Category Archives: RECENT PHOTOS
Photos of church events and members. For photos older than two years, see the Church Archive page.
Hurricane Maria Update
God’s house and people up the hill withstood Maria’s fierce winds. The building sustained some minor damage. The wooden cross was knocked down. The Church signs were damaged. We had flooding in the classrooms and the sanctuary. Some of the Sunday School curriculum was destroyed by the flooding. We had a couple of broken windows and plenty of trees are down. The wind turbine was lowered and should be up again when the island’s grid comes back. In additional to helping members and island family, we’ve also been reaching out to St. Thomas and St. John through the St Thomas Reformed Church.
This might be my last post for a while. Looks like Maria is still coming our way. I wanted to write about all of the wonderful things that happened yesterday as countless volunteers continued to give and serve. I’ll send pictures of the wood donations being handed out, the meals being served at MBW, and the groceries and supplies being distributed at our church. I know over 200 families were given supplies enough for a couple of days. Bright spots of course are the children and yesterday we were serenaded by two of our younger volunteers. UPS even got in on the action donating one of their trucks for us to move supplies. Thank you UPS and the Salvation Army for working out those details. The most wonderful blessing was opening a pallet in that big 40 foot container and finding boxes of supplies from Ponce Puerto Rico all decorated and hand signed with prayers and blessings. Many of the cans were labeled with a heart sending their love. For those of you who don’t know Ponce is where our XYG youth group served on their mission trip last year. The blessings have now come full circle. “Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you.” -Ecclesiastes 11:1
We truly appreciate all the prayers and support that you have been sending our way. We are now keeping our brothers and sisters on St. Croix and Puerto Rico and all the neighboring islands in our prayers as Maria moves through in the next couple of days. I am optimistic because I have faith in God and in the ability of God’s faithful people to endure trials and tribulations. I wish I could say things were great here but they are not and so many people are suffering. We will continue to do what we can to get relief supplies into the hands of those who need it the most. (As a reminder you can give financial donations on our website and through our app or by sending a check which will all go into our Irma relief fund. Financial supplies will help the most long term. Please do not send us clothes!!!)
I thank everyone on the outside who has been working diligently to assist us in this time of great need.
The wind turbine was lowered today in advance of Hurricane Maria. It’s the first time it has been lowered for a storm in the 5+ years of operation. We had phone call assistance from Jeff Cabrera, a key from Roy Fern and muscle from Stan Joines, Jeffrey Turk, and Don Bailey.
We appreciate your prayers for safety but don’t pray for the hurricane to shift somewhere else. That would just send it to St Thomas which already has enough trouble.
I took a Sabbath from posting on Facebook yesterday. We celebrated our Sabbath with worship in our sanctuary, people sat in the pews along side food and supplies that have been pouring in. Dozens of volunteers helped out after worship doing more runs for more supplies, stocking pews, cleaning up around church and making sure our neighbors were taken care of. The Salvation Army has received two semi trucks full of supplies and we are offloading those into our sanctuary. We will receive another large shipment from Puerto Rico again today and are set to share all of these supplies with anyone who comes today to ask. Our goal is to have people set for the next couple of days as we are now preparing for another storm. For those of you who were here this past summer and enjoyed our Broadway sermon series, I already have our off island summer camp staff ready for next summer’s performance of the Sound of Music, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Hopefully by next summer that will be appropriately humorous. Right now we are all very concerned and appreciate your prayers and support. We are also now distributing supplies to Seaview adult Home where conditions are worsening. Thank you Kim BourneVaneck for your stellar work in caring for all of those residents.
In the afternoon, I was blessed to be able to lead worship at our hospital in the lobby area. The hospital staff doctors and nurses are holding on by a thin wire and trying to attend to the patients through the emergency room in a badly damaged facility. Many are working 24 hour shifts. Thank you Tina Comissiong for the invitation to lead worship there yesterday and for all you and the staff are doing to keep our hospital functioning. Dr. Mark Livingston also attended to patients after worship in our Lower learning center. These are just a few of the things people are doing to help and to care and to love our neighbors. It is truly inspiring! I am very proud and happy to be part of a church with so many resources and such a desire to care for their community. The well is deep when we draw from Christ’s living water!
I share with you a screenshot from my iPhone reminders. This is my only reminder, one that I leave on my phone all the time. I share it as a reminder to all of you wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever you are facing… Pray!
Good morning. No Internet this morning so I’m back to typing on my little phone. Just want to give a quick update. The café and bakery continue to offer stellar meals and service serving over 500 yesterday. Church volunteers doled out bags of food and supplies to over 65 families. We ran out of supplies but just as we were closing up, more trucks came in and we reloaded for today. I’m sorry I have not had time to reply to every response and message. I appreciate your support… and yes we still need help. Unfortunately right now we cannot receive mail although that should be changing soon. Please do not send clothing!!!! Personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies nonperishable foods, mosquito nets and tarps are top of the list. The quickest and best way to help is by making a financial donation through our website or app or mailing a check to the church. “Irma Relief”. Follow MBW Cafe on Facebook and this post and you can also donate online to MBW or The Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Power was restored once again downtown so we are back in business. I’m still trying to get word about a few members and friends from our congregation and getting out to visit. Pray for all who are volunteering please pray for those who are still living in homes without roofs and as the thunder crashes as I write this, another storm is passing over us ready to dump buckets of rain. People are still hungry tired wet and we covet your prayers. Thank you for all the support. I will try to post more tonight?
I used to like to listen to the sound of the birds in the early morning as I sipped my coffee. Nature writes the most beautiful symphonies. Now I cherish the sound of my diesel generator which for 2 hours every morning allows me to make coffee to sip, charge my phone and computer, and to communicate with the outside world. I wish I could run an extension cord to every house on this island from my generator so I could share the blessing of POWER! Speaking of power, we lost… it at the church and cafe again yesterday but the generator at the cafe kept them up and running and they served another fabulous meal to the masses. Next door at STRC we had a group of dedicated volunteers sorting donations and then distributing them to any who had need. (pics). We have large shipments coming into today and will do more of the same. Yes, if you are here and can volunteer, we could use some help! text me 340-227-9696 or just come to church when able.
I received a huge response from the NPR interview yesterday. We are grateful for the media attention. I marvel at how cleverly they can edit out most of what I say about faith, God and Jesus. But that’s ok…God has already blessed that with several donations from all over! Yes, we fixed our website and APP (thank you Steve and Phyllis!) so we can receive donations online again.
I know Amy Nyland at the NY Synod has communicated with our wonderful partner church Marble Collegiate to help raise funds. Thank you for that! The Bouis & Brinns continue to get donations shipped here daily… not sure how but we are receiving it! Thank you. Andy and Anne got us connected to Food for the Poor who is getting a 40′ container together to ship. Bless you! My brother Ken is working the RCA angles for support and getting me connected to FEMA people here (WE NEED TARPS!!!! AND NOW WE NEED MOSQUITO NETS TOO!!!!) Thanks bro! These are just a few of the many bright spots from yesterday. Your prayers and support are so very much appreciated.
Almost time to shut the generator down, cut the power and head out there again…but not before sitting for a moment in the quiet to listen for the sound of the birds singing. Sing to the Lord all the earth!!!