PREPARATION TO VIEUX FORT: Before FMC even approached Archbishop Rivas about our mission team serving in St. Lucia many mission groups have been coming to St. Lucia and serving. Most are short term like Good News Team from Wisconsin, and another group from Nebraska, and others. The group from Nebraska makes a trip annually, works on the Marian Home compound and stays on the first floor of the Carmelite convent, where we have been living. This year is no different so we get to go to the south. Even coming to St. Lucia with very few possessions as we did, it is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in 4 months. Sr. Anne gave us yet another huge blessing by allowing us to store our stuff in one room and not have to pack it up and try to take or find some place to store it!
This was the sunrise the first morning we arrived.
Two weeks before our trip we had a meeting with Sr. Mary Lee(one of the Sisters that we would be living with) and Peter Favrier(of the Family and Life Commission) to prepare us for our time in Vieux-Fort. This meeting left us all feeling like we would be on the run with busy Mission work; although we were hoping for some time for a Retreat and to reflect on the first four months at our first mission post and also to pray for the up coming activities for the rest of the Summer. We were more than willing to do what ever was asked of us as the day after we return a team of senior missionaries will arrive to help prepare for Family Mission Company’s first Summer School in a Foreign country. Then 6 days later the SSME participants arrive and we will add a total of 11 people to our mission post for about a month. Thank you Jesus! We are so privileged with all that the Lord has prepared for us to do here in St. Lucia
Here is the Sisters of St. Francis’s house that they so graciously welcomed 13 more people when it is usually only the two of them. They are great. Both from Iowa and have known each other since the 5th grade. For them life and their order had sent them to many places mostly the U.S. but not together. Sr. Mary Lee, finds this her first missionary assignment and Sr. Francis has been to Africa before coming here. Both being called into Missionary Life later in life. The Sisters are so very kind and caring and this leads them into home visits for many in the community. The evening we arrived, Sr. Mary Lee took us down to see Ms. Beebe, her friend, who we hope to help fix her roof. The picture above is where 3 people live in simple houses with no running water (the outhouse they share is to the right of this picture) and I believe one is Ms. Beebe’s sister. Ms. Beebe (her house is the one in the middle) has become blind in the last few years, but she does the best she can and has a granddaughter that helps her and brings her food. A couple of weeks ago we had a lot of rain here on the Island and this rain found the holes in the roof and ruined her mattress. I am not sure what she sleeps on now, probably the floor. When Sister heard I was a carpenter she was excited and planned for us to help fix it. This is inside Ms.Beebe’s house as Sister is introducing us. St. Lucia depends on tourism and has very little infrastructure. This is something I pray about a lot. I am asking the Lord to send them meaningful jobs. It is hard to rebuild the family when both parents must work. We know many families who live in little shacks like this one.(Built in a day sometimes to avoid building codes. St. Lucian law seems to allow this)
Please pray that we will be able to help Mrs. Beebe and any others the Lord sends into our path. Please pray for us to not be overwhelmed by the needs, to keep the Joy of the Lord in our hearts, to Share the Gospel as we should and pray about supporting our mission work.
God Bless You!
The Eckstine Family