Over 900 members, 3 congregations
The Praise Team at the Peter’s Rest Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands is singing Mary Ann Flemming’s
Twelve years ago, Mary Ann drove her Ford Explorer west from her home in Tipperary toward the St. Croix SDA School at Holger’s Hope in historic Christiansted, St. Croix. This would be her second visit to the Adventist School campus, and this time she was on a mission. Mary Ann and her husband George realized that they needed to do something or they could lose their son Floyd. So Mary Ann had brought the required documents and a
Floyd was admitted to the St. Croix SDA School, and almost immediately he got into trouble for teaching the younger children at the school to play dice and for peddling drugs near the school campus. Floyd was about to be thrown out of school at this his last hope. Some teachers had given up on him, annoyed that Floyd had been admitted to the school in the first place because of the reputation that preceded him. Why bring trouble
But Bible Instructor and resident school pastor, Maurice Andrews, saw in Floyd a soul to be saved in spite of the foul language, the drugs, and the gambling. Somehow, Pastor Andrews had faith in him and “adopted” him as one of his sons.
For the upcoming Week of Prayer, Pastor Andrews invited young Pastor Garcia from Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts to speak. Students were riveted to their seats, eyes glued to the face and voice of the speaker as he told the story of a young man, Garcia’s college roommate, who had been possessed by evil spirits and who listened to evil music and videos. Pastor Garcia told of the Holy Spirit taking hold of the young man, of the prayers offered up on his behalf, and of the victory and joy as He gave his life to Christ. The preacher from AUC left the island after the Week of Prayer, but his message had taken root: God could and does change lives. No one was hopeless.
Floyd was restless. Could there be hope for him? Could God transform him also? Transformation is a process, and for
The speaker for the next Week of Prayer was Pastor Steve Riley from the South Caribbean Conference. Pastor Riley’s messages penetrated the life driven by drugs, gambling, and profanity, and Floyd was baptized in 2005. His grades improved. His mom saw the change in him and she too was baptized along with his sister a year later. Not long after that, Floyd’s dad was also baptized. In a few months, Floyd became so active at the Peter’s Rest Church that he was appointed an elder-in-training.
College beckoned, and Floyd chose Oakwood College in Alabama (now Oakwood University), an SDA institution, to study nursing. At Oakwood, Floyd excelled academically. He also joined the world-famous Oakwood College Aeolians and with them Floyd
In April 2011, Floyd, at that time a college junior, was invited to return to his alma mater, the St. Croix SDA School, to be the keynote speaker at the Adventist School’s colloquium attended by all of the churches on the island. Floyd’s moving story of his transformation brought tears to many eyes and was a paean of hope to the hopeless. Floyd seemed to suggest to the hundreds present that if God could change him, no one was too far gone.
Today, Floyd, his wife Dionne, and little Josiah reside in Tennessee where Floyd is pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
The Praise Team at Peter’s Rest SDA Church is still singing, “Come and lay down the burdens you have carried….” Mary Ann wipes a happy tear from her eye as she thinks of the transforming journey Floyd has taken.
“God is good,” she whispers, “God is so good. “
Over 900 members, 3 congregations
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