A Snapshot of Saints in the Seychelles
I recently received a report from a preacher working in the Seychelles (an island group in the Indian Ocean off the coast of eastern Africa). While we are aware that Christians exist in far off places, we often know little about them. Note the following from Jimmy Petrousse:
► One of their strong members, a young Christian woman named Sylvie, died unexpectedly during childbirth. The baby lived but had a heart defect and had to be treated in India for five months.
► One week after Sylvie’s death, her husband Kevin was in a near-fatal accident with his work truck. He suffered a ruptured kidney, broken ribs, punctured lungs, fractured spinal column and deep lacerations. He is recovering.
► One member’s brother was dealing with some “dark personal issues.” He had isolated himself for years but finally reached out to his brother for help. Jimmy was able to meet and study with him and was optimistic about the discussion. In Jimmy’s words: “This young man expressed his gratitude that we had taken the time to study with him … [and] told me he will call me the following week to continue our study. Two days later he committed suicide.”
► One of the members, Steve, met a man who “had for more than half his lifetime destroyed his body, mind, and soul with alcohol, drugs, and everything else that comes with such a lifestyle. A few months ago … Steve began to encourage him to seek God. He started coming to church and studied with Steve for several weeks. Recently, he received the news that he was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and that his days on earth are numbered. Understandably, this news jolted him to the core and he began to seriously consider his eternal fate … Last Sunday he was baptized into Christ.”
► A Christian couple “on the cusp of divorcing decided to renew their marital vow and recommit themselves to God and to the covenant they had made several years ago … No one saw this coming since everyone knew how bad the marriage had fallen apart. Although this couple still has a long way to go … they have surely taken the right first step.”
Jimmy then made some insightful observations: “This couple’s family situation indirectly exposed the struggles of many other couples in our congregation. We are finding that in most cases only one spouse is willing to seek help, while the other is resistant to other Christians’ support.
“Consequently, many children get caught up in the middle of their parents’ conflicts. What is especially alarming with some children is the fact that their parents’ dysfunction is inflicting deep gaping wounds within them. Some choose to become angry at everything and everybody, while others just pull away from the Church and find comfort in the world. Some take refuge in solitude. To some extent, our children have become the new frontier in our ongoing spiritual war with the old enemy. We are trying hard to awaken everybody’s consciousness to this reality. Honestly, it takes a lot of humility and courage to accept this fact … I am amazed how far adult Christians will go to avoid facing the obvious, even if it is destroying everything valuable in their lives.”
Wow … “our children have become the new frontier." Sounds like Satan is alive and well in the Seychelles, just as he is in the good old US of A. We do not have the market cornered on drugs, alcohol, marital failure and other sins that plague mankind.
Jimmy added the following relevant insight: “Perhaps what worries me the most about all these coping mechanisms our young people gravitate towards is that they all have a tendency to be self-destructive rather than restorative.”
The exercise of free will to commit sin is not only destructive to the one who engages in it; it has a ripple effect in the lives of others. Nowhere is this more evident than children who grow up emotionally and psychologically damaged by the immaturity, lack of love, antagonism and strife between their parents. The world is already bent on destroying their faith by enticing them into its licentiousness and materialism and deceiving them with confusion and lies. The last thing they need is to see parents who do not love and respect each other and cannot live in peace. We must be more aware of these stressors on young people and help counsel and comfort them as we have opportunity.
Jimmy offered one more thought about the new convert with terminal cirrhosis: “We are so excited to see a person who felt like there was no reason to live anymore yet was able to find every reason to live for Him who is the author of life eternal. It was so touching how this new brother describes how all of his worldly friends abandoned him at his darkest moment and all he could find and lean on was Christ and his people. The very Christ he had rejected and the very people he had maligned and mocked all of his life. We give God glory.”
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:14-16).