A counter voice of hope

Jo Ella Holman speaking at the briefingOn November 22, I had the privilege of meeting Jo Ella Holman, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Regional Liaison for the Caribbean, and learning about the current events in the region. She discussed happenings in the Caribbean and church’s ecumenical efforts to improve welfare.

In the beginning of her briefing, Jo Ella asked the attendees our immediate thoughts associated with the word “Caribbean”. The responses included natural disasters, African Diaspora, and corruption. The unsettling words came with shared aching hearts for the region’s history. A regrettable reality of the region that stood out to me was that the reference of “the Caribbean” does not hold in one major sense. The Caribbean is not one uniform place. It contains a multitude of peoples sometimes divided by its colonial history and language barriers. The internal unification efforts were definitely going to take time.

Soon there was a turnaround in the briefing. I was heartened when Jo Ella led the discussion to focus on Haiti and the Dominican Republic where the inhabitants of both countries still have false differences ingrained in their minds about each other. Despite the animosity between Dominican Republic and Haiti, there are ecumenical efforts of the church community that encourage peace and unification. Personally, the most favorable news was about prayer meetings led by Haitian and Dominican Republican women. It is a beautiful exchange where God is instilling hope contrary to enmity that history had implanted long since. It was a huge joy to me that these faithful women would gather and be empowered in their dependence on God. This is truly the counter voice speaking hope into the nation.

Please support the people of the Caribbean and our mission co-workers in the region through prayer. In faith, we pray that God will continue to shine His light on the people and make a path for an organic restoration; that efforts will to alleviate poverty, bring about reconciliation, and spread the news of Christ in the Caribbean will be blessed; and in the future at the mention of the word “Caribbean”, the initial thoughts will be of hope and peace.

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