St. John, USVI | As residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands continue to rebuild their lives after last year’s devastating hurricanes, Baptist leaders facilitated a series of events designed to share the gospel and meet immediate needs.
Adron Robinson, (right)president of IBSA and pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, was one of the preachers who participated in a December evangelistic crusade on St. John, one of the three U.S. Virgin Islands. The first “Feeding the Five Thousand” crusade, organized by Jeffery Singletary of the Florida Baptist Convention and facilitated with fellow Baptist leaders, was on St. Thomas in November. The final crusade was on St. Croix in late January.
All three of the islands were rocked by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which both made landfall as Category 5 storms and left much of the territory without power for weeks. The damage is still very visible, Robinson said. Boats washed up on beaches, cars abandoned after flooding out, a restaurant still standing but with no roof.
“I knew they had four great needs—food, clothing, shelter and hope,” Singletary told Baptist Press. “Red Cross could help provide food and clothing. FEMA could help provide shelter. But only the church of Jesus Christ can provide real hope.”
Ahead of the St. Croix event, 620 people had accepted Christ during the first two crusades, and more than 33,000 people had received bags of groceries and supplies.
Robinson, who preached a sermon titled “Broken in a Beautiful Place,” noted the receptivity to the gospel he saw while in St. John.
“So many people were accepting Christ because they had been hit with two hurricanes—they knew that they weren’t in control,” Robinson said. “It’s kind of a wake-up call that God is in control. ‘We could have died. There’s got to be more to life than this.’ So they were really receptive to the gospel.”
– With reporting from Baptist Press