I didn’t think it was possible. How could you be driving for two hours on a Caribbean island and still be on the island? We had left the guest house near the airport in Trinidad and were headed to Point Fortin which takes some getting to. As we drove along, I saw many of the familiar sites of my childhood on this most southerly place in the West Indies. The bamboo poles in many front yards still have Hindu prayer flags on them and funeral pyres still burn bodies for cremation along the ocean front. Trinidad is a multi-cultural melting pot of peoples from Africa, India and even China. Muslim mosques, Hindu temples and Christian churches dot the landscape and compete for hearts and minds. This is a place of warm breezes and hot religion.
We pulled up to the small CLC store on the bustling main street in the town that is affectionately referred to simply as “Point”. As we walked into the store we were greeted by the local staff and a young man I had not been introduced to before. His broad smile would make anyone feel at home and he told me his name was Christon. We quickly began talking about the opportunities and challenges facing this team and they shared about many things that God was doing. Alice, the manager, made a point of mentioning a renewed interest in the occult among young people and I remembered how real spiritual warfare is on this island. It was at that point that Christon spoke up and said, “But let’s not forget the blessing of having CLC in the midst of all this” and I could tell he had a story to share.
Christon had a troubled childhood and came from an admittedly dysfunctional family. Despite this God got ahold of him at the age of nineteen and he became a follower of Jesus Christ. Wanting to grow in his new found faith, he made his way to the CLC store and connected with Alice when she discovered that he had a unique problem. While he desired to learn more about God and Christianity, he could not read, at least not very well. Seeing the desire in his heart, she did not let this become an obstacle. She started by reading to him from the Bible and little by little, she taught him to read on his own. As grew in his faith, he did not keep it to himself and became a witness to many others of the power of God to change a life. Today, Criston is twenty-eight, active in his local church and a part time helper in our store sharing his love for the Bible with anyone who will listen.
As we drove away along the long pot hole ridden road back to San Fernando I could not help but think about what life would be like for a nineteen-year-old in Trinidad who could not read. So many other young men in similar circumstances have been drawn into the drug trade and with the high rate of murders on the island, many are gunned down in the prime of life. In a very real way, God used Alice and that little store in a faraway town to transform Christon’s life and push back the darkness that consumes so many young lives. Now Christon is helping other young people to hear about the power of the gospel to see that the occult is a short cut to death and destruction. I can’t wait to come back in a year and hear what God has done through his surrendered life.