Will you help Lighthouse Christian Academy in Dominica?
This blog post is written in joint effort by Barb Waite, Jhan Challenger, and myself. Barb Waite is a retired missionary to the island of Antigua. Curt & Barb Waite worked with the Caribbean Radio Lighthouse on Antigua for as long as I can remember. Jhan Challenger is the daughter of a pastor in Dominica with whom Mrs. Waite has been in regular contact.
In 1975, we (Curt & Barb Waite) were privileged to have Louise Challenger as one of our first announcers at the Caribbean Radio Lighthouse. Years ago my husband traveled to help the Challengers with a project. He was so impressed with their ministry and their family. Now they need help, lots of help. We can't give much, but I share what I am writing, praying that many can give something to help rebuild their school and the buildings for this ministry on the island of Dominica.
Those of us who live in sizable countries can hardly imagine what is like after a category 5 storm devastates an island. The people of the island are cut off from help. Even when help begins to come - because roads have been destroyed and fallen trees impede transportation - it takes a long time to get the aid to the people who need it most. There is the danger of looting and actual pirates attacking smaller vessels trying to bring relief supplies. A storm can bring out the best in people, and it can bring out the worst in some people.
The difficulties experienced are not just the actual storm but the resulting months afterward with no electricity, no running water, stores without supplies, and no banks open. I remember being so excited after one storm in Antigua when we finally had telephone service restored after 5 months, and we have never experienced one as devastating as Maria.
The Challengers' son has reported that even the birds are dying because of the lack of food. The people are tired, hungry, and unsure what is the next step; however, for a number of people on the Reserve, they have hope that the LORD has not deserted them. I find their faith inspiring in light of what everything looks like.
Many of us do not realize the damage caused by the wind of a category 5 storm. It dries everything out as if a fire had gone through the island. I think trials sometimes dry us out spiritually. All our growth seems blown away or shriveled, but if we are rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus, we will recover and bloom again. This little word "in" is found in Romans 8:1-2 means "a fixed position, in place, time, and state." Nothing changes it, not trials, not death, not discouragement. Those found "in" Christ Jesus will bloom again.
Let's help encourage those in times of trials.
The Challengers have faithfully served and sacrificed for 40 years. Let's assist them in rebuilding their home, church, and school. Some have asked how we know the Challengers. We have known them since 1975. Below I have shared a bio Jhan Challenger has shared about her parents--
"Pastor Hutson Challeneger is a native to the island of Antigua. After completing studies in the US, he returned to his home country, Antigua, and began work at the Commercial Bank of Canada as an accountant and general manager.
Pastor Challenger met his beautiful Carib (Kalinago) wife, Louise, in the late 1960's when she moved to Antigua from the island of Dominica in 1964. They were married in 1970. Louise is from the Carib Reservation in Dominica.
Dominica is home to the first people of the islands better known in Canada and the US as First Nations People. Today the Reservation is referred to as the Kalinago Territory. The name is indigenous to the tribe. 'Presently approximately 3,000 Kalinagos live in a collectively-owned 3,700 acre territory, spread over 8 hamlets, on the north-eastern coast of Dominica. Together these villages are called the Kalinago Territory. The Kalinago live a simple communal life, carrying on the many traditions of their ancestors.' (http://kalinagoterritory.com)
Hutson and Louise were both devoted Catholics. Louise was a high school teacher at the Christ the King Secondary School (Parochial) in Antigua. She came in contact with the Gideon's Organization who was visiting the school one day. The Gideons were distributing the little Red New Testament and presented a copy to my mom.
Against her faith and belief to have any kind of interaction with any other faith other than Catholicism, she took the New Testament home and laid it on the dining table. Hutson, coming home from the bank, after a busy banker's day asked about the little red book and why the Christian book was in his house. He picked it up and decided to visit some pages. After several days of comparing the little book words to a bigger book's (Bible) words, he found they said the same thing, 'You must be born again.'
You must be born again.
This is the condition of the ministry buildings -- The top floor collapsed. The roof is all gone. Furniture is ruined. Curriculum got wet. Student texts are all destroyed.
The immediate goals from Lighthouse Baptist Ministries are as follows -
1. Secure large amounts of food and resources for the Kalinago Territory.
2. Provide each family with at least a month's supply of food.
The need is to raise up to $250,000 to rebuild Lighthouse Christian Academy and Lighthouse Baptist Church. The funds will go specifically toward building materials, school curriculum. furniture, electric equipment, and to support the team of volunteers in aiding the building project.
Donations can be made directly to:
Lighthouse Baptist Church Ministries
As time went by both Hutson and Louise were convicted and submitted to Christ, gave their lives to God. God led Hutson to Pastor Johnny Daniels who was then a missionary to the Carib Indians in Dominica. Pastor Johnny Daniels was a visiting preacher at a conference in Antigua in 1977/78. He was thrilled to learn that Louise was a Carib and from the same tribe he was ministering to.
God eventually led Hutson and Louise to return to Dominica to continue the ministry in the Carib Reservation started by Johnny Daniels. Both gave up well-paid jobs and comfortable lifestyle to go to Dominica as missionaries to the Carib Territory.
They arrived in Dominica in February 1979 with their six children. The eldest was only 8 years old. Little did they know that their test of faith and belief in God would be tested when Hurricane David devastated the island in July of that very year. The faith they went to Dominica with strengthened and grew in spite of the collapse of the country's economy from Hurricane David. Today, they are reminded of the same devastation, but worse, Hurricane Maria. God's faith does not waiver but grows.
In 1982, they both followed God's leading and founded Lighthouse Christian Academy in the basement of their home. Naturally, their 7 kids made up the student body. Today, LCA has a student body of approximately 17 staff members.
Hurricane Maria may seem to have put a lengthy pause on daily life in Dominica. Every house, business, school, road, and farm was destroyed or affected. However, God does not stop.
It is so hurtful to see our favorite and best-performing school in Dominica and in the KT area toppled over like this, but we won't worry because our God reigns and will forever. He will rise up Lighthouse Christian Academy!
We look forward to seeing the smiling faces of our little ones enter new doors and into AC rooms of their new school."