Monday, October 7, 2013

St Kitts1.0: Days 3&4

Day 3:
Sunday! It's a full day every week in Knoxville, and it was the one day that was pretty "busy" in St Kitts as well.
Worship Team Practicing
 
Aaron and I hanging out before the service
 
Brandon preaching the word
 
 
  Brandon is the pastor at Caribbean Christian Fellowship. This church is made up of mostly students from the vet school and medical schools (however, a new Kittitian family sat right in front of us). We enjoyed this service immensely! We learned all about Acts 18:18-28 and about being "set apart" for God. I loved that he is just preaching the Word of God , no more and no less. We got a chance before and after the service to meet a lot of the students and hear about their experiences living in St Kitts. Its such a neat perspective that we can learn a lot from. We hope that God will use us to invest in the lives of the students on the island as well as the Kittitians.
 
  After church, Aaron and Brandon headed off to play flag football with the Ross students. It's a whole league and apparently it gets pretty intense. Aaron had a blast! Sorry, I wasn't there so I did not get any pictures :( During the game, I got to hang out with Wendi, Audri, Keaton and Shane. Shane is a Kittitian. He's 13 years old and just started high school. He has been involved in the AWANAS club program that the Graysons do and he hangs out with them on Sundays. He goes to CCF with them and even plays drums for the worship team. He is a great guy with huge hopes and dreams for his future! It's obvious the impact the Graysons have had on his life for Jesus.
Audri and Shane
 
Shane
 
 
  Next on the agenda that day was a 40 year anniversary celebration for Pastor James Brown of Cayon Church of God. 
Sweet little girl reading a poem she wrote about her reverend
 
The choir
 
It was definitely a charismatic service, lots of standing and moving and dancing
 
A doctorate being bestowed onto Reverend Brown
 
  It was definitely a new experience for us visiting a Kittitian church, but it was really cool to see how they worship and how they honor someone who has fed into them. Even this service was on "island time" however. We were there for 2 1/2 hours and the main speaker still had not started! Unfortunately, we had to sneak out at that point. It was time to get home for dinner and the ladies bible study. The bible study was really cool! About 10 women from CCF (Christian Caribbean Fellowship) come to the Graysons' house and Wendi leads them in studying different books in the bible. That night they were starting 1 Corinthians. I loved the format of the study and I leaned a lot about that book!
 
  While we were doing bible study, Aaron and Brandon went to a basketball court to shoot around. While they were there a young man showed up and started talking to them. A lot of conversations are started when the islanders see white people hanging around in the non-tourist areas. This young man, Ian, was actually a student at Windsor Medical School there in St Kitts. He grew up in Kenya, moved to the states as a teenager, and now found himself on the island. He had met a man earlier in the year who was on a missions trip to St Kitts and staying with the Graysons. The seeds that the first man planted prompted Ian to ask Brandon and Aaron all kinds of questions about the bible and about God. Aaron was very humbled to be able to see how God has been working in Ian's life this year, and to be used as a servant of God to further His kingdom. 1 Corinthians 3:6 "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow." It was incredible that Aaron and Brandon were able to "water the seed" planted by someone earlier in the year. God doesn't change, and the way he works through us doesn't change either :)  Ian is planning to get connected with CCF and the men's bible study. Please be praying with us that God continues to grow the seed in Ian's heart.

 
Day 4:
Monday was a great day! We got to drive around the entire island and see how most of the Kittitians live. Get ready for a ton of pictures, and since a picture says 1,000 words I will keep my own words to a minimum :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The church that had the celebration we went to Sunday
 
My camera man, I love watching him to something he loves :)
 
 
 
Basketball court, there was one in every town. This is one way that we believe God wants Aaron to reach out to the Kittitians.
 
 
 
 
Government housing.
 
Goats, they belong to someone but they roam free
 
 
 
Black Rock
 
 
awwww <3
 
 
The contrast between the beauty of the land and the reality of the homes and towns is really striking.
 
 
 
Most of the small towns had people just hanging out around town in the middle of the morning.
 
 
A memorial in the town that the Prime Minister grew up in
 
 
I love the mountains, I am so grateful to God that he is calling us somewhere that still has them!
 
 
The Port and downtown
 
I had to take this picture. It was the Brazilian embassy and Brazil is the first country I ever went on a missions trip to!
 
 
 
The slums/ghetto part of downtown right outside of Port Zante
 
 
  We spent the second half of the day with Andy and Jillian! They took us to see Ross, see their house, and to see the auto parts store lol. Their poor car really was struggling while we were there, but that seems to be a common island problem :) They also took us to Port Zante, showed us the better places to buy souvenirs and introduced us to Johnny Cake sandwiches! They are made out of fried sweet dough and filled with chicken or fish with toppings and yummy sauce. Aaron says he doesn't even like fish, but he liked the fish Johnny Cake sandwich, lol. I will be craving one until we go back! Being able to see Ross and to experience a bit of the life that Jillian lives every day was wonderful. I never thought I would get to see Jillian any time in the near future and the fact that Jesus has allowed our paths to cross in this way blessed my heart. Thank you Andy and Jillian for giving us a taste of your life and welcoming us into your home (and letting us meet Roy!).
 

 
The Vander Yachts House, The have an apartment on the lower floor. Most of the "large" homes in St Kitts are split up this way.
 
 
  It was a really nice to day get a feel for the island and get our bearings. We also spent some time that evening sharing stories with the Graysons about our lives and our testimonies. Brandon and Wendi are really great and we enjoyed getting to know them even better! We know we are going to be blessed to be in ministry with them when we get to St Kitts.
 
 
Next time we post it will be about our last bit of our trip and hopefully a lot about our upcoming trip for the Festival of Life as well as ways you can get involved with that!
 
 
Thanks for reading, Love you all!
The Comers
 


Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Comers in St.Kitts 1.0: Days 1 & 2


Our first glimpse of St Kitts!



We finally got to step onto the beautiful island country of St. Kitts. It was breathtaking! From the large mountains to the glimmering sea, it was a stunning first impression. Now before you click off of this post and continue on with something else thinking that we just spent a few days in paradise, please know that this was not a Caribbean vacation :) Right up against the pretty scenery were glimpses of reality that the people who live there do not enjoy the same experiences as the guests of the Marriott or the cruisers exploring the port. Small homes in need of repair, old cars that always need to be fixed, most people walking because they have no other reliable transportation. We were ready to get a real picture of life living in St. Kitts. Brandon Grayson picked us up from the airport and we drove the short distance to his family's home in Bird Rock. They live in the top story of a home that has been separated into 3 apartments. We found out that most of the "larger" homes on the island were divided up that way, very rarely did one family live in the whole thing alone. Everything in the house was made of tile, and the windows and doors were opened to allow the breeze to flow through. Air conditioning is not a luxury most have, and it's not used in the day time even if the house has it. We were blessed to have AC in our bedroom for the stay and boy was it refreshing to cool down in it at night. Most days we were there had highs around 90 with what felt like 100% humidity! It was hot and sticky, but we survived lol.
 

We got to go to one of the three local grocery stores to shop for the week. That price on potatoes is the EC dollars, not US so don't freak out too much :) However I would say that the overall grocery bill was at least 50% higher than here in Knoxville.

That night the Vander Yachts came over for dinner! Jillian and Andy were in our small group here in Knoxville until the moved to St Kitts for Jillian to attend Ross Vetrinary School. It was so incredible to see them for the first time in almost 10 months, especially since we never thought we would be visiting their new residence! It was such a sweet time to catch up and reconnect. After dinner one of the Graysons' friends named Evris came over to ask them to pray for his friend, Jonothan, who had been hospitalized due to a fever. While Evris was with us, Jonothan starting going in and out of consciousness and had a several seizures. Brandon went to the hospital to pray with the family. The next morning Jonothan passed away. Please be praying for his family as they grieve this healthy young man who got sick out of no where. In St Kitts many young adults are not Christians because they are waiting until they can "get rid of all their sin" before they will accept Christ. Please pray that the sudden death of Jonothan will open the eyes of his friends to realize that they may not have later to make that decision and pray for people like the Graysons who are teaching God's grace and transformation. 

Saturday, Day 2, was a fun day of seeing the beach and making new friends. We headed out in the morning to Carambola beach to go swimming and cool off! We met the Vander Yachts there (they almost couldn't make it, their car wouldn't start for a while. We soon learned that the little things going wrong was normal and they often joked about "island problems." We were also joined by another couple from their church, Erica and Scott Miller. We had so much fun soaking in the Caribbean Sea and learning more about life on the island. It was fun to watch the Grayson's kids, Audri and Keaton, play in the sand and splash in the waves (I have to admit, it made me miss Addalyn and Dean like crazy!). We ate lunch at a little hut styled restaurant at the other end of the bay. Erica Miller is also a Vet student, so we got to hear more about what it's like to be an American student on the island. We will be moving there willingly because of God's direction, so we are pretty excited. I think it can be a very hard adjustment for some of the students who were going to Ross or the medical schools because it was their fall back plan and not their first choice. I love the grad student side of the Grayson's ministry. It's such an important thing to encourage and love and feed into these men and women who are so far from home!
 



 
After lunch, we headed back to the house to get cleaned up and Aaron and Brandon went with Sean Miller to do a local radio show that is broadcast every Saturday. Sean, his wife Mandi, and their daughter Maddie are missionaries through Child Evangelism Fellowship. They will be in St Kitts until January and then they will be getting prepared to move to Turks and Caicos. You can read more about their ministry at A Moment with the Millers.The radio show consisted of Brandon and Sean reading a discussing a passage out of the bible. Aaron filmed part of the show. Towards the end Sean asked Aaron to chime in with his thoughts. Aaron was able to share a little of his testimony and experience with grace. We were listening at the house and it was so cool to hear Aaron's voice on the radio!
 
That night the Millers came over for dinner. We had so much fun getting to know Sean and Mandi! We picked the Millers' and Graysons' brains about St Kitts, life as missionaries, and getting prepared. I'm sad that the Millers will already be gone by the time we get back. We can't wait to hear all about their ministry in Turks and Caicos and everything God will do there!

Since this is quite a lot, I will continue the story of our trip in the next post :) I will say that we already miss this country and are aching to get back, and to get there permanently! Our next trip is scheduled for Feb 24-March1. I will post more details about it, but we would like to take a group with us to serve for the Festival of Life! The website for the festival is www.folcaribbean.com. Check it out and if it sounds interesting to you then please be praying about possibly serving with us that week!