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Residents of Spring Village clean up volcanic ash in their community on Sunday,April 18, 2021. (iWN photo)
Residents of Spring Village clean up volcanic ash in their community on Sunday,April 18, 2021. (iWN photo)
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By SVG Christian Council

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our fellow citizens and residents of this blessed land, St. Vincent and the Grenadines:

We are all engulfed in the throes of the eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano. The dislocations and disruption have been unprecedented in many respects. All while mindful of COVID-19 and dengue and the fast approaching hurricane season. We give God thanks that there has been no loss of life consequent to the eruption and also for the overwhelming responses by so many to alleviate human suffering and discomfort. While navigate the consequences of the eruptions, many are dealing with deaths in their families, job loss and job insecurity, loss of income, chronic illness and a host of other ills and challenges.

We are convinced that God made us resilient. He made us with the capacity to navigate life’s challenges but even more so to learn trust and discover faith and hope. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming but God strengthens us through the presence and work of His Spirit and as he works through others.

We are mindful that there are many in shelters who, though every effort is made to make them comfortable, will never feel at home. Nothing can replace their own beds and own spaces. We are also aware that many are in other homes and houses and in some cases in what may be very cramped situations. Many homes that were accustomed to two may now have seven. That requires some measure of adjustment and can be increasing challenging as the days go by.

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We encourage, at this time, that every effort should be made to be responsible, reasonable, patient, understanding and compassionate among other critical virtues particularly in a crises. We are trusting that shelter managers will be responsible in the use of the resources entrusted to their care and with the evacuees resist the urge of “feast today and famine tomorrow”. We are also trusting that NEMO would be efficient, responsible and accountable in their management of the resources (including human and material) under their care. We are aware that both in the past and at this current time, stories have made the rounds about indiscretions and misappropriation of things. We urge that all be careful not to be too quick to jump to conclusion and post on social media. Take time to get and verify information. Where things are not at the best, work towards making better. Resist the temptation to get, get and get and be deliberate in thinking about others. Remember as well that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6)

We celebrate the many who have been engaged in mobilization, providing supplies, offering support and encouragement to those who have been displaced. While some have been deliberate for various reasons (positive and negative) in posting on social media, there are many who have been doing tremendous work behind the scenes. Churches have not only made their facilities available as shelters but have given tremendous support to these shelters and many others. Teachers have risen to the occasion, while there may be the few who have been difficult and resistant, the vast majority have been wonderful in their efforts in shelter management and caring for the evacuees. The Council has visited and received feedback from several shelters to date and from those reports, things have been overwhelmingly positive. The adjustments, understanding and corporation by those in shelters augur well for our potential as a people. Perhaps we can begin to think of our nation as littered with far more “capeless heroes” than we realise.

There are several other stakeholders involved in our navigating this crisis at various levels of leadership. We encourage all not to get weary in doing well. Allow this season to bring out the best in us and enable our efforts to shape a better SVG.

We are praying for our nation. We are praying deliberately for the many who have been evacuated. We are praying for the many who are serving in the various areas and sectors of our society. We are praying for those who are most vulnerable in situations as these. We are praying for those who may be inclined towards predatorial behaviours. We are praying for our leaders. We are praying. Let us all continue to lift our nation in prayer. Remember prayer also enables us to shift focus from the problem to the One who enables us to overcome the problem.

Please remember — whate’er the future brings our faith [in God] will see us through.

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