Lampstands Burning Among the Mountains
It was in the late 1950s that the spiritual need of the people of this rugged and mountainous but beautiful island became a concern to a missionary couple from N. Ireland who had labored for years in the West Indies, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel McCune. The Lord led them to that area with the exercise of seeing what might be done in the gospel and accomplished for His glory. They engaged in literature distribution and visitation, with Mr. McCune preaching in the open air. The Lord gave fruit in the gospel with several being saved and others, who had been previously reached by the grace of God, showing a desire to learn more of the Lord’s ways. The spiritual exercise of this little company led to the formation of the first assembly in the village of Salisbury in 1961. The McCune’s remained with the believers until 1963 when they returned to N. Ireland on furlough. This was the final lampstand that brother McCune was to see raised up for God, as he was peacefully called into the Lord’s presence while planning for a return sailing from Southampton, England.
The work continued to progress through the labors of Peter and Marlene Simms, who were commended from Toronto, Ontario, in 1969. The gospel was preached in a number of places, with particular blessing being seen in Petite Savanne, Roseau, and Cochrane. The response of the new converts to teaching from the Word revealed an exercise to honor the Lord and establish collective testimony in their localities. The second lampstand was raised in Petite Savanne in January 1972, the third in Cochrane in November 1973, and the fourth in Roseau in December 1973.
The Lord gave Doris and me the privilege of joining this work in November 1976. Our activities took us to Laudat, a village in the hills, where, over a period of time, souls were saved. This began through Bible studies in the home of a young teacher in the village. He and a number of his acquaintances were meeting together in his home, seeking to compare what they had been taught in their earlier religious upbringing with what the Bible taught. This was ground being prepared by the Spirit of God, and some of these souls were ready for the truth of the gospel right from the beginning. The progress made by these young believers and the consistency of their exercise led to the formation of the assembly in 1983.
Considerable outreach work has been done in a number of other villages and outlying areas. The Lord reached a few in Coulibistrie, and after a number of years of weekly gospel and prayer meetings, that little company began the breaking of bread to fully function as an assembly. Visitation and gospel meetings have been conducted in the villages of Point Caribe, Soufriere, and Trafalgar, with some being reached in each area. Brethren from the Petite Savanne assembly have worked in the coastal fishing village of Fond St. John, and this has resulted in souls being saved and added to the company that meets in Petite Savanne, about seven miles away.
Due to health or family needs, the resident missionaries have returned to their homelands. Dominica is not served by jet travel service as are most of the other islands in the West Indies, and because of this fact not many visitors come to this area. But appreciated visits have been made by brethren and sisters from N. Ireland, Trinidad, the United States, and Canada, and the saints have benefited from the help that has been given. Doris and I have made a number of visits from four to eight weeks in length since returning to Canada in 1985. In each of the annual visits over the last five years we have organized and participated in repair and maintenance work on the assembly buildings. Some of these projects have been substantial. The economic conditions in the country have severely limited the believers’ financial resources, and it has been beyond the ability of the assemblies to fully meet the demands involved in the rebuilding work. We have been grateful to the Lord for graciously supplying the need. The saints have responded warmly to the help given and have shared wholeheartedly in the manual part of the work.
The Lord has given us the privilege of seeing fruit in the gospel and encouragement to His people during our return visits to the island. We enjoyed the visit of A. J. Higgins from the Barrington, NJ, assembly for a week of ministry meetings during February. The meetings were held in the Roseau Gospel Hall, which is central, with excellent attendance and support being seen from all six assemblies.
We are thankful to the Lord for the measure in which the saints seek to continue in the simple New Testament pattern and are exercised about maintaining a testimony for God. At least three one-day conferences are held during the year with capable brethren from the different assemblies taking part in ministry. On occasion, proven and gifted brethren within the fellowship conduct a week of ministry meetings or short gospel series. We will value the prayers of the Lord’s people for the preservation and progress of assembly testimony in Dominica.