Adventist Review Online | After Hurricanes, Adventists Coordinate Counseling Services in St. Croix

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Plans are underway to extend a similar offer to other devastated islands.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North Caribbean Conference territory is counseling church members and community members as they continue to recover from the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

A team from the CW Educational and Behavioral Center based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, toured several churches and communities in St. Croix and provided crisis counseling, which helps individuals cope with life after traumatic events, from Oct. 22-29.

“Going through a disaster is traumatic, and we all have experienced some level of anguish since the passage of Irma and Maria,” said North Caribbean Conference president Desmond James. “The islands have been totally rocked, and we have hundreds of church members whose houses were flooded and staff members who have gone through traumatic experiences.”

The plan is to expose the entire conference territory to the opportunity of self-care, added James.

Since the passage of the hurricane, residents have experienced a mixture of emotions such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, emptiness, fatigue, helplessness, disbelief, numbness, and anger, stated CW Educational and Behavioral Center director Vincentia Paul-Constantin.

“Our philosophy is holistic,” said assistant director of the center Jessica Whyte. “We count it one of our greatest privileges to assist God’s people to understand who they are and the story God is writing in their lives.” Both Constantin and Whyte are Virgin Islanders and are affiliated with the Adventist Church, so they provided their services free of charge.

Constantin guided members into identifying signs of unhealthy grief such as avoiding and excluding friends and family as well as prolonged feelings of the worthlessness of life. She urged members to find opportunities to show God’s love to individuals whose lives have been touched by this tragedy.

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