The background and current labor expended on Grenada, a needy field in the Caribbean, is detailed for us.
The island of Grenada, which lies 90 miles north of Trinidad, has a population of approximately 100,000 and is the southernmost nation in the British Windward Islands. Its fertile mountains and humid tropical climate make it an ideal place to harvest and export nutmeg, mace, cloves, bananas and coconuts. It has earned the title, "The Spice Island."
Grenada was first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1498 when the Carib Indians were the sole inhabitants. In 1650, the French established relations with the Caribs. However, not unlike relations with European powers on many of the Caribbean islands, this loose alliance failed just one year later. History tells us that rather than submit to European rule, the last band of Caribs plunged to their deaths from the cliffs at Le Morrie de Sauteur (Leaper's Flill).
The nation of Grenada, an oval island, about 21 miles long and 12 miles wide, is also comprised of its two sister islands Carriacou, with a population of 8,000, and Petie Martinique which has about 800 residents. Their white sand beaches and numerous hotels and guest houses create an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Back in 1783 Grenada came under British rule. In 1967 it became an associated state with the Commonwealth. In 1974 Grenada became an independent country.
Although Roman Catholicism has been the predominant religion for years, there are several others, plus a large number of sects and cults. There are eight assemblies on the island of Grenada and one on the sister island of Carriacou.
In respect to assembly testimony and outreach, the original missionaries were from the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, there have been no full time workers in Grenada.
Since my first visit in 1984, my exercise has been for the north of the island where there is no assembly testimony. We have been told that many years ago, two sisters carried on a work in the town of Sauteurs; but no assembly was ever planted there. I long to work in new ground as we did in St. Lucia.
Unfortunately, the assembly testimony in Grenada has not been immune from Satanic attack. In the past few years it has suffered greatly. The assembly at Corinth, St. David's, suffered a sad division in 1995 and as a result, is very small numerically. The little company left behind seeks to carry on a testimony for God in very difficult circumstances.
It was into this situation that we arrived last year and have prayerfully sought to be of help, with an exercise to encourage and hopefully see a measure of restoration. It has proven to be a very discouraging and depressing task.
We have been door to door throughout the Corinth community, inviting folks to meetings. Most are polite. Hardly any will come. The damage has been done.
While working in Corinth, I have sought to help other assemblies. I have encouraged a midweek Bible reading at Crochu and helped once a month for a time at Calivigny, plus visits to other assemblies as the Lord leads.
We have also had the help of some good men from Canada during the past year. Soon after our arrival, Allen Le Blanc of Bolton Ontario (now serving the Lord in New Brunswick), came down for the month of May. Together we put considerable effort and time into Corinth and an area called Requi in door to door outreach. This was followed up with weekly open air meetings. We transported interested people to the gospel meetings in Corinth on Sunday evenings or whenever they would come.
Toward the end of 1996 we had help from two other Ontario brethren which was greatly appreciated. Near the end of October, Byrnell Foreshew of Arnstein and I commenced gospel meetings in Corinth. Then in November, Steve Bums (and family) of River Road, Ottawa, came and shared with me in Crochu. We were encouraged to have an average of twenty unsaved out each night to hear the gospel. Many had to be bussed in from Requin and Vincennes.
Early in the series, a young lad of thirteen and a girl of seventeen professed faith in Christ. These were followed by another young woman, a young man in his twenties, and an elderly lady. The young man, Michael, has since been baptized and received into the assembly at Crochu. It is a real joy to see souls reached and saved, and an even greater joy to see them go on for God. Please pray for these new believers. We thank God for what He has done and leave the results with Him. Following the gospel series, Byrnell and Steve had eight nights of excellent ministry on Acts 2:41-42 which were very well attended and profitable.
On New Year's Day the Corinth assembly hosted an all day conference. Two brethren from Trinidad and Tobago, Learie Telesford and Augustus Awah came up to help in ministry and in the Bible Readings on "Elders." After a very profitable conference, brother Awah stayed on for ministry in four or five assemblies. His ministry was very practical and pointed. We thank God for all who delight in truth and who welcome plain Scriptural teaching.
In Corinth, things remain much as we found them. They have a small Sunday School. One wonders whether these dear children represent the future of the assembly. There are only eight at present - all from outside Corinth. No unsaved adults venture into the gospel meetings and the interest in Requin has dried up.
A brother in his forties has been added to the fellowship recently. After spending many years in the USA, Wilbert returned home to reside in Grenada. Through his experience in the denominations and his personal study of the Word of God, and after having been introduced to the assembly, he has come to the conclusion that the assembly adheres to the pattern of Scripture and thus expressed his desire to be in fellowship. The saints have been encouraged.
Since early January I have been going up to La Digue assembly on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Near the end of the month, one of the leading brethren, Herbert James, was called home to heaven. The assembly, although larger than Corinth, is weak. There is a good interest in the Bible Readings (Romans), and the Sunday evening Gospel meetings, with some unsaved attending.
We trust, Lord willing, to relocate in La Digue which will make us more accessible to that assembly and eventually the northern part of the island. La Digue is located inland about half way up the east coast and not far from the highly populated coastal town of Grenville. Cindy will have to change schools or perhaps be taught at home. Whenever possible, we would like to continue helping at Corinth.
A small island - yes. Nevertheless, there is plenty of work to be done. We value and covet your prayers for the work and for the workers in the Eastern Caribbean. Maranatha!