Young people on the island of Saint Lucia plants a tree as part of the beautification project in the community of Soufriere in July. The initiative was sponsored by te youth ministries department and engaged youth ages 15-35. [Photo: Saint Lucia Mission]

September 8, 2023 | Castries, St. Lucia | CARU Staff and Inter-American Division News Staff

Seventh-day Adventist young people in St. Lucia recently met at the town of Soufriere on the southwestern part of the island to plant dozens of palm trees and flowering plants as part of a community impact initiative led by the youth ministries department of the St. Lucia Mission. Over 100 young people, ages 15-35, cleaned and dug as part of the annual youth conference held on the island.

“The goal of the effort was to strengthen their relationship with and appreciation for God, through service to Him, each other, and the community,” said Pastor Richard Randolph, youth ministries director of the St. Lucia Mission and main organizer of the event.

Young people plant some more trees during the beautification project in Souriere. [Photo: Saint Lucia Mission]

Coined as “Youth on Duty,” the beautification project drew attention from the town of Soufriere and its civic leaders.

Deputy Mayor of the villages of Soufriere and Fond St. Jacues Mr. Cletus Dedier was on hand for the clearing, cleaning and planting of flowers and palm trees at the village of New Development in Sofriere. “The turnout and your participation is a testament to how powerful, meaningful and impactful you can be as a positive unit,” said Dedier to the youth group. “I can assure you that the Soufriere-Fond St. Jacques Constituency Council will give your project all the attention and care it needs so that your efforts and sweat will not go in vain.”

Young people planted 22 palm trees and 133 flowering plants.

More than 100 young people took part in the tree planting project during the Youth on Duty community impact in Soufriere, in Saint Lucia. [Photo: Saint Lucia Mission]

The project was part of this year’s youth conference which gathered over 300 youth. Themed “Impact Soufriere,” the conference was designed to empower the youth to undertake a series of community and beautification projects in the south of Soufriere, said Randolph. “Initiatives like these align with the core objectives of the conference and also emphasize the practical application of their faith through community service and engagement.”  The island-wide youth conference had not been held since before the pandemic hit in 2020, so it was special to engage and equip so many young people to be active agents in sharing the gospel and serving others, Randolph added.

Pastor Roger Stephen, president of the Saint Lucia Mission, commended the youth for the passion and commitment they exhibited in the tree planting and beautification project. “This is simply a demonstration that the church cares for society and presents Jesus in our communities through the practical message of the gospel,” said Stephen.

This was the Mission’s first attempt at organizing and coordinating a beautification effort in its territory, said Randolph.

Deputiy Mayor Mr. Cletus Deidier (left) stands next to Pastor Richard Randolph (center), youth ministries director of the Saint Lucia Mission, and Trenton Emmanuel, site project manager and sponsor o the project stand at the newly planted garden in the village of New Development, Soufriere. [Photo: Saint Lucia Mission]

Trenton Emmanuel, a member of the Fond St. Jacques Seventh-day Adventist Church and site project manager, donated and provided financing of the plants, flowers, tools, and topsoil needed for completing the project.

“We wanted to take part in reaffirming the vision and commitment of the Adventist Church and their stewardship to the preservation and love of the environment in Saint Lucia,” said Randolph, who is also chaplaincy and public campus ministries director for the St. Lucia Mission. “As Seventh-day Adventists, an appreciation for the community in which we live is very important. A beautiful city is a happy city, for it produces happy and healthy citizens.”

It’s all about connecting and serving the community, said Randolph. “We are happy that, through this experience, many of our young people have testified to having a deeper appreciation for service to God, humanity and their community,” he said.

There are more than 15,700 Seventh-day Adventists in Saint Lucia worshipping in 50 congregations. The church oversees three primary schools and one secondary school.

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