Some cultures love a good debate and, in my limited view, Grenadian culture is one of them. The problem is when well motived debates slip into venomous emotions and disrespect. If you interact with the world around you sooner or later you will experience these things, probably sooner. In Grenada on a spiritual level it usually involves a heated discussion on what my church teaches and what you should or shouldn’t do. Since the Adventists are so big in Grenada I often find myself answering questions about why we worship on Sunday or why we eat pork. With Jehovah’s Witness it is usually a question about the trinity along with accusations that we worship three Gods not one. Last week I got a question about our choice of Bible translation. You know, “If the King James was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us.” (Sometimes you can’t convince people that the KLV was written 1,600 years after Jesus was born.) Along with this often is the idea that the NIV translation is missing verses of the Bible! Well, truth is they are not missing, they have been relegated to footnotes with good reason. (See link for more information… http://www.missingverses.com/. Questions like these and a hundred others are healthy. They make us search for truth. Unfortunately too many, including us sometimes, aren’t interested in truth, but in winning a disagreement, even at the cost of destroying unity and love. It is hard sometimes to know when to continue “giving an answer” or when to “shake the dust off” and walk away. It is one of those things I have always found challenging in the ministry.
Sometimes people read here and they think, “Wow, lots of good things going on there. And it is true, God has really blessed us. But getting where we are, with an active ministry that makes so many connections with such a variety of people each week, has been a monumental task, a miracle in a lot of ways. So, let me tell you why we are so thankful.
October marked the first ever Caribbean Pastor/Teacher conference in Antigua. Four of our teachers and our office manager Tamara and myself attended. The above picture is with board member Pastor Ron and Lois. The travel itself was a bonding experience for teachers, some of whom were not used to traveling. The training we received was insightful and encouraging. Since it was our first time we quickly figured out some things we would like to do better, but the Antiguans were wonderful hosts and our people are eager to meet again soon. We are so proud of Adonna Moore, Felisha McPhoy, Alex Medford, Ellen Soukup, and Tamara Stuart Barry for working hard to improve.
Grace Lutheran School is in full swing in its second year with now over 60 students. There have been again bumps in the road over the past month, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive and our staff is molding together into something very special. I want to especially note newcomer teacher apprentice Aurea Stroude. She has added a big smile and a ton of energy to the kindergarten classroom. I would also like to note praise for our new kitchen staff. Church members Denise Philip and Crystal Ross have not only been outstanding chefs, but good business persons, and excellent at communicating with parents and children. We are so thankful for them. They are adding a whole new dimension to our school. Let me also note church members Alice Braithwaite and Belinda Griffith who come almost daily to clean our huge facility. People who work behind the scenes don’t always get the credit they deserve, but we appreciate these ladies.
The school is not the only thing that is new and improved. The After School Program (GRASP) has added gymnastics to our slate of activities. It immediately became popular with students and parents. Other GRASP programs, Marshal Arts, football (soccer), swimming, and music all experienced growth as well. Adonna Moore has taken over administration of this multi-faceted program.
There is strong evidence that our church is beginning to benefit from all these connections we are making through these programs and ministries. We have had a number of return visitors not only from our programs but from our Woodlands neighbourhood. A highlight this month was our joint school and church beach picnic. Church was packed with school parents and we had a great turnout at the beach and a mingling of our people like we haven’t had since we opened our new facility. It was such a huge success that by popular demand we will do it again early in 2014.
Finally, we finished this month by hosting an island wide Worship Musicians conference/workshop. I had the honour of being one of the main presenters and our amazing facility served as host to over 150 Grenadian musicians. Our own musicians learned so much, especially from sound engineer Hervin Hood of Rubato Studios who was also one of the presenters. We thank also Seba band for organizing the conference. Grace Lutheran had nine musicians representing us.
On a less significant level my secretary Neisha and I moved from the super busy main office to the Clinic/Wellness Centre area. Since the area is not yet used for a clinic, we decided to put part of it to use as an office. It created another work space for us and set up a much more appropriate church office area with a little more privacy. We are so thankful for the facility that has been provided for us. What an amazing blessing, it is making our work that much better. Please pray for us because all the talent, facility, and planning is for naught without the Holy Spirit in it. Please pray also for our sister Donessa freezing at WLC in her first year of study in the USA. She is the one below with the star on her cheek, hah!