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Work in progress. Return here for updates January 3.

Men's Ministries News for October 2016

Pastor Nikita Thompson, Adventist Men's Director for the South Bahamas Conference is leading the men of the church in repairing home that were damaged from Hurricane Matthew.

Photos below were taken on Sunday, October, 30, 2016

Two Outstanding Adventists Pass Away

Two outstanding Seventh-day Adventist leaders pass away.

"Alan Collins, sculptor of 'silent sermons,’ dies at 88 on October 18, 2016. He sculptured many great pieces that are located around the world. Read entire story from the Adventist News Network.

Lowell Bock, former General Conference vice president, died at 93 on August 22, 2016. "Lowell Bock, a former general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church who oversaw significant changes at Loma Linda University, has died at the age of 93." Read entire story in the Adventist News Network

Here are some of the outstanding sculptures of Alan Collins.

From the President's Desk October 29, 2016

The President's Desk is a feature of the weekly Logos (Conference Newsletter)

CHURCH MUSIC COORDINATORS: South Bahama Conference music coordinator, Audrey Dean-Wright is asking all church music coordinators, choir leaders, praise team leaders in our churches to meet with her at the Centreville Seventh-day Adventist Church today (October 29) at 5:00 p.m. for an urgent meeting regarding the visit of the Aeolians choir in January. Your presence at this vital meeting is greatly appreciated. The meeting will be held in the music room of the church.

STATE OF THE CONFERENCE AND THE AEOLIANS CONCERT: The South Bahamas Conference’s State of the Conference weekend will be held during the visit of the world famous Aeolians, of Oakwood University. The State of the Conference will take place on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 6:45 p.m. The first of three workshops will begin following the service. The service will be held at the Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Aeolians choir will be featured in two concerts. The first one will be at the Balmoral Resort on Saturday evening, January 7, 2016. The second concert will be held at the Bahamas Faith Ministries on Sunday evening, January 8, 2017.

The proceeds from these concerts will go toward the new South Bahamas Conference multipurpose building and part proceeds to assist with ongoing efforts for victims of Hurricane Matthew.

The Saturday evening event will be limited to 200 persons, and the second event will accommodate over a thousand persons. Begin to put funds aside for this once in a lifetime event in our conference. Tickets will be available for sale by November 12, 2016.

Adventist businesspersons willing to further support this effort with an ad for the concert booklet may contact us at the conference office for further details.

3. Hurricane relief effort is ongoing. Every dollar counts, as well as food items and clothing. Our brothers and sisters in Grand Bahama have been severely impacted by the hurricane. Our help, if possible, is greatly needed. Come to the office or call us at 3414021 and let us know how you would like to assist. Thanks to all for the contributions received in cash and kind. We express gratitude to the Adventist men of the local churches who have assisted in repair and clean-up efforts.

INGATHERING 2016-2017: Due to Hurricane Matthew, the Ingathering program will be launched in our churches on November 12, 2016. Plan to be a part of the event.

PROPERTY NEEDED: The Agape church is in need of a parcel of land to relocate their church. Members who have knowledge of reasonably priced properties in New Providence are kindly asked to contact Pastor Carl Johnson.

STEWARDSHIP: Are you preparing your will or trust and would like to include God’s church in the same? Give us a call and speak with Anthony Burrows who will give guidance. He will also advise you on competent Adventist lawyers who are willing to assist you in this area of stewardship. Please call 341-4021. -Pastor Paul Scavella, President

We Ought to be Thankful

This article was wirtten by Dr. John Carey as the lead story for the Logos (Conference weekly newsletter) for October 29, 2016

When we read the newspapers, listen to the radio, watch TV and observe what is happening on social media, we are confronted with reports of crime, poverty, hunger, immorality, corruption, lawlessness, and natural disasters. However, in spite of these conditions that plague our society, we ought to be thankful. But you may ask, “If we are living in such a negatively charged environment, how can anyone be thankful? Why should we be thankful after experiencing a devastating hurricane such as Matthew?” (This was a category 4 hurricane that destroyed scores of homes and businesses on the islands in the northern Bahamas.)

In our humanness, we might complain about everything that is wrong in our society, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can respond in a positive way to any situation.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 13, NKJV). Therefore, notwithstanding our recent ordeal with Matthew, we ought to give God thanks. In fact, let us consider the following five reasons why we ought to be thankful:

  • The Bible says we should give thanks. Psalm 107: 1t says, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endure forever.” And in Ephesians 5: 20, Paul counsels the believers “giving thanks always to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As Bible believing Christians, we must accept guidance and instructions from the Word of God.
  • We ought to be thankful for God’s love and mercy. God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us (John 3: 16), and “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In love and mercy, He reaches out to us to give us every opportunity to be saved; for He does not want anyone made in His image to perish (2 Peter 3: 9).
  • We ought to be thankful for the promises of God. With good intentions, we humans make promises to one another, but too often we fail to fulfill what we promise. However, when God makes a promise, He keeps it without fail. We can turn to the Scriptures to find comfort and assurance in time of need. He has promised not to leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5). And most importantly, we are assured of salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 4: 12). Just as He vowed not to break His promise to David, God is faithful in fulfilling all His promises to us (Psalm 89: 33 - 34).
  • We ought to be thankful for our families and friends. God made us as social beings to interact with others. We need one another to fulfill our need for love and fellowship. Each group (our immediate family, church family, and friends) provides a level of support that is necessary to enhance our total development.
  • We ought to be thankful for being alive. Many of us have encountered situations in which our lives were threatened. Hurricane Matthew was the most recent threat to the lives of most of us in the northern Bahamas, but by God’s grace and mercy, we were spared. Thanks be to God for protecting and preserving our lives! We ought to show our gratitude by daily abiding in Jesus (through consistent prayer and Bible study), and live each day in anticipation of His coming.

Let us continually give thanks to God, for His loving kindness and abundant mercies endure forever.

Dr. John Carey, Former Director

President of the South Bahamas Conference Retires Association (SoBCRA)

Below is an inspirational video about being thankful. Enjoy.

Ruined Village, but Not a Broken Spirit

By Barrington H. Brennen--Assistant to the president

The ruins--fallen walls, crushed concrete, roof tops blown away, scattered shingles, demolished homes and businesses, popped and tangled utility lines, snapped utility poles, and crushed automobiles. I can go on and on to paint the painful picture we saw during our visit of the little quaint coastal settlement on the northern tip of the largest island in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas—Lowe Sound, Andros. It’s a ruined village but the spirit of the people is not broken.

On Saturday morning, October 22, 2016, about 8 a.m., five of us arrived at the airport in North Andros, via Western Air, to spend the day meeting with Adventist believers and community residents who suffered great loss due to Hurricane Matthew. The team was led by Barrington Brennen, assistant to the president, South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Other team members were Isac and Josania Possato, Adventist business entrepreneurs and philanthropists from Brazil and Bryan Barrett, professional builder and member of the Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church, Nassau.

The Island of Andros is divided into three large geographical districts-North, Central, and South. The northern part of Andros, where Lowe Sound is located, has eleven settlements or what most people call villages, with accumulative population, according to the 2010 census, of 3,898. Lowe Sound is the most densely populated of the villages with about 800 residents. Perhaps this is so because of its unique shoreline beauty and bone fishing industry.

Most of the residents of this little town that was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew are either working for the Government utility companies and schools, or are self-employed as fishermen or farmers. There are a few who are working at the United States Navy's Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) several miles south of this little settlement. Interestingly, the head of the North Andros High School, located in Lowe Sound, is Edward Rolle, a Seventh-day Adventist. There are 375 pupils enrolled at the school. Latonia Kelly, a nurse of the area clinic located in nearby Nicholls Town and two nursing assistants at the clinic, Helena Russell and Vyomie Knowles, and one of the police officers in North Andros, Grevian Nixon, are all Seventh-day Adventists. They are members of the Lowe Sound Seventh-day Adventist Church which has a membership of 200.

The little shoreline of Lowe Sound is known to be peaceful. For many decades the residents enjoyed the calm and beautiful waters as they lapped upon the shores just a few yards from many of their homes. It’s not a beach port but a fish and boat port. Bonefish abound in the shallow waters surrounding the settlement, making it one of the world’s havens for bone fishing lovers. For decades small restaurants dotted the edge of the waters. Their wood or concrete structures sat on top of the coral rocks where the entrepreneurs sold native delicacies to locals and visitors from around the world.

No one in the village realized that the tamed beautiful waters that nestled this peaceful village would turn into a giant tidal wave of ocean water that would steamroll through their homes and businesses like a gruesome, uncontrollable monster---hitting, smashing, pushing, grabbing, knocking and ripping apart wood and concrete. A few homes were literally washed off their foundations. In the local cemetery, a few seemingly unmovable big tombs were washed yards away from their resting places. One tomb actually meandered in the flood water across the street into another yard. Some tomb tops were bust open by the gushing waters that remained over eight-feet high for hours. For days after the hurricane, residents sought out the few floating caskets and exposed remains, returning them to their rightful places.

One resident pointing off shore to the nearby island said: “Do you see that island over there?” “Yes,” I responded. With a little nervousness in his voice, he said: “I actually witnessed a twenty-foot wave roll over that island and rumbled through the bay toward land then crashed on the shoreline; pushing buildings away like bulldozers. I was up on a little hill.” He said: “We have never had anything like this before. We have never had this kind of rough weather. Never.” Another resident told me that although he was safe in his home away from shore on a high ridge, he still could hear like a loud big train roaring down the tracks. “It was scary,” he said. At the time he had no idea it was a big tidal wave rolling into shore.

As we drove around the settlement on this sunny Saturday morning, a worship day for Seventh-day Adventists, it was evident that many were managing through their pain and shock. Many were trying to resume the regular duties as they began repairing or rebuilding their homes or businesses. We visited the large and closed Evans’ Convenience Store that, after the hurricane, had five feet of water in it and also in the attached home. The owner lost everything, except the furniture and equipment they elevated above the water. The owner said to me: “We will open the store again.” That’s the spirit I could see on the faces of the Seventh-day Adventist members we visited and the residents we talked with on the way. They will rise again! Determination saturates the spirit of most of the residents of this little settlement.

Yes, we did see the pain and potential misery. However, on the other hand we also saw a spirit of togetherness; people helping one another. After the hurricane, two Androsian families residing in Lowe Sound, but away from the shoreline, made a decision to be good Samaritans. Every day they brought a cooked breakfast and supper to give away from the back of their cars. I witnessed that with my own eyes. I inquired and was told about this beautiful story.

On the other hand, to the eyes of this visiting team, the devastation is obviously overwhelming. We could tell that many would not be able to rebuild on their own. This is why Seventh-day Adventist businessman and philanthropist, Isac Possato, came with us to Andros. He wanted to assess the damage personally, meet the people, and decide how best he would provide for the needs for the Seventh-day Adventist believers and the community. To calculate the approximate cost of rebuilding, we measured the foundation of those homes that were washed away. We observed the condition of roofs and entered some of the shattered homes that remained standing. The Government relocated temporally some people to small nearby hotels and other places while reconstruction begins.

That morning several men from Jamaica Public Service who came to assist the local power company, were climbing utility poles doing their best to untangle and restore the power lines. Also, the telephone company (BTC) had organized a community fun day in the village to build the spirit of the people.

Importantly, we met for two hours with the Adventist members at the Lowe Sound Church. More than 80 people were present, including adults and children. The church main sanctuary received minor carpet damage, and thus it is in good condition. However, the pastor's study and fellowship received significant structural damage. It was an inspiration to me and the team to listen to the attendees’ experiences. I asked them to describe their feelings during and after the hurricane by just using one word. Some of the words were fear, anxiety, disbelief, shock, and irritable. As a psychologist, I shared with them the normal responses after a traumatic event and how to cope. I gave each one a prepared handout titled, “Emotional Wellness after a Hurricane” I also answered their questions about coping with the loss and adjusting. I reminded them that as Christians we know that God did not promise we will not have pain or tragedy in our lives. But He did promise to be with us, always. I stressed that the existence of tragedy is not a sign of a lack of faith or even a lack of victory in Jesus. I stressed that Jesus just wants us to trust and depend on him.

An important part of the two hours together was the testimony of Isac Possato. He shared, through his translator, Leo, who traveled with him from Brazil, about his journey from being a poor little boy in Brazil to becoming the president and now owner of a large business—Cascadura--in Brazil and Florida, USA. This Seventh-day Adventist businessman owns nine factories in mechanical engineering in Brazil and two in Florida.

He shared with the members in Lowe Sound that he made a commitment twenty years ago to live a modest life and return as much as he could of his profits to social work in the community. He does not even desire to own a plane or yacht. He is committed to serving others. He said that he was in Florida during the hurricane and heard about the need in North Andros and decided to offer assistance. [ See Video ]

At the end of the two-hour meeting, we formed a circle holding hands. Then we sang one verse of “Blessed be the ties that Bind” and closed with prayer by Isac Possato and Barrington Brennen. After the prayer the entire group posed for a photo.

Their spirit has not been broken. The people will build again. Mr. Possato will return home to Brazil to consider his contribution and how to work with the Conference administration and church pastor to respond to the needs. Ruined village, but not a broken spirit.

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