VBSMy time in Inagua has been transformative to say the least. During my 10 weeks as visiting Pastor of Wesley Methodist Church, I have learned how to transcend cultural, religious, denominational, and language barriers to share the word of Christ. I have been able to interact with the “churched” and “un-churched” alike while sharing a sensitivity to God’s presence on this island. Within my first few days here, I quickly realized that I did not need to bring God to this island, for God was already very present. Instead, my goal was to make the presence of God felt. I have done this by implementing programming, such as youth group, morning prayer services, Vacation Bible School, Bible study, a women’s conference, men’s fellowship, leadership retreats, weekly pastoral care visitations, and weekly lunches with members of the church.

One of my favorite aspects of this internship has been the opportunity to visit people throughout the community. Whether over lunch at a local restaurant or in a living room, hearing stories of the locals on the island has been so inspiring. There is a rich history on this island and so many wonderful people. The hospitality has been incredible. One thing I had to get used to was that since this is a salt island [Inagua is home to Morton Salt’s main facility], fruit does not grow here. As a result, I get fruit once every two to three weeks. When the mail boat comes in from Nassau, members of my congregation bring me bags and bags of fruit and fresh vegetables. It is an act of hospitality that is truly moving to me.

As I prepare to leave, I continue to be in awe at the grace that has been shown to me. I am forever grateful to Candler and the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church for this awesome opportunity. Day after day I have had the opportunity to utilize the very skills learned in my classes at Candler. I am so grateful to each of my professors for instilling in me the skills and knowledge needed to more effectively share the word of God with the world.

Top photo, Kiya writes, "I planned and implemented a Vacation Bible School for the kids on the island across denominations. We had a total of 97 students and 33 volunteers. The VBS included 9 classes. In the middle of each day, we had snack. In this picture, I had gone outside and sat down. Before I knew it, members of the 5-7 year old class surrounded me with their best jokes and stories from the day."

Side photo: "During VBS, I coordinated a helicopter tour with the U.S. Coast Guard. We bused the kids to the base and they were able to sit in the helicopter and ask the Coast Guard members questions."