“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

HURRICANE MATTHEW CONTINUES

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

For several days, the world’s eyes have been on the expected path of Hurricane Matthew that first hit the Dominican Republic before tracking toward Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. The United States will no less be included in the threat.

World Missions leadership Dr. David Griffis and Dr. M. Thomas Propes are keeping vigil over the situation and are preparing to offer immediate assistance as soon as possible.

As the US prepares itself for a direct hit, as well, the hurricane passed over the western peninsula of Haiti Tuesday and showed no signs of weakening. Remaining a Category 4 rating, Matthew dropped heavy rains of more than two feet and howled with heavy winds. A storm surge of 15 ft. is anticipated. This will create severe flooding and mudslides may be catastrophic as prior experience teaches.

Our hearts and prayers are turned toward Haiti, as the country has yet to fully recover from the earthquake in 2010, and this will become another hurdle she has to overcome.

By God’s grace and your support, World Missions will once again be there to relieve the suffering!

Project Number 765-0042-025

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

New Overseer for Cayman Islands

csbo7x4uiaasxaqThe Cayman Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean situated south of Cuba, have a national overseer for the first time. Before this time, the Cayman Islands had been combined in the territory of the Overseer of Jamaica.  Bishop Eitel Morris and his wife, Beverly Blair-Morris, were inaugurated on September 9, 2016, by Church of God World Missions Director David Griffis and Field Director Ishmael Charles.

The influences of American and European culture are most evident in the religion of the Cayman Islands, where Christianity is the most practiced religion. Within the island group, Christian denominations include Anglican, Baptist, Catholicism, Church of God, Presbyterian, and the United Church, among others. Respectful of religion as an important aspect of the culture of the Cayman Islands, most of the local businesses, as well as harbors and ports are closed on Sundays. The nation’s flag bears part of Psalm 24: “He hath founded it upon the seas.”

The Church of God has 363 churches with 105,359 members in the two nations. The Cayman Islands became part of the Church of God in 1969, and hosts a population of approximately 50,000.

“As you take up this new mantle,” Bishop Ishmeal Charles, Field Director for the Caribbean, said in his official statement, “be a Biblical profile of a true Godly disciple.”  These remarks were among many given at the ceremony from Bishop Charles as well as many other officials and pastors from the Caribbean.

In addition to the title and authority, Bishop Morris also received several symbolic gifts of leadership which included a jar of oil, a gavel, and a bible, symbolic of the Holy Spirit, his ordained authority as Overseer, and an admonition to remain true to the Word of God.

 

A “FINISH CHALLENGE” COMMITMENT RECOMPENSED

Mt. Zion New Testament Church of God in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, recently held an Appreciation Service honoring its former pastors, pioneer and Career Missionaries Robert and Jeanette Cary, on the 30th Anniversary of the church’s initial dedication.

After several successful pastorates and serving as Florida state youth and education director, the Carys felt called to give the rest of their lives to World Missions. Arriving in 1978 as overseer of the Virgin and Leeward Islands, they simultaneously pastored the Savan New Testament Mount Zion Church of God in St. Thomas. The congregation desperately needed a new facility and the Carys literally helped build a new 800-seat sanctuary that was dedicated in 1985. His hands were rough and blistered and his body worked to death from the construction, but that was the way Robert Cary operated. No sacrifice was too great for the Kingdom.

With the passing of 30 years, the church has undergone refurbishment and is now air-conditioned. It provides half pews and half theater seats. Jeanette was curious as to why they had two obviously different modes of seating and upon asking was told that half the congregation wanted pews and half wanted theater seats … everyone was accommodated.

The celebration was a lavish affair with the ushers wearing white tuxedos. The Carys were amazed that the church was full to capacity, and even individuals attended from the surrounding islands. They were deeply touched when they realized 18 to 20 adults in attendance were children earlier during their pastorate. Their influence continued, as the Carys also were constrained to encourage higher education for the young people, and that led to the founding of The New Testament Academy which now has 186 students.

Robert Cary was considered by many to be the best pastor because he had a true heart for the people. That trait is still characteristic of him today. Others commented … “The Carys had hearts as big as the universe, and many of us are what we are today because of the impact they made upon our lives.” Bishop Earl Harrison said: “[In building the sanctuary] I can imagine the sentiment of the heart of Bishop Cary as being ‘Give me this mountain!’ ”

The following years have seen the Carys raising funds for several projects and providing help for countless lives around the world. They are relentless in their pursuit of winning lost souls and actively live the World Missions FINISH Challenge.

No greater words can sum the ministry of the Carys than those from the Holy Scriptures:

Hebrews 6:9-11 … “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.”

—Janet Price

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YEAR OF THE MISSIONARY—LEGACY

Lloyd and Edna Frazier

A ROUGH BEGINNING

While Lloyd Frazier’s life began with much uncertainty, he overcame the complications at his birth and walked in the knowledge God had His hand on his life.

Born in a Church of God home, Lloyd learned God’s Word early in childhood. He was a shy and timid young man, and did not give his heart to the Lord until he was 18 years old. From that time onward, Lloyd was active in the local church and district work.

Lloyd met Edna in high school and they began dating their senior year. Two years later, they were married, and in 1957 their son, Michael was born, with daughter, Mava, following in 1959.

THE CALL TO MISSIONS

The Fraziers continued working in the local church in Virginia, where Lloyd soon felt strongly led to attend Lee University to prepare for the ministry. Seeking earnestly for God to show him the place he would serve, God responded to him by saying, “You know what my will is for you at this time and when it is time to take another step, I will shine my light on your path.” Lloyd knew it meant walking in faith and obedience.

During his studies at Lee, Lloyd felt the call to mission work. In 1967, the Fraziers were appointed to train for one year in Guatemala. The following year, they were appointed to Panama first as education director, then as overseer, a position they held for 12 years.

LITERALLY FACING THE ENEMY

In 1982, the Fraziers were appointed as missionary supervisor to Haiti, where Lloyd completed his Master’s program. During those years, Haiti was plagued by political turmoil, and the couple experienced a frightening situation when robbers broke into the compound brandishing machine guns … they were violent men and the Fraziers faced a strong possibility of being murdered, but God delivered! In the midst of the experience, God gave them a peace that passes understanding. Lloyd stated, “When one of the men put a gun to my head and threatened to kill me, I spoke the name of Jesus. He reacted violently to the name of our Friend that is closer than a brother. He told me not to say that name again, or he would kill me! They did not know of the prayers that had reached God’s throne in our behalf.” In 2004, the Fraziers returned home for their own safety.

PRAYER IS VITAL

Lloyd further stated: “Those of us who have worked as career missionaries realize that so much depends on the prayers of those who join with us in the great task of world evangelization. When the battle is joined against the forces of evil, directed by Satan himself, we must know that God is present and fighting with us. We need to see the demonstration of His power on our side!”

—Janet Price

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