My name is Beth and I am a missionary working with Global Ministries and serving primarily in Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is a group of islands located in the French Caribbean. (Near St. Lucia, St. Martin, Martinique, etc.) Guadeloupe is a department of France and is, therefore, under French law and government. This also means that the culture here is a fascinating mixture of French and Caribbean cultures and that French is the most widely-spoken language.
While I am here, I will primarily work with Men a Lespwa, an organization started by the Reformed Protestant Church in Guadeloupe. A primary focus of Men a Lespwa is working with prisoners: accompanying them while they are in jail through chaplaincy work and providing for physical needs, as well as accompanying ex-prisoners as they seek to re-integrate back into life outside the jails. While I am here, a significant part of my work will be working in the prisons – leading weekly bible studies and meeting with prisoners. As I am starting out, I will primarily focus on the English speaking population in the prisons, which I have been told is approximately 25% of the prison population here. It is certainly challenging but holy work.
I arrived here on September 25th, 2014. Since then, it’s been a bit like “Baptism by French,” but I’m understanding more and more each day. However, that will be another focus of mine during my time here – learning as much French as I possibly can. French is a difficult language to learn (verb conjugations, anyone?), but it’s so important that I become more conversational in it in order to better connect with people.
So, that’s the basics. 🙂 Prayers are certainly appreciated for the work in the prisons and as I work to progress my French. Prayers are also appreciated for the partners here – The Reformed Protestant Church and Men a Lespwa. I’m excited to see all of the ways that God will be at work over this next year in Guadeloupe.