Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “impact” as “an impinging or striking especially of one body against another”; “a forceful contact or onset; also, the impetus communicated in or as if in such a contact”; and “the force of impression of one thing on another”. Since our return to Nassau, Julian and I became involved in the life of a local community – Yellow Elder Gardens. We are amazed at the development of the impact we have been witnessing, as we seek to know and live the word of God in that community, especially at CW Sawyer Primary School (CWS).
(From left: Juan, Lorane, Christiana, Aymara, Karen, and John)
We are so grateful to the Lord for using us and our MTW Team as a form of catalyst in unifying this under-served community. The Principal at CWS, (Mrs. D. Phillips), has charged the Literacy Coordinator, Mrs. Williamson, with gathering a list of all the accomplishments we have realized since introducing ourselves in January, 2017.
I’m careful to not divulge everything the Lord has been doing through us; we do not want our “left hand” to know what the “right hand” has been doing, (see Matthew 6:1-4). Although, I would readily tell of how the Lord has used the youth of PCPC during their last Spring Break Mission Trip. This dynamic group of young women – all six of them – has added much “fuel to the fire” of our ministry at CWS.
(PCPC’s Team representatives pose with administrators at CWS. PCPC collected hundreds of books, and the Sr. High Team, led by Danny Stimson and Kristen Nutter lugged those heavy books behind them. Thank you PCPC!)
In addition to leading in the classrooms during the morning hours, these tireless sisters led after-school Bible studies and recreational ministries to literally hundreds of young, energetic and excitable elementary-aged children. They were also very instrumental in revitalizing the school’s vegetable garden, which had been neglected for several years.
These young women made such an impact on the community; a former student, and businessman, (Johnny), agreed to repair and erect new chain-link fencing at cost. He was more than proud to offer his professional services. Johnny shared with Julian how he was so touched that a group would come from Dallas, TX and show so much interest in his neighborhood school. He was proud to participate in this moving enterprise. To God be the Glory!
What else is growing at CWS? We have seeing tomatoes, spinach, bok choy and other vegetables. Thanks to Mrs. Burrows, a fourth-grade teacher and her students who are leading the way in taking care of “their garden”. Covenant Life’s Summer Reading Enrichment ministry is also growing. Last year, we met with 25 students for two weeks, where we focused on helping a select group of students who struggled in their Reading/Comprehension skills. Lord willing, we intend to add three more weeks of focusing on improving the reading skills of up to 100 students this summer. We also have made plans to hold VBS each week, as well as a Sports and Recreation ministry to those who will attend. This initiative is our prayerful response to the Lord for using us to provide a “safe place” for scores of young people, many of whom will be unsupervised during the summer months. Thanks to Mrs. Bastian, the Guidance Counsellor who has been a major “cheerleader” for Covenant Life’s ministry to the students and families of CWS.
(One of t.he PCPC Dynamic Six reads to a CWS Student, during their Sr. High Spring Break Trip)
We have secured 5 short term mission teams from sister-churches throughout the US to assist us in accomplishing this most-needed endeavor. Julian and I are also challenging our Bahamian brothers and sisters, especially those who attend Covenant Life, to join this effort. On Monday, May 21, (Whit Monday, or Pentecost Monday), Covenant Life will host the entire Yellow Elder Gardens community to a time of Food, Fun, Fellowship and Community Building, (I couldn’t think of another word; Julian is the preacher, not me). We plan to serve at least 2,000 hot doges, chips and hundreds more drinks.
Since that day is a national holiday, we will use that time to primarily introduce Covenant Life to the entire community. We will also have a registration table where parents and guardians can “enroll” their children in our summer ministry to that community. We have also invited other local churches and agencies in that community to come and inform every one of their summer plans as well. BTW, we have recruited volunteers from the community to help us plan, and execute this most memorable, (hopefully annual), event. We have also invited the area’s political representative and other key leaders in that community to celebrate what the Lord, through His Holy Spirit has been doing among us in Yellow Elder.
After having taught for over forty-two years, I am still very passionate about reaching the “next generation” of leaders. Hitherto, we have been working closely with Third through Sixth graders at CWS. But experience has taught me that we are to capture the minds of young learners, as early as possible. Therefore, I personally wish to reach those in Pre-K next school year. Please join us in praying that we would get the opportunity to begin working with these particular youngsters. This summer affords us that unique window of opportunity to prove to parents and guardians that their children are capable of achieving at higher academic levels when they are exposed to reading and comprehension.