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by Tony Cupit

“You are no friend; you knew me for 10 years and never told me about Jesus.”
These words spoken at the Baptist World Alliance Living Water
conference, held in Freeport, Bahamas, from August 18-22, were repeated
again and again throughout the conference because they challenged, even
shamed, all who attended. Each one of us, at one time or another, have
failed to tell someone who needed to know that God’s beloved Son died on
a Cross so that we might live.
A Baptist leader from Cuba, Victor Samuel Gonzales, spoke about his
88 year old father who lives in Havana. Gonzales shared that his father,
a Cuban pastor, continues to walk many miles every day, even with his
advancing years, visiting people in their homes and telling them about
Jesus. A picture of him shows a frail old man, with shoes barely holding
together, trudging the streets with a Bible under his arm. His testimony is,
“I will not retire while people have not heard about Jesus.”
Baptists in the Caribbean are insistent that their mandate from the Living
Christ is to proclaim the Good News of God’s divine love. They acknowledge
the immense obstacles they face, but they have great confi dence in the
power of God and their own capacity to undertake “radical re-thinking,”
to quote Caribbean Baptist Fellowship (CBF) President Burchell Taylor, of
their evangelistic intention and methods.
This deep desire to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel message with
sincerity and purpose characterized the discussion that swirled around the
sanctuary in the Zion Baptist Church in Freeport.
Following some memorable inter-national Living Water conferences
in places as diverse as Russia, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Thailand, India and
the Czech Republic, delegates from throughout the beautiful Caribbean
islands gathered in the Bahamas for the conference. Delegates warmed
to the evocative theme of “Christ the Living Water” and entered into the
debate as to how best to make an impact for Jesus Christ in Jamaica, St.
Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Cuba, Antigua, Barbados, St.
Kitts, the Bahamas, Guyana, Turks and North Caicos and other islands of
the Caribbean.
The Baptist World Alliance was well-represented with President
David Coffey, General Secretary Neville Callam, and directors, Fausto
Vasconcelos and Eron Henry. Other international contributors were Ronald
Bobo, Chair of the Division of Evangelism and Education, and Dennis
Pethers, an evangelist/mission enabler from the United Kingdom.
As well as preaching at the fi nal service of the Living Water
conference, Coffey conducted a moving foot-washing service leading into
the celebration of the

(Photos: Victor Gonzales, Cuba; Lincoln Conner, St. Kitts; Peter Pinder, BWA Regional
Secretary, Caribbean)
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