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Trinidad and Tobago: “So Happy to See You!”

Bro. Jerry Hirst (San Francisco Ecclesia) and I recently made a trip to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) at the end of February, right about the time the Coronavirus concern was ramping up.  Earlier, we had considered not going, but at the time, there were few cases reported in the US and none in T&T.  Upon our arrival, however, we got quite a surprise in an email from the local CBMTT committee. We were told that the fraternal gathering and CBMTT business meeting were both canceled, and that we should “abort” our trip. This was not a bad idea under the circumstances, but the only problem was, we were already there!  The email had been sent while we were in the air on our way to T&T. So, we prayed about it and decided to “shelter in place” at the hotel for a couple of days.

Bro. Brad Butts and Bro. Jerry Hirst visiting the Erin Ecclesia in Trinidad

When Sunday arrived, the two of us planned to have a memorial, but to our great surprise and joy, a young brother and sister (David and Kezia Edwards) decided to come join us for prayer, reading, and partaking of the emblems! Afterwards, we enjoyed their fellowship over lunch and a scenic drive into the hills.  This visit and support from a faithful young couple truly lifted our spirits!

In addition, by the end of that Sunday, we were invited to come to two of the ecclesias we had been planning to visit. So, on Monday morning, off we went to the pleasant island of Tobago. We were there for only two days, but while there, Bro. Jerry was able to prerecord the Sunday morning radio talk for use on the following Sunday. His topic was “How to cope with fear in these troubling times”, which was certainly appropriate. We were also able to attend an important AB meeting, give a Bible Class on Tuesday, and visit a disabled brother, and a disabled sister. A number of members from Mt. Grace stopped by to see us or gave us a call, while we were at the guest house.

On Wednesday, we headed back to Trinidad and traveled to the far south of that island where the Erin ecclesia is located.  The Edoo family once again provided the transportation from the airport to Erin, a round trip of 4–6 hours, depending on traffic.  This ecclesia has been the focal point of much CBMC assistance through the years, since many of the members are either unemployed or under-employed.  Truth Corps was able to visit a few years ago which was a highlight for both the Erin Ecclesia and the TC.

I have always been impressed with this ecclesia’s efforts to preach the Word to their friends and teach the children of family and friends, under the direction of Bro. Sheriff Edoo, the Recorder, and Sister Nesha Edoo, his daughter in law.  At the moment they are discussing first principles with 5 adults, and a couple more are good possibilities.  Sis. Nesha works tirelessly with the children, keeping a weekly Sunday School afloat.   

Speaking of the children, these kids with their beaming smiles, attended every Bible class and meeting that took place during our visit. There was an evening Bible presentation every night, in addition to the Sunday Memorial Service. Bro. Jerry got the children excited about the new Coronavirus appropriate greeting.  At our first meeting with them, Bro. Jerry held his arms open wide with a big smile and said, “So happy to see you!” and then immediately extended a forearm bump to finish the greeting. The children were so taken with this that they greeted us the same way for the rest of the week!

And as a side note, some of you may remember the photo of a little girl named Prya which was included with an earlier article. She had experienced eye surgery and kidney problems at a young age. The kidney issue had retarded her physical growth. Well, not anymore! She is now 12 years old and has grown so tall that I did not even recognize her at first! Turns out that she is responding well to her kidney medication and God’s good care. What a joy to see!

As usual, we gained spiritual strength from our Brothers and Sisters in T&T while trying to be of some support to them. By God’s grace, both were accomplished, and Bro. Jerry and I were able to return to the States on our regularly scheduled flights. The only question was, would our wives (both retired nurses) let us back into the house? We envisioned the possibility of being quarantined in a tent out in the back yard for at least 14 days!  Happily, that was not necessary.

Seriously though, we hope that this virus crisis is a sign that our Lord’s return is eminent. The return of the great physician will heal so many ills within the brotherhood, as well as without. May our Brethren in the mission field along with us not only keep the faith, but have that precious Hope grow in our hearts as we see these things come to pass.

Brad Butts
(Denver, CO)

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