Pastor Brent St Jean enjoining the scenery
On July 7th, 2019, campers tugged their suitcases onto the compound of the Delices Primary School in St. Patrick, Dominica. It took them approximately fifteen hours to arrive there from Kingstown, St. Vincent. “Does the school have Wifi?” the campers inquired while glancing worriedly. Bert, one of the van drivers quickly retorted… “Wifi?! You all lucky you have light and water, Wifi is pushing it”. Bert, a Dominican, unlike many of the campers who now stood on Dominican soil for the first time, was aware of what transpired when Hurricane Maria ravished the West Indian Island in September 2017. For him, no Wifi was no tragedy; if anything, it meant they will not be distracted from the mountain ranges that flanked the school on both sides or the White River that flowed down from Victoria falls just west of the school. They were now in Delices looking up at the clouds as they brushed the mountain peaks; feeling the gentle and sometimes cold breeze.
They were now in Delices looking up at the clouds as they brushed the mountain peaks; feeling the gentle and sometimes cold breeze. The village’s name derives from the French word délices, translated as “delights”, or délice meaning “a delightful thing” and truly, a delightful thing was about to unfold.
Hurricane Maria was the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica, the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since 2004, the tenth-most intense hurricane on record and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2017. With the climate changing and storms becoming stronger, our spirit, resilience and determination to rebuild stronger must increase in equal proportion. Thus, the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Mission of Seventh-day Adventists through its Youth Department planned and executed a Senior Youth Mission Camp themed IMPACT Dominica 2019. Seventy-three campers took the voyage and launched the mission. One of the main objectives of the camp was to rebuild the Boetica Seventh-day Adventist Church which was completely destroyed by the hurricane. Of the thirty-six (36) Adventist Churches on the island, all were damaged and only eight (8) were operational immediately after the passage of the hurricane. Up to present day, the South East District remains without a Church and services for Boeticans are held at the home of one of its members. By the grace and for the glory of God, the campers were able to run up all the blocks for the church in three (3) days. The project was started by the Maranatha International Volunteers and the SVG Mission of SDA are very happy to partner with them to see this project through to completion.
The mission camp was not all work as Dominica remains the Nature Isle of the region. Damaged but beautiful! Island tours saw visits to the White River, the Kalinago Village, the Emerald Pool, the capital city Roseau, Trafalgar Falls, the Sulphur Springs and the Fresh Water Lake. This afforded the campers an opportunity to experience the food, culture and warmth of their Dominican Brethren & the Indigenous Kalinago people.
Pastor Brent St. Jean, Youth Director and Jemalie John, Camp Director and President of the Adventist Youth Ministries Advisory Council (AYMAC) will like to thank all those who made the mission a success. To the campers who braved the ocean in the dark of night and sacrificed their usual comforts; to the many masons who gave of their skill – a heartfelt thank you. Special mention is made of Bequia Express Company who transported the campers at a reasonable cost.
The SVG Mission intends to bring this project to completion by the end of 2019 and invites all who are desirous of making a contribution to contact the Youth Director at [email protected].
The Seventh Day Adventist Church through its Youth Department hosts youth camps across St. Vincent and the Grenadines during the Carnival weekend annually. This is done to encourage youths to shun fleshly activities and to use the time to learn life skills, engage in mission and have wholesome spiritual and social interactions. Below is a video of the Senior Youth Mission Camp. Follow the Youth Department Facebook page at the same link to stay updated on upcoming initiatives.