March 28, 2024

Young Adventists Make an Impact in The Bahamas, Cayman, Turks and Caicos Islands

On Global Youth Day, youth step up to ‘Be the Sermon’ across several Caribbean islands.

Henry R. Moncur III, Atlantic Caribbean Union Conference Communication, and Inter-American Division News Staff
Durnique Bostwick (center) of the Centreville Seventh-day Adventist Church prays for a man who was walking by and requested prayer in Nassau, The Bahamas, on March 16. [Photo: John Garcia/ATCU]

Under the theme “Show Up in the Cities,” hundreds of Adventists, most between the ages of 4 and 30, showed up in communities across the territory of the Atlantic Caribbean Union Conference (ATCU) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the annual Global Youth Day (GYD) on March 16. Volunteers participated in service projects that impacted their communities with the love of Jesus in action.

“Show Up in the Cities” was more than a slogan in the Atlantic Caribbean Union, but a practical reality, church leaders said. Excited, enthused, and engaged youth became the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus and showed up, making a difference in their communities.

“It was great to see the transmission of the gospel continuing through our young people on this day,” Terry Tannis, youth ministries director of the ATCU, said. “It was a delight observing our youth in sharing the nuggets of joy with their communities. We represent what Christ has done in our lives, and because [of] what Christ has done for us, we have to show up,” he said.

In the Cayman Islands

Young people from all 16 Adventist churches across Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and students from Cayman Academy, wearing blue, purple, and yellow shirts, flooded the streets of George Town. Despite rain, the youth engaged in outreach and service activities. “It was great. People were receptive and respectful, and we had fun sharing the word,” Markino Fearon, a participant, said.

Young volunteers distributed books, personalized water bottles bearing the words of John 4:14, and invitations to the upcoming “Reset” evangelistic campaign. They also prayed for and encouraged citizens, presented certificates of appreciation to the country’s emergency response teams, and handed over more than 40 pairs of glasses to the Lions Club of Cayman.

Merl Watkins, youth ministries director of the Cayman Islands Conference, expressed immense joy at witnessing the “authenticity of youth in sharing their faith.” Watkins underscored the role of Adventist youth in serving others and encouraged them to embrace their faith unashamedly.

GYD concluded with a road march and an evening of worship.

In Northern Bahamas

In the North Bahamas Conference, young people assembled in the capital of Grand Bahama, West End. Along with members of the recently reopened Seventh-day Adventist church in that community, the youth conducted several activities for GYD.

A team of doctors coordinated dental screenings, and more than 40 children had their teeth cleaned by the dental hygienist on site. This initiative was the first of its kind to be implemented in the West End community and was greatly welcomed and appreciated by residents. “I was amazed to see the church giving back to the community so soon after reopening,” one parent commented.

Youth teams distributed bags of fruit and Adventist literature and organized singing events. “I feel like we made a great impact because we were able to put a smile on other people’s faces,” a young participant said.

A key highlight of the day was a blood drive organized by the youth. The Member of Parliament of the West End and Bimini constituency visited the site of the blood drive and dental clinic and expressed his appreciation.

Peter Watson, youth ministries director of the North Bahamas Conference, noted that “the events by our youth today have given excitement to the community leaders in West End, and we are looking forward to a partnership in the future to continue activities of this nature.”

In Southern Bahamas

The South Bahamas Conference (SBC) held a rally in one of the oldest inner-city communities in New Providence. Present at the rally were members of the police force as part of a new partnership between the youth ministries department and the Royal Bahamas Police Force Centreville Urban Renewal. Urban Renewal is an organization that focuses on youth and team-building exercises.

During the rally, young people distributed packaged breakfasts, prayed for children in the communities, shared copies of The Great Controversy by Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White, visited senior citizens, held a Stop the Violence rally to speak on the importance of peacemaking initiatives, shared school supplies and toys to children, and provided loaves of bread. In addition, free health screenings were offered to the dozens of people at the youth rally site.

“We hope by the grace of God that these projects will continue,” Jamal Franklyn, youth ministries director of the South Bahamas Conference, said.

In Turks and Caicos

In the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference (TCIC), outreach activities were varied and featured collaboration from multiple ministries with each church.

At the Blue Hills Adventist church in Providenciales, a community impact exposition was the main activity. Booths were erected on the church grounds where young people distributed clothing and hot meals to community members. They also offered free weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar tests. Children manned a special booth where they prepared devotional and inspirational crafts that were shared with the children who visited the exposition.

Groups of young people went out into neighboring communities distributing Adventist literature and praying with people in their homes and on the streets. In the tourist hub of Grace Bay, youth from the Ephesus Adventist church shared specially crafted devotional material and prayed with people.

The Ebenezer and Antioch churches in Grand Turk followed Jesus’ call to visit the sick and those in prison. One group visited a hospital, sang to patients, and distributed literature. Another group visited the local prison to share the love of Jesus with the inmates, sing, pray, and distribute literature.

One participant, Amelia Daniel, reported that one of the people visited, a mechanic at his workshop, said that he was very impressed to see how enthusiastic the young people were. “He remarked that this was a very positive endeavor, especially when compared with all the negative news regarding young people in the society,” Daniel shared.

ATCU is headquartered in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas, and oversees four conferences with more than 28,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 92 churches and congregations. The church operates several primary and secondary schools throughout the territory. Together with the Jamaica Union, the ATCU owns and operates Northern Caribbean University, located in Mandeville, Jamaica.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site. Devarro Whitaker, Patelle Jones, Jacob Daniel, Sabbath Bethel, and Michelle Greene contributed to this report.