Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventists filled the streets of two St. Maarten neighborhoods to embrace communities reeling from a sharp increase in crime, illegal drug-use and violence during a March of Witness last month.
Leaders and members expressed the church’s loving support for families as they greeted residents during the March of Witness in the Dutch Quarter and Belvedere communities–two of the most densely populated communities.
“We are here today because we understand that there are lots of hurts and pains because of the crime and violence in our community and in our society. We want the community to know that as a church we are able to assist,” said Henry Peters, personal ministries director of the Adventist Church in the North Caribbean.
Marchers distributed magazines with life-impacting messages to help recipients personalize the Lord Transform Me journey of values and seek a relationship with Christ.
“Our main challenge is making the Adventist Church known so that citizens can be committed to God and society, looking to model values like honesty and respect,” said Vashni Cuvalay, coordinator of the Adventist Mission work in St. Maarten.
The march held on Sabbath, June 24, marked the end of a special lay rally, said Henry. “It allowed our church members who are consistently engaged in soul-saving initiatives an opportunity to inspire their brothers and sisters with testimonies of God’s intervention.”
The Church in St. Maarten encourages members to remain alert to the ills being suffered by society, said Henry. “Our members are urged to respond tangibly in the short term, and in the long term by consistently reflecting Christ’s character in their daily lives, as a reminder for the community to seek the transformation that God offers.”
The evangelistic initiatives have resulted in 185 new church members so far this year and a new group of believers established.
Church leaders said the Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Maarten has been a positive force on the island and the members have been active in extending help to the community in various ways. The church presently operates a soup kitchen that serves more than 300 meals to the community every week. There are about 3,000 Seventh-day Adventists in St. Maarten.