We recently talked with Ishmael Charles, field director of the Caribbean, to find out what God is doing in his area. (Excerpts of this interview originally appeared in Evangel Magazine.)
Give an overview of what God is currently doing in your area.
Since the last General Assembly, the region has excelled in all areas of ministry. We are now divided into three regions: namely, Southern, Central and Northern with three new superintendents.
Together with the Caribbean Council we have set a projected goal for 200 new churches for the period of 2018 to 2020 General Assembly. The process has already been activated, over 40 new churches have been established. Most of these have been established in Dominican Republic.
God is truly moving in the Caribbean. The Annual National Conventions have been inspiring. Thousands have gathered in stadiums, churches, and arenas celebrating the glorious resurrection power of Christ. Simultaneous evangelistic crusades/revivals were held throughout the regions in 11 countries during the same week. Over 1,000 persons were saved, two churches were born, and six new affiliated churches were incorporated with the ABC Islands. The churches are growing; the fellowship amongst the entire leadership is rich and welcoming. People are being saved and the kingdom of Christ is truly being advancing.
The Caribbean Women’s Discipleship Conference was recently held in Nassau Bahamas. Hundreds of ladies traveled from every region of the Caribbean to celebrate under the theme “Women, more than conquerors through Christ.” For three days the power of God visited them through the preached word, worship, workshops, feet washing, and the Lord’s supper.
The National Youth Conference will be convening later this year in Trinidad.
The finances have improved, despite the devastation of the storms and other disasters. There is a tremendous sense of joy and commitment to the gospel and the finishing of the great commission. All regions are working well with their new leadership. The support for the regions for the hurricane disasters has been indescribable.
How has Church of God World Missions helped the people and ministries of your field area?
Church of God World Missions has been a great source of blessing to the Caribbean. In Guyana, land was purchased and groundbreaking for the City of Light project has already been done. The funds generated for this project came from World Missions.
Describe a favorite moment or story that stands out to you as you have encountered the work of God in your area.
The unforgettable moments of this period will ever remain with me as I reflect on worshipping with the indigenous people in the jungles of Guyana. Approximately 1,000 people gathered in a makeshift tent with one car parked on the outside. They danced and shouted with such exuberance that the pulpit on the stage made a complete 360 degree turn without anyone touching it. It begun with the experience of a five hour journey on a small river engine canoe boat with myself, Pat, the overseer and his wife, and a few others. Over 122 persons gave their hearts to Christ and many were baptized in the Holy Ghost. Presently we have 21 churches in that area. To God be all the glory.
What are some current needs that you see?
Some of the current needs in the region are as follows:
- A scholarship fund to assist children of administrative bishops attending Lee University and PTS.
- Advanced theological training for the future leadership of the church.
The Caribbean is at its greatest potential for total development in every area of ministry.
I thank our God for all the supporters who have been so gracious to us. I thank God most of all for choosing Pat and me to lead this area of the world. I also thank God for Dr. Griffis and the World Missions administration.
This is the Great Caribbean. We are in God’s season of blessings and favor.
Since this interview was conducted, Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas. If you would like to contribute to recovery efforts, please visit cogwm.org/disaster. 100% of your donation will be sent to meet the need.