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Recent Stories from Caribbean

“Moving the Caribbean in the Right Direction.”

A symposium was held at the end of last year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the theme “Moving the Caribbean in the Right Direction.” Field Director Bishop Ishmael P. Charles welcomed leaders from churches in all the regions to examine and reflect on matters to ensure charting a future path for the Caribbean.

Caribbean Field Director Ishmael Charles exhorts the multi-language gathering of ministers of this Field Area.

OPENING SESSION

In the opening session, World Missions Assistant Director Dr. M. Thomas Propes challenged the delegates with the need to expect, anticipate, and appropriate that which God will do in order to move the Caribbean in the right direction. The closing church service brought an inspiring message by Dr. Raymond Culpepper, First Assistant General Overseer.

SESSIONS FOR SUCCESS

Workshops and breakout sessions dealt with issues relating specifically to the various spheres of leadership. The participants were encouraged to take what they had received and return to their field of service for implementation.

STRATEGIC PLANS

The gathering was host to peoples from three major language groups in the region … Hispanic, French, and English … yet all could understand and benefit from the sessions. A growing passion for church growth was generated among the leaders. Strategic plans were established for planting new churches in the coming two years, ensuring they prepare for the next generation. Failure to be relevant will result in stagnation.

The entire delegation from outside Puerto Rico was grateful for the exceptional hospitality given them during the symposium.

BAHAMAS HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE

haiti-h-matthew-damage-004Following close on the heels of impact Hurricane Matthew made on the western side of Haiti, the island of Andros, Bahamas, suffered a major blow, as well.

Bishop Overseer Dr. Ishmael Charles notified World Missions Director Dr. David Griffis and Assistant Director Dr. Thomas Propes of the extent of damages incurred. Once a natural disaster has passed, it is then the destruction becomes more visible.

Overwhelming for church members is not only the devastation of homes and livelihood, but the destruction of their churches … the places of worship and spiritual experiences. In the Andros district, the roof, walls, and flooring need to be replaced, as well as the incalculable loss of ministry sound equipment. Replacing these needs is a discouraging situation—money is not easily obtained. Services will now have to be held outside until further accommodations can be made.

Even more sorrowful is the displacement of some of the tombs. Because of limited space and underground waterways on islands, the dead must be buried above ground.

Winds and water heavily damaged the Mastic Point church; Stafford Creek felt the effects of a fallen tree; and Small Hope Church of God lost roof shingles. The one thing that remains is their faith in God and in those who will assist financially and lend physical labor in the rebuilding.

Church of God World Missions is there!

Project Number 765-0036-040 (Please designate Andros, Bahamas, on your donation.)

MORE ON HURRICANE AFTERMATH

image012Joe Vibert, education director of Haiti, sends World Missions the latest update on the Séminaire Théologique de L’église de Dieu en Haiti.

While the facilities of the school were not directly affected, 80 of the students were impacted by at least one of the following:

* Family homes damaged or destroyed

* Cattle destroyed

* Plantations destroyed

* Private businesses affected or destroyed

* Relatives disappeared

* Church buildings damaged or destroyed

* Personal items … clothes, important documents damaged or disappeared

Of a more serious concern now is the outbreak of cholera in certain areas. One of the employees of the Seminary lost 12 members of his family in one week. A river exhumed bodies from a cemetery where people who had died of cholera were buried, contaminating an entire village.

The need is overwhelming to bring relief to the people in their present condition, and an even greater challenge is to assist them in beginning again. Recovery will be long-term and extensive. Still reeling from the earthquake several years ago, the present situation in Haiti is incomprehensible. As always, World Missions will do everything it can to send funds and lend itself to prayer for this battered nation.

Project Number 765-0036-040

BAHAMAS HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE

hurrmattreliefwebFollowing close on the heels of impact Hurricane Matthew made on the western side of Haiti, the island of Andros, Bahamas, suffered a major blow, as well.

Bishop Overseer Dr. Ishmael Charles notified World Missions Director Dr. David Griffis and Assistant Director Dr. Thomas Propes of the extent of damages incurred. Once a natural disaster has passed, it is then the destruction becomes more visible.

Overwhelming for church members is not only the devastation of homes and livelihood but the destruction of their churches … the places of worship and spiritual experiences. In the Andros district, the roof, walls, and flooring need to be replaced, as well as the incalculable loss of ministry sound equipment. Replacing these needs is a discouraging situation—money is not easily obtained. Services will now have to be held outside until further accommodations can be made.

Even more sorrowful is the displacement of some of the tombs. Because of limited space and underground waterways on islands, the dead must be buried above ground.

Winds and water heavily damaged the Mastic Point church; Stafford Creek felt the effects of a fallen tree, and Small Hope Church of God lost roof shingles. The one thing that remains is their faith in God and in those who will assist financially and lend physical labor in the rebuilding.

Church of God World Missions is there!

Project Number 765-0036-040 (Please designate Andros, Bahamas, on your donation.)

Hurricane Matthew was described by Dr. David Griffis as “one of the greatest natural disasters in recent years,” with some estimates placing the death toll at over 1300 souls. In addition to the absolutely staggering loss of life, billions of dollars of property damage was reported as the hurricane swept away roads, buildings, and utility structures along its path of destruction which covered the Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and many of the smaller Caribbean island nations.

Haiti, by far, suffered the worst as the full force of the storm struck the island of Hispaniola, which the nation shares with the Dominican Republic. Many churches were washed away by the force of the storm, along with hundreds of lives.

The need in the area is still great, many people are without power and drinkable water, thousands have been rendered homeless by the storm, and the potential for loss of life because of these conditions is still great.

Here are some of the ways you can donate to the disaster relief efforts:

Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund
Haiti Relief Fund
Text: Matthew (amount) to 855.291.4483 or call 1.800.345.7492

Hurricane Update

People walk on the road as rain falls during Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

The Caribbean has experienced the terrible wrath of hurricane Matthew over the past week.

Bishop Davis reported that both St. Vincent and St Lucia have had heavy rain.  They have sustained minimal damages.   There is no major destruction to any of the churches.

Bishop Liberus is still gathering information on the damages in Haiti.  This country has sustained major destruction; loss of lives and loss of homes.  Hundreds of our members and many pastors have lost everything.  One of the largest churches in the city of Jeremie was totally destroyed.

Also, three churches in Aux Cayes and Anse D’ainault were destroyed.

(NOTE: Additional information from Haiti – 1) Up to now, we have identified more than 50 churches completely destroyed in the department of Grand’Anse in theSouth of the country. We have no exact information yet because there is no telephone contact, neither road transit, but the first news let us know that it’s worse than every other affected zone.

2) Many damaged Churches, Pastors, and Members personal homes.
3) We have several cases of disappearance. It’s really bad news for us. We’ll keep praying that God raises the country and especially Church of God in Haiti in theses trouble days.)Bishop Blair is still assessing the damages in Jamaica.  Heavy rain caused severe damages.

Bishop Moses Johnson from the Bahamas has quickly reported that Nassau has been heavily damaged with severe structural destructions.  It’s too early to assess the damage.  Freeport has also been heavily hit by the hurricane.  Bishop Johnson is still awaiting a report from the District Overseer.

I will keep you updated as I receive information from each Overseer.   The CFD is requesting prayer for the region

Bishop Ishmael Charles (Bsc. M.A., M. DIV)

Caribbean Field Director