The Lord's Church in the Bahamas Islands
Brother Earl Robertson and I finished some very interesting work in the Bahamas Islands, and I would like to share with you some of our experiences and the, needs of the church there.
Historically, the first landing on the Bahamas was by Christopher Columbus in 1492. There are some 700 islands and 2,000 cayos and rocks that make up what is now called the Bahamas Islands. These islands were colonized by the British government in 1648. Nassau, the capitol of the Bahamas has the largest population (nearly 100,000) of any of the islands, and is one of the outstanding tourist attractions in the world. The Bahamas are located just a few hundred miles from the coast of Florida. Moderate, subtropical weather is prevalent throughout the year.
The Lord's church was first established on the island of Nassau in 1952. Evangelist C.W. Scott preached the gospel there and some natives obeyed, one of which was Carl Strachan, a church of God preacher. After his conversion, brother Strachan went to school for a while in the U. S. and then returned to Nassau and worked with the Lord's church which grew to about fifty (50) members. Eventually, liberalism crept into the church as a result of one of the members being influenced by some liberal preachers from the states, and most of the members went the - ways of digression. However, brother Strachan and a few others held to the truth, but the opposition took over the building where they were meeting. The faithful Christians met in another place for a while during which time brother Strachan engaged in secular work to provide for his large family. Seeing the need to devote full time to the Lord's work, he returned to the U. S. seeking financial assistance. The Southeast church in Miami, Florida agreed to help and later several other churches agreed to have fellowship with him in the gospel. Presently the following churches are sending a total of $250.00 per month to brother Strachan: Southeast in Miami, Florida; Danville, Kentucky; Moundsville, West Virginia; Orlando, Florida and Ingo, Alabama.
When brother Strachan returned from the states, liberalism had completely taken over the church. Consequently, he decided to leave Nassau and move his family to Marsh Harbour in Abaco, where he now resides. A strong church of approximately thirty-five (35) members exists there as a result of his work and others.
Several preachers from the United States have conducted meetings in Nassau. They are: F. L. Thompson, brother Brimley, Joseph Cox, William Murrell; brother Flowers, Robert Simmons, and perhaps others. In Marsh Harbour, Abaco, the following preachers have conducted meetings: Earl Robertson, Jere Frost, Jack Frost, and Austin Mobley, Earl Robertson just completed his sixth meeting there, and Jere Frost has worked in at least three meetings at Marsh Harbour and Crossing Rock.
In our recent meeting in Marsh Harbour and Crossing Rock, there were no additions.
However, the church appears to be strong and the future promising. We feel certain that some will soon obey the gospel as the result of past work there. Brother Strachan has worked hard, and the results of his efforts can be seen. He travels to Crossing Rock from March Harbour (35 miles) each Lord's day and preaches to the three Christians there.
Carl Strachan was born on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He had not visited his birthplace in about eighteen years and had a burning desire to return to his family and friends and preach the gospel to them. We agreed to go there after closing the meeting in Marsh Harbour on January 30. When we arrived on Cat Island we found the people exceptionally friendly and eager to listen to the gospel. We were permitted to use the Baptist meeting house in which to conduct our services. We were amazed to find that they did not use an instrument of music in their services. A father and his son conduct services for the Baptist, and they both publicly stated that "the men are preaching the Bible." The son, John Deveaux, brother Strachan's elderly mother and sister, and several others are expected to obey the gospel when brother Strachan returns to the island. The day I left, a man stopped where we were staying and said he believed we preached the truth and that he would be a member of the church when it is established. Brother Strachan plans to return to Cat Island and stay there until the church is established, the Lord willing. This was the first time the people on this island had ever heard the gospel!
Prospects for the future look promising for the Bahamas. There is, however, a paramount need for more finances and workers. Of the twenty islands populated enough to establish the church, there are only two sound churches, both of which are on the same Island, Abaco. Brother Strachan would like to establish the church on every one of the islands, but he needs help. The education of the island people is, for the most part, of a comparatively low degree. Therefore, much time and patience will be required to teach and ground them in the truth. The greatest advantage appears to be their willingness to listen to the truth and accept it without prejudice.
The needs, so far as I am able to ascertain, are both immediate and long range. Brother Strachan is relatively a young man (38), but has a stomach disorder which hampers his work considerably. He needs medical attention immediately, but is financially unable to obtain it. Any person or church that can help him should contact him as soon as possible.
The island people have very little income in Nassau. At Marsh Harbour the contribution is about fourteen dollars ($14.00) per week. Brother Strachan's total support of $250.00 per month is inadequate. Prices in the Bahamas are about double those in the U. S. How far would $125.00 per month go toward providing for eight children in the U. S.?
It is our sincere prayer that other congregations will want to help support the gospel in the Bahamas. In addition to helping brother Strachan financially, other preachers need to be sent (expenses paid) for two or more weeks in gospel meetings. Meetings can be conducted at any time there. Contact Carl Strachan for the details.
The long range needs are also to be considered. Brother Strachan is the only faithful preacher in the Bahamas. Other full time preachers are needed to move there and help establish and build up the churches. They would need full support from churches in the states. Much progress could have been made there years sooner if we had known of the conditions and exerted more effort. Imagine! Just a few hundred miles from our own coasts many people have never heard a gospel sermon (Mark 16:15-16).
Bahamas Customs and Immigration regulations are among the most lenient in the world. Americans may enter the Bahamas without passport or visa. Details may be obtained by writing the Ministry at Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas.
Any church or individual interested in having part in this work may contact Earl Robertson or Jere Frost for references and then get in touch with Carl Strachan, Box 453, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas. The need is urgent.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 2, pp. 7-8