#TurkandCaicos, April 1, 2022 -, well-known in the community of Grand Turk for knocking on doors to share a Bible message, has no plans to halt her volunteer ministry. However, her service abruptly changed in the spring of 2020 when Jehovah’s Witnesses suspended their in-person public ministry, meetings, and large conventions.
For congregants like Betty Malcolm, the virtual pivot has meant trading her book-bag for a Smartphone and iPad; and her walking shoes for slippers. Her tools have changed, but her message is the same. She and her daughter, together with upwards of 50 volunteers, share scriptures regularly and conduct free Bible courses via telephone and Zoom each week.
“The work we’re doing now on the phone, allows me to reach persons I couldn’t reach before; and at times that I couldn’t have before. My neighbours are more relaxed and responsive,” she explains.
“Staying active in our ministry while remaining safe has had a powerful preserving effect on our congregants and communities,” says Robert Hendriks, Branchwide spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The wise decision not to prematurely resume in-person activities has united us and protected lives while comforting many people in great need. The results speak for themselves.”
Last year, the international organization reported all-time peaks in the number of persons participating in their volunteer preaching work, increased attendance in Zoom meetings, and more than 171,000 new believers baptized. In the past two years, more than 400,000 have been baptized worldwide.
Twenty-year-old Malachi Malcolm got baptized in a private setting in February 2021. He states his reason: “During the lockdowns, I had more time to visit JW.ORG, read the Bible and reflect.”
Some whose ministry or congregation meeting attendance has slowed because of age and poor health, say they feel reenergized with the convenience of virtual meetings and a home-based ministry.
Like many octogenarians, Peter St. Fleur, 87, deals with diminished energy and other health issues; yet he and his 81-year-old wife, Merci, are now more active in the ministry via the online platform. The St. Fleurs use Zoom to worship twice weekly with the Providenciales congregation and join online ministry groups five times a week to comfort neighbors and family through WhatsApp calls and messages.
“What could have been quite a disadvantage, has proven to be an advantage,” St Fleur says. “My wife’s
illness makes it difficult for her to walk. Now she can participate in her cherished ministry right from home. We’re happy working together.”
Mavis Jones uses family chats to reach relatives with the Bible’s message of comfort. Many other Jehovah’s Witnesses have strengthened their relationships with relatives through virtual Bible discussions. Regarding the advantages of being on the online platform for these two years of spiritual activity, Mavis acknowledges: “To me, it is my lifeline.”
“JW.ORG has given me somewhere to find good advice; somewhere to learn to be a better person, a better mother, a better daughter, and to live the way God wants me to. It teaches me so much,” says Marvalyn Smith, a resident of Providenciales.
Educational Aids Strengthen Learning Experience for Provo Students
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Scores of students in Providenciales will benefit from back-to-school supplies donated by Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, strengthening the instructional process in four schools at the start of the new school term.
More than 2,000 students from Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron, Oseta Jolly and the Thelma Lightbourne Primary Schools were presented with a generous supply of educational materials including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, knapsacks, reading material, sports gear and musical instruments from members of the philanthropic arm of the family all-inclusive resort. While sharing the gratitude for the gifts received, the leaders at the various institutions lauded the efforts of the more than 20 volunteers on hand.
Neekimo King, Principal of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School shared, “Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation over the years have adopted our institution as their own. These reading books will go a far way in increasing our library stock and improving literacy among the students while the physical education and the guidance counseling units have received lots of materials to bolster the learning experience for our students.”
Sophia Garland, Principal of the Enid Capron Primary School was equally elated as she expressed how beneficial resources will be for the teaching and learning process.
“These supplies, including the books, will definitely aid in increasing literacy amongst the students and the many teaching aids that we have been received will create an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning.”
In sharing with the schools, James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches resort noted, “Sandals Foundation and the resort remain committed to the development of the education of our children, the environment and the communities in which we operate. These four government operated primary schools were identified for these supplies to help in fostering their academic and extra-curricular growth.”
McAnally continued, “A big thank you to the Sandals Foundation Ambassadors who came out and helped with making these distributions possible.”
Vice principal of the Oseta Jolly Primary School, Diana Dean, also expressed gratitude noting, “With these tools, I am sure the students will be excited about learning and the teachers will be better equipped to deliver the lessons.”
The Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort have long been supporters of education and community development in Turks and Caicos, donating to a number of schools and youth sports programmes. Since 2011, the organisations have been assisting students at Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron Primary Schools and other schools across the islands in their holistic development by providing educational supplies and the opportunity for Sandals and Beaches resorts guests to meaningfully engage with the students through a weekly literacy enhancement programme, hosted in partnership with Island Routes Tours – Reading Road Trip.
Header: Staff and students from the Enid Capron Primary School share a moment for the cameras with members of the Sandals Foundation team as the school received educational items from the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation.
Insert: James McAnally, General Manager, Beaches Turks and Caicos (front left) makes a presentation to members of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School recently with sporting gear and educational items looking on are members of the Sandals Foundation team, Sesame Street Character
PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.
The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.
As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.
UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment
#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.
Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.
Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.
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