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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Big Base, Big Body of Believers, Big Blessings

We were privileged to serve at Youth with a Mission on St. Croix again this winter. Merle worked on many projects where he has SKILLS. He repaired a couple bathrooms, stripping out an old shower and replacing it with new pipes, walls, and tiled walls. He fixed a number of plumbing projects, painted ceilings and chairs, fixed lights, put up fans, and other projects. He had assistants, or helped others clean after walls in the Great Room were smoothed with additional stucco, a huge project. A few different teams came during our time, for which we cleaned and prepared rooms, did laundry, washed fans and dirt-coated areas, washed windows, swept and mopped. We kept bathrooms clean and neat for basketball teams who come to play Mondays and Wednesdays each week, dance groups who come to work their magic, and home school play groups. The pool is kept clean and sparkling; deep-cleaning, new stucco and painting of the Great Room was a huge project; shrub pruning and weed pulling is important to keep down the jungle growth surrounding us. The work of many hands makes for a beautifully redeemed campus of a former slave-worked Sugar/Molasses/Rum plantation. Pastors meet here, prayer groups come, local kids, and others who serve this island in so many ways. This lovely place has served so many summer teams, local kids, and Discipleship Training Schools to make disciples for our world. Come and serve!

There were more projects and people, but you get the idea!

We loved attending Way of the Cross Baptist Church. Their worship is vibrant, singing some of the older songs we also know in Bosnian. Their instruments include Congo drums, sax, and keyboard. Sometimes they use steel drums, too. They dressed up in African garb for Black History Month. The lead singer is always so upbeat and the pastor is great! He is very bold, loving, and knows his congregation. I have been helping in Sunday school, getting to know the children, helping with crafts and teaching a few Sunday school lessons. The church hosted a couple from ABWE International who came to the island to teach about Islam and how best to evangelize, as there are many Muslims living on the island. The conference was well-attended and very informative. We were able to add to the discussion with our life experience of living in a Muslim neighborhood for nearly 20 years, which was enlightening to them, as well as giving real life examples.

The dear family above, right, is pressing on after they lost their dad/husband Doug last fall, who took us deep sea fishing last time we were here and invited us to their home for dinner several times. Merle helped a bit on their basement tiling project. We were crushed for them. Dana has moved to NC but was here for a few days to sell cars. We miss Doug.

There are strongholds in this culture as in every place on the globe. It is similar to St. Lucia, and perhaps south Atlanta where we have our home. The young men are often fatherless or have a variety of mixed siblings, absentee fathers, hard working mothers, and no one to keep kids accountable to school work. They can fall behind and often don't read well, and may not succeed in school. The boys get in gangs and, unfortunately, get killed in gang wars. There is much potential for the island but government money often goes to the much wealthier and more touristy islands of St. Thomas and St. John. The refinery was closed down a few years ago, and there doesn't seem to be much industry.

There are many beautiful things to see on the island, of course. Beautiful beaches, colorful waters, iguanas, turtles and so much other sea life to observe as there is excellent snorkeling and diving, luscious leaves, ancient trees, geckos, and lots of chickens running around. We collected some fake and real chaney (can you tell the difference, below?), broken pottery that comes up through the soil from hundreds of years ago when the slaves on the plantations rebelled and smashed the china of the plantation owners. Our friends visited for a couple days, Sean and Heather, who also served in Sarajevo, Bosnia and our kids grew up together. They brought four pickle ball paddles, indoor and outdoor balls for use on the newly refinished basketball/pickleball court which is enjoyed by the community and draws young and old people to healthier activities.

Jenny will begin a class working through our counseling book, The Heart of the Problem, at First Baptist Jonesboro starting this Thursday morning 9-10:30. Please join us if you are interested in having more life and peace! Room 112.

Thank you for standing with us as we serve ours and other nations. We couldn't be the hands and feet of Christ in this place or other places without your support, and we are very grateful. To God be the glory!

Jenny and Merle


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