It’s called “oil down.”* It’s the national dish of Grenada. The ingredients include dasheen (calallo) leaves, chive and thyme, carrots, Scotch bonnet (or habenero) pepper, dumplings, pig tail and snout, turmeric (locally called saffron), salt fish, breadfruit, coconut milk, and onion. All these ingredients—prepared, layered, and cooked over a long period of time—blend together to create a tasty and nourishing meal.
That is what Grace Lutheran in Grenada is—a blend of God’s children from different social and religious backgrounds, brought together by the gospel, gifted with God-given skills and abilities, working together as one congregation to serve the tasty and life-giving meal of the gospel of Jesus.
Grace is overseen by the South Atlantic District Mission Board, but we are not your usual home mission. We are the only Lutheran church in the country. We are diverse, different, unified, and truly blessed by God.
Our “oil down” (ministry), just like the meal, is layered. It is made up not only of spices (people) but also of “provisions”—the staples and substance of any good meal. Our ministry is blessed to include three layers—church, community outreach, and a primary school (preschool through grade six).
Let’s meet two of the people who make up our “oil down”—Elder Terry Louison and church secretary Neisha Roach.
Neisha is the younger of the two but has been at Grace the longest. She is married to Patrick, who leads our youth and music ministry, and they have a two-year-old daughter called “Nana.” Neisha, like many of the members of Grace, was raised in the Pentecostal church. She came to Grace almost 10 years ago and stayed because of the nourishing gospel.
Grenada’s society has strong matriarchal undertones. Neisha knows the culture, and she knows her Savior. She is patient and humble, strong and committed. Her quiet demeanor invites confidence and trust. Members will come to her and ask for advice or inform her of a matter, knowing that she will pass it on to the pastor if appropriate. Neisha is currently enrolled in the Martin Luther College Congregational Assistant Program, and upon completion, we want to call her as our deaconess.
Terry joined Grace about three years ago. He worked in the US and also studied and worked in Cuba. His spiritual journey, beginning in the Roman Catholic Church, is a windy, twisting long road that reveals God’s mercy in action. He is a scholar of history and of God’s Word. If you want to know anything about Grenada (history, flora, fauna, culture and more), Terry is the person to ask. If you want to be spiritually enriched, speak to Terry. You will leave the conversation a wiser person and blessed by the Lord.
Terry is a master tour guide operator. He owns a bus (a van really), which he uses for his tour guiding. However, as many of our members do not have cars, he transports them to and from church on Sunday. While driving, he listens to the members and encourages them. He proclaims the gospel not only in words but also in a life that gives glory to God.
These are just two of many wonderful, spicy, flavorful souls whose lives the gospel has touched here in Grenada. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIVUK).
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Author: Ib Meyer
Volume 105, Number 4
Issue: April 2018
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