Andrews University-We Care Ministries Team Removes Hurricane Debris on St. Thomas
12 Jan 2018 | Royston Philbert
A team of 50 persons from We Care Ministries spent a day helping the St. Thomas community which is seeking to regroup after a harrowing 2017 hurricane-season. In December, 2017, the team set out on a cruise-mission trip to five islands of the Caribbean and performed missionary work on Grand Turks, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.
The group’s director, Rabel Y. Ortiz, reported that, “The cruise exists as a catalyst for young adults to cultivate a transformative lifestyle of connecting with God and others in the context of Christian community. Our goal is that young adults will renew their spiritual journey doing meaningful on-board presentations, discover meaningful community through group interactions and explore the joy of helping others during service projects.”
On St. Thomas, the We Care Ministries team cleaned the home of a visually-impaired community member, Mr. Heyliger, who expressed his profuse thanks for how much the group accomplished in a few hours. The team also helped to clear debris from the Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church which was destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Irma in September, 2017. Since then, the members of the church have been worshipping with the Shiloh SDA Church.
The pastor of the Philadelphia SDA Church, Pastor Glendon Cross, said, “It was a timely visit. We are presently clearing the debris to prepare a place where we can convene our own worship service. The [team] gave us much needed assistance in generating four 22-yards bins of waste.”
The team’s infectious missionary spirit resonated with other cruise passengers to the extent that three passengers joined them for service to the Puerto Rico and St. Thomas communities. Warren Cowsgill, one of the team leaders, shared: “The cruise with a mission helps the students and well wishers to learn life from a broader perspective. Going from place to place helps students to learn about life in a tangible way.” Warren usually arrived at the ports of ministry two days in advance to establish contact and detail all arrangements.
Andrews University is the flagship university of the Adventist Church operating out of Berrien Springs Michigan, USA. Service is integral to the University’s mission: “Seek knowledge, Affirm faith, Change the world.” The University has been involved in missionary service since the 1960s. In 1963 the University sponsored three missionaries worldwide - as of 2017, there are 1,202 missionaries from Andrews University serving around the world. Groups such as We Care Ministries have provided hundreds of students with opportunities to serve internationally.