For thirty years, the Lord has blessed and cared for the people of First Baptist Church. Thirty years of prayer… thirty years of preaching… thirty years of singing God’s praises… thirty years of evangelism, discipleship, and missions… thirty years of baptisms... and thirty years of serving the greater Cayman Islands family. From a small group of 21 people gathered in a small living room to a diverse congregation of over 25 nationalities, the Lord has and continues to bless us.
We're combining with the anniversary celebration a campaign (summary, and here and here for pdf of brochure) to retire our remaining debt of $1 million by the end of the year and to free up $340,000 per year to invest in the work of the ministry and the spread of the gospel. Thus far people have pledged almost $450,000 toward our goal. It's been wonderful to see how the Lord has been working in the hearts of His people here and abroad to give to the ministry. We're excited because this will mean being able to bring on staff two men who have been "raised up" by the congregation for the work of the ministry. It'll significantly improve our ability to support our missionaries already on the field and some of the short-term work the church has historically done.
This is no small thing. Just three years ago Grand Cayman was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, a category 5 hurricane that literally followed the coastline of the island for some 15 hours, dumping sea water 6 feet high across the island. The Lord was faithful. He preserved life, eternally saved many souls, and used FBC and other churches in a great way to help rebuild the island. The church itself was significantly damaged, and two of our insurers went "belly up," leaving us with more debt to rebuild. But the Lord provided. The country was up and running in an amazingly short time, thanks to God and the industriousness of the Cayman people. And though we've been hampered by the debt burden from the rebuild, our Father has provided our needs and kept us healthy in so many ways. Now, by His grace, we're in striking distance of being free from debt and able to more fully give resources to the expansion of His kingdom and the spread of His glory. We're excited!
So, I'm inviting all of you to celebrate with us. Visit us this weekend! Pray for us. If the Lord moves you, give to the campaign. But from first to last, pray for us, that the Lord would be pleased to own our lives and ministry, to advance His kingdom, and spread His fame in Cayman, the Caribbean, and the world.