local Adventist Youth Federation, in an initiative themed “Life in Transformation” (LiT).
The concert at Sunday’s finale featured a multi-media programme packed with dramatic interpretations of poems, ballet choreography illustrating gospel music, and high energy choir presentations drawn from a variety of musical genre.
The script for the programme, authored by Choir Director Boyd, captured the Genesis story of creation through to the Bible’s Revelation climax.
Joining Choir Director Boyd in creating the power-driven vibrancy of the event, author and poet Denise Simpson served as the evening’s mistress of ceremony.
Another Kencot Church member, Ms. Simpson invigorated the programme with her dramatic interpretations of poems and masterfully welded the evening’s diverse programme in a harmonious whole.
Commenting on the attendance at the Youth Congress, local Youth Minister Henry said that the weekend’s programme was considerably magnetized by the visiting choir: “The weekend event drew the largest turnout of young people I have seen locally—it was staggering.”
Beginning on Friday evening (26th) with a parade of youth from the various churches marking the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the Adventist Church in the Cayman Islands, the Youth Congress continued on Saturday morning (27th) with breakout sessions exploring spiritual dimensions. Afternoon workshop sessions focused on topics such as leadership, conflict resolution, and youth and spirituality.
These activities were followed later on Saturday afternoon by a parade that included youth clubs such as Pathfinders, “I-Serve” and the Amplified radio ministry.
During this afternoon session the Youth Federation launched the “Adopt-a-Ministry” programme, in which youth organizations in the various local churches committed to adopting a street or community for youth engagement. Youth Minister Henry said that he envisaged that these activities would include health clinics, health fairs, and door-to-door contacts, among other possible undertakings.
“The Adventist Church in the Cayman Islands is making serious effort to energise their young people spiritually, reclaim their missing youth, and reach other youth,” Mrs. Boyd said, goals that boosted the opportunity for KYC’s ministry during their visit.
In addition to exercising their voices in choir appearances and the concert over the weekend, on their final day (Monday, 29th), KYC members volunteered for a work day at Cayman Academy. Helping to prepare the campus for the new school year, the choir members painted, cleaned and gardened.
Making it all possible for the 30-member visiting contingent, choir director Boyd said members paid half of their airfare, with the rest contributed by sponsorship and fundraising in Jamaica. Some financial support was provided by the Kencot Church and the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
The local Youth Services Department of the Adventist Church arranged accommodations and transportation.
Mrs. Boyd, an educator and administrator and an elder at the Kencot Church, has directed the choir for almost two decades.
Discussing the choir’s range of activities, Director Boyd said that KYC’s ministry involves performing at religious and civic functions, opening and providing background music for local and international artistes in major gospel and fundraising concerts, ministering at events and services across Jamaica, and assisting with the physical and spiritual needs of children homes in Kingston.
Maintaining their spiritual tone was a priority, she said, adding that KYC’s in-reach activities for its members included a prayer and visitation ministry, a weekly Friday evening small group devotion and Bible study meeting, and an annual prayer and fasting retreat.
These activities, along with social support, supported “the maintenance of the spiritual vitality and community experience necessary for the choir’s ministry in the various initiatives,” Director Boyd said.
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