We have heard of temperature fluctuations from Luke in Oklahoma - 80' one day and snowing the next, but we found it amazing that the weather in St. Croix is consistently 85' every day (without air conditioning) and 74' at night. But is our faith so consistent, or are we cold one day and hot the next? Jesus wants us to be consistent in our love and faithfulness. Lord, help us to be faith-filled every day!
We finished up the last of the projects here in April.
Merle put up gutters on the staff building, took out an old tile floor, built a new chicken coop and chick pen for all the new arrivals. The chicks arrived the week following our departure. He also finished up a couple other small projects and successfully completed everything before Lydia arrived, so we were free to spend some time with her.
We had the privilege to go with friends, Dana and Doug, deep sea fishing on their boat. He caught a bunch of red snapper and then invited us over for dinner with their kids, of fried snapper and sushi! Delicious! Notice the drop-off on the depth finder. It shows the shelf that the island sits on, and the wall as it suddenly drops to very great depths.
We continued to play with and tutor the local kids, hopefully encouraging them to want to learn, and help them with their homework. I bought a present for the boy I worked with to help him learn his letter sounds,so he could learn to read. Playing Uno, as above, as well as hugging them, teaching them to get along with each other, using their strength to help others, and forgiving are common lessons. Debbie sent another package of supplies after reading the last newsletter and seeing the needs! Thanks for thinking of the kids, Debbie!
Hospitality requires time and service from the team for the many guests. The parents of some of the staff came to visit. We were delighted that our best friends, the Temples, were able to visit for a few days. Another couple, Cindy and Mike, came to serve on the base and we were able to take them snorkeling, as they didn't have a car or want to drive on the left side of the road. It was fun to help them all experience and see new things! Jumping from the pier is exciting! And seeing underwater creatures...
Lydia also came down for a break away from Nursing school to decompress, before we returned to the States, and before her summer session begins. Lydia and I were successful with the SNUBA with a weight belt to keep us down. Above, the squid are dark, and then then turned light-colored to hide, but we could still see their amazing colors. That's a big sting ray hiding under the sand, and a puffer fish. We even touched the docile turtles! We LOVED seeing God's creation under the sea, and the beautiful island flowers.
We made lots of new and very generous friends through Nick and Janine (the owners of the catamaran Merle helped sail to St. Croix last year), including Kim and Phil, Ginger (a travel nurse-giving Lydia advice) and Don, and many others. Erik and Raven showed us the bio luminescence bay one dark night on kayaks, which was so very interesting!
It was extremely helpful to have a car for us, and all our visitors, to see the beaches and snorkel, as the base is landlocked in the middle of the island! There isn't much to do on St. Croix, except go to the beach, and snorkel. There isn't much shopping (K-Mart), and we couldn't afford to go out to dinner, as the prices are very high for tourists. So we would work on the base during the week, cook at home, and go to the beach on the weekend with sandwiches. Everything is on "island time" as life is slower than the States, and I find the adjustment back to Atlanta very confusing and overwhelming, heavy traffic, and too many fast food places and stores for my psyche to comprehend.
The team provided a special dinner and game night for us before we left. They were very happy with all the work Merle was able to do for the base and invited us to return anytime. They took a risk not knowing us, and allowing us to come there to serve this winter and spring. As Jason said, what would they have done if they weren't happy with our work after a month? The broken china is called chainey and is found on beaches or on former plantations; perhaps the china was thrown overboard to avoid paying taxes on it, or thrown out after the slaves rebelled against the plantation owners in 1878? It is the Crucian treasure from which specialty jewelry is made, and one of the daughters of the director makes pictures from it, too. Merle made her a book case for display and storage. Playing in the rain, which is a rarity, too, and island flowers were delightful to see.
The week that Lydia was with us was the week of NIKO, the adventure version of Discipleship Training School, and the whole team was serving, except us. But we were privileged to share with the students about the Lord's Great Commission for all of us to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to follow Jesus, sharing the stories and transformation of those we met and discipled in Bosnia. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
Get hot for Jesus! Everybody needs Him, all over the world. Tell others about Jesus.
"Because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
"Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands!" Isaiah 42:12