Just a short note after a very long (thanks to Jim Soyster for picking me up this morning at 4:00) day. Arrived on Eleuthera around 1:30 with most folks on a plane here I have seen in my 3 trips here. Flying into North Eleuthera rather than Governor’s Harbor may be the reason because it closer to Harbor Island the touristy area here and hope to many starts for cruises.
There are many things that draw me to Eleuthera. First the ministry of Caribbean Ministries Association who operate the Eleuthera Bible Training Center who graciously allow me to teach church history.
This is the view from my hilltop apartment at EBTC every morning. The view at night, with little light pollution, is just as beautiful, perhaps even more spectacular. Debbie (my wife for those of you just surfing the web and stumbling here) have encouraged me to “lighten up” about folks who joke about me “suffering for Jesus teaching in the Bahamas” so I am. I will admit that this is a wonderful place to do ministry. It is nice to be warm when it is cold back in Tennessee. It is nice to be able to snorkel in the month of February. But I still want folks to know that this really in ministry and not just a vacation.
One of the other things that I love about the Bahamas is the food here. Every culture has its own particular foods, beverages, and treats. That is certainly true here in Eleuthera whether it is something as simple as a local soft drink that I have come to love (like Bahama Goombay Punch, I have found nothing in the States quite like this) or the unlimited variety of conch dishes that are found here – hope to have some conch fritters for lunch today – or the wonderful local dishes like peas and rice, peas and grits or their special take on mac and cheese.
But the thing I love about Eleuthera the most is the people I meet here. The locals here are laid back and very friendly and try and make you feel at home. When I was here teaching in 2008 I went to a local restaurant located in a gas station. I was placing my order of fried chicken, peas and rice and mac and cheese when the owner of the restaurant who was taking my order said: “No, no you can’t have peas and rice and mac and cheese order another side”. I asked him why and she said “This is too much starch”. So it is sort of like eating at your momma’s table.
But the people that I find the most delight in are my students. They come from a wide variety of vocations (almost all ministers and church workers here are bi-vocational) and denominations. It is exciting to see these folks going through this two year program (my church history class is just one of 10 classes offered over a period of 2 years) of ministry training. People who work hard during the day and then come and sit through 3 hours of class each night. I’ll write more about my students during the week. It is off to a good start