The island of St. Lucia has become a leading tourist attraction and, as a result, the prosperity of the people has greatly increased over the past 20 years. This advancement is evidenced by much better housing and the many technical facilities readily available.
St. Lucia lies approximately 100 miles north of Venezuela, is 243 square miles in area, and has a population of 150,000 of which 70% are Roman Catholic. Together with the increase in welfare, is the increase in crime. The official language is English, but a French based patois is widely spoken and being preserved by every day use in day-to-day affairs and special radio programs. The climate is tropical, with temperatures of 70°- 90°.
It has been three years since we were last on the Island, being hindered by injuries sustained in a car accident and by major surgery last year.
When brother Brian Owen first came to the Island in 1976, he found a small assembly in the main town of Castries consisting of six aged believers. Over the next number of years the work prospered and today there are seven assemblies. Four are in the north and one each on the east, south, and west coasts.
Over the past few years, the work has seen very little progress and today it is very difficult to attract the unsaved to gospel meetings. Material prosperity does hinder spiritual progress.
Most of our time is spent with the assembly in Soufriere on the west coast where there are around 30 in fellowship. This would be the largest of the seven assemblies and remains active in gospel outreach among the children and in open-air meetings. Very recently we had a series of gospel meetings in the extremely primitive and sinful village of Fond St. Jacques, about five miles southeast of us, near to the rain forest. We were there 25 years ago with large numbers attending, and again five years ago in the same venue with large numbers; but on this occasion the response was only fair.
In Soufriere, we have just closed another series of gospel meetings with the attendance below expectations. The immediate area around the hall remains indifferent. Prior to the gospel meetings, we had one week of ministry in the hall, which we trust will prove profitable amid the great doctrinal error that exists on the Island.
A visit was made last week to the Forestiere assembly in the north for a week of ministry meetings. Because of the convenience of the location, the other three assemblies were able to attend.
The most aggressive and progressive people in St. Lucia are the Seventh Day Adventists, who presently have a tent pitched in the village of Soufriere capable of seating 500 people. Our great need is to see elders raised up who will be able to guide and care for the saints and help in the many moral problems that arise.
We covet the prayers of the Lords people for preservation of the testimonies and guidance with regard to the progress of the work.