Latavia leaves home
“Pray for the Cayman Islands – please send workers”.
Latavia, an experienced staff worker with ISCF, the student movement in Jamaica, had been praying for a new opportunity to serve overseas. When she saw this message posted during an online ISCF event, she wondered if she had found her answer.
After a few months, Latavia’s calling to the Cayman Islands was confirmed when God gave her a dream about the landscape and geography of the island of Grand Cayman – even though she had never been there. This was also confirmed through a prophetic word from her Pastor. In June, she moved to the island as the first IS/IVCF Cayman Islands staff worker to be fully employed directly by the ministry.
A new place always brings new challenges. “Cayman is a Christian nation like Jamaica, and because I was only going to be supervising seven schools, to be honest, I expected it to be easier”. In Jamaica, Latavia had personally overseen ministry in close to 100 schools and, in this new situation, she was looking forward to developing closer relationships with fewer students. But Latavia found the Caymanian culture far more indifferent to Christianity than she was expecting.
In the Cayman Islands, over 130 nationalities are represented in a population of just 70,000, and there are many students who identify as atheists or follow different religions. By contrast, Latavia explains that in Jamaica “everybody might not personally trust in Jesus, but there is a reverence for God, and a general support for the ministry.” Student ministry in Jamaica is well established – over 70 years old. Groups are student-led, although supervised by a sponsor (Christian teacher). Christian students are less forthcoming in Cayman. “Lots of them seem to be in hiding”, observes Latavia.
Nonetheless, she also went expecting to feel like a total stranger and foreigner in a new country. “The Lord has given me a lot of friends and a real community of Christians”, she says. Moreover, “the IS/IVCF board members are also really supportive.”
As a financial centre, the Cayman Islands is an interesting and unique place for student ministry. “Here”, says Latavia, “we have the potential to impact the world. With so many students from other countries, we can impact the families they go home to worldwide.” Latavia wants to make the most of this with the 2023 theme Igniting our Schools with the Gospel of Jesus. “I’ve been surprised to meet students who have never heard the gospel”, she says. “A student asked me ‘What is Christ?’ It’s difficult to invest in students who are here for such a short time and can’t make a great impact on the island, but I want the students to become bold witnesses in their words and conduct.”
Let’s pray for Latavia and students in the Cayman Islands:
- Pray for the discipleship retreat on 18 February, that students might become strengthened in their faith and equipped to live it out among their friends.
- Pray for Latavia’s efforts to bring more churches on board with the mission, that many churches will see and understand the strategic value of the ministry to students, and that they will support Latavia with finances, resources, mentoring, and pastoral care.
- Pray that as Latavia works to establish student ministry, build relationships, and make disciples, God will bless the work of her hands (Deuteronomy 28:12). Pray that he will raise up student leaders in the Cayman Islands.