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October-November 2023

Forging Ahead


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What if non-Christians made a daily appointment to see you? What if Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Hindus paid to sit in a room and listen to you teach, preach, and pray?


A Caribbean Calling

By Angela Wooton


Every Christian missionary (aka every Christian) has the same mission: find seekers and build relationships with them. Sharing the gospel is an all-important and often perplexing task. There may be no better way to reach people from a different culture than by befriending them, building trust, showing hope, and sharing the Source of that hope.

How do we make those initial connections with people? Books, articles, and classes offer tips and advice. Countless ministry discussions and outreach strategies implement new and innovative ways to build gospel-driven relationships. Missionaries have become adept at turning daily life activities into evangelistic opportunities—barista to barber, mechanic to mailman—any small commonality that might spark a conversation and eventually lead to a friendship.

But what if the lost came to you? What if non-Christians made a daily appointment to see you? What if Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Hindus paid to sit in a room and listen to you teach, preach, and pray? That is what our daily life is like in St. Croix. It is so exciting.

Every morning, we wake up, prepare ourselves for our mission field, walk into our classrooms, turn on our lights and fans, and students pour in. They may not believe in our mission, but every one of our students wears a school shirt with our Christian logo on it, carries a Bible, and hears the truth taught in a Bible class. They hear and sing Christian worship songs in weekly chapel services. But how and why would they come?

The Free Will Baptist ministry in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, started in 1967 when Larry Powell planted a home church in the middle of the island. Over the decades, many faithful servants have lived, visited, and worked here on the island. In time, God gave these leaders a vision to start a Christian school, and for more than 50 years, Free Will Baptist Christian School has been a beacon for Christ on the island.

St. Croix is a magnificent place with rolling green hills and turquoise waters. Almost every day is a beautiful, breezy 85 degrees. One end of the island is a rainforest, the other a desert. This Caribbean paradise is truly breathtaking.


The culture is as diverse as its people, who come in every beautiful shade of brown imaginable. You hear multiple accents, dialects, and languages. You can savor Indian delicacies, African flavors, and barbecue—all from the same food truck! When they settled on the island, each unique people group brought their own worldview, traditions, and religious beliefs. Many islanders could be considered mosaic, believing a little of this and a little of that. Rastafarianism, Catholicism, Islam, Seventh Day Adventism, and Mormonism represent only a few of the many belief systems found here. The Christian church has a presence in St. Croix, as well, but many people are confused about what having a true relationship with Jesus really means.

With all its beauty and magnificence, St. Croix also endures significant challenges. The transient nature of island life makes consistency in business and education difficult. Its struggling economy leaves schools lacking employees and supplies. Many families are seeking a school where children can learn in a safe environment, with caring teachers and a quality curriculum. With the Lord’s help, we have been able to consistently provide that.



Free Will Baptist Christian School operates with a mixture of stateside and local teachers and staff. Though the school has endured difficult times financially, the Lord has faithfully sustained us when other private schools have closed or consolidated. He also has seen fit to protect our school’s reputation for excellence. In our weaknesses, He has proven Himself strong. This is the reason many non-Christians send their children to our school. We provide that quality education in a caring environment they want for their children.

We’ve ministered on the island long enough to see generations of students graduate from our school, and we currently have five alumni employees. It is a beautiful thing to watch a student advance through our school, leave for college, and return to serve. Several students and their families regularly attend our church and youth group.

After students graduate, we continue to pray the Holy Spirit would use what they learned in our little school to convict the hearts of those students who have yet to follow the Lord. We look forward to celebrating in Heaven with Caribbean brothers and sisters who attended our school. As we continue to pray for creative ways to reach the lost world around us, we are grateful for the daily opportunities God gives us at our unique Christian school.

What about you? How can the Lord use your church and family to accomplish His mission in your neighborhood?

About the Author: Angela Wooton is the middle and high school principal at Free Will Baptist Christian School in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. She and her husband Gene, pastor of the Free Will Baptist church in St. Croix, have lived and ministered on the island since 2014. They have four sons: Gene, Seth, Cole, and Levi.


©2023 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists