So many of us imagine St. Lucia as a paradise in the Caribbean, warm weather all the time, tropical rain showers daily, fruits and vegetables in abundance, a beautiful variety of flowers in bloom, seemingly little to cause worry , and yes, so beautiful! Yes it is all these things and more. The people are welcoming and warm, helpful and kind. They are ready to help us find our way around town. Our parish in Marchand, Sacred Heart Parish, gave us a such a warm welcome, even though no one knew we were going to show up that Sunday for the first time. We have met the parishioners around town, on the street vending, or in a fabric store, they are equally welcoming there too. Here we are with Monsignor Bonifacio, the priest at Sacred Heart. This used to be a vibrant parish, but things have changed. The community surrounding the parish has changed. Families are falling a part. We found a local cookbook a few days ago (this and a bunch of kid’s books, another surprise blessing from the Lord last week). On the back of the cookbook it is says “St. Lucia, One of the last truly unspoiled Caribbean islands.” From what we hear the change started about 40 years ago and much has culminated in the last 10.
In fact as I was working on this blog post we were interrupted by the sound of gunfire. The kids were not alarmed by this, not knowing that gunfire in a city is not the same as target practice at Grandpa’s house. So we gathered and prayed for the city and St. Lucia. At the time of first composing this post I included the link below, trying to illustrate the changes taking place here, but the actual event of hearing actual gunfire and hearing a woman screaming and crying in the distance make the point just as well. This gunfight was revenge for the Friday shooting mentioned in the link below.
If you have time look at this link: Friday’s St. Lucia Star on the violence
As we ponder and pray about what the Lord wants done here, I keep asking myself what has happened in the last 40 years? What part are we called to do? I am confident the Lord will show us. This is His work and He knows what He wants to accomplish here. I am not saying this over confidently, but because I am reminded of a scripture we have leaned on through out the process of becoming full time missionaries. Isaiah 42:16 says
“I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will lead them. I will turn the darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I will do for them, and I WILL NOT FORSAKE THEM”
In a college creative writing course, I remember a lecture where our teacher explained how if you feel stifled at times, be at peace, maybe you have not had the life experience that will allow you to complete your intended writing. While not feeling stifled, I did run out of time to complete this post, and it seems more life experience will add to the second part where I intended to show that there is hope and the sun is rising. Many who read this post may pick up on my intended Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers imagery from the phrase “the sun is rising”
The Signs of Hope:
“God Love You!” For many of us we have heard it said so many times that it has almost become clichéd. One of the many wonderful things about missionary life is that you really get to experience the hand of God and see Him loving on people, cities, and entire countries. So many times we live in protected little corners of the world, we strive to protect ourselves from danger and harm, but this can prevent us from seeing God do things. The poor MUST rely on the Lord and He moves. St. Lucia is not a rich nation, unemployment is a way of life for many here during the off season of tourism (about 6 months of the year), many are stuck in the ghettos. But God Loves these people! HIS Heart is for them and here is a list illustrating some of the signs of hope I see.
- He is sending many missionaries here. Missionaries bring encouragement just by their presence. They bring the palpable love of God with them. It is awesome.
- not just us, the Good News Project and others.
- We met a group from the Diocese of Venice in Florida that is bringing 30 kids down here in August
- FMC is trying to organize a month long mission school here.
- We will be living in the south of the Island in May because other missionaries who come each year will stay in this residence.
- Archbishop Rivas is not sitting around, he is busy!, His heart is with the people, the day we went to Choiseul he not only called on the people to live their faith, but to make this Lent a special time of prayer, penance, special peace marches,and more. Yet he takes time to know those around him.
- The Lord brought us here, provides for all our needs through our generous donors
- I put up a simple blog post about basketball and the response is amazing, I hope to get a basketball hoop up this week!
- The Priests are not silent about the problems, but calling people to change and make a difference
The Sunrise looking from the same spot as above on morning after I was praying about what the theme for this blog post should be.
The Lord loves St. Lucia as He does all his children, with an everlasting love! There is hope! We can all make a difference when we are seeking to do God’s will each moment of each day!
Read some of these articles the Family Life Secretariat’s office and others are putting in the local newspaper.
- Whatever Happened to Fatherhood?
- Father! Teach your children values
- We need the Family
- The restoration of Fatherhood
- The Myth of Overpopulation
If you look at these articles and follow what we are doing you will see that there are many battles left to fight, but Hope is begin to dawn, The Sun is rising!
Come Lord Jesus!, Come Holy Spirit!