cuisine mirrors its many cultures. The local Créole specialties combine
the finesse of French cuisine with the spice of African cookery and the
exoticism of East Indian and Southeast Asian recipes. Fresh seafood
appears on most menus. Other specialties include shellfish, smoked fish,
stuffed land crabs, stewed conch, and curry dishes. Guadeloupe is
considered one of the true culinary capitals of the Caribbean, with some
200 restaurants recommended by the Tourist Office. Some are in hotels,
some in lovely settings by the sea, and some on the front porches of the
cooks' homes (from www.caribbean–direct.com).
a land famous for its food, it’s not surprising that Campus Crusade
anticipated a bountiful harvest as it sent a team of 17 missionaries
from Alberta and BC to present the recently translated Jesus film
alongside local churches. Taylor alumni Bert and Myrna Harsch (’62) were
a part of this team.
Bert and Myrna (née Schalin) attended Taylor in
the early 1960s when it was still Christian Training Institute. They met
at the school and were married the year after Bert graduated. After
farming for two years, they went to the U.S. for further education, after
which Bert became a pastor—first in Tacoma, Washington, then on to
Prince George, BC, and then to Northgate Baptist Church in Edmonton
where he served as the Associate Pastor. During this time Myrna
supported the family in a variety of positions and spent much time at
home raising their two children. Very sadly, one of those children was
taken home far too soon due to a battle with cancer. The Harsches chose
to move from church ministry and serve God in the secular world after
Bert had pastored for about 10 years. He went on to a career in sales
and then with the Workers Compensation Board for 16 years. Due to
health reasons, Bert chose an early retirement and continues to serve
God in a lay capacity.
Bert and Myrna’s commitment to Christian
ministry led them on the trip to the French Caribbean with “Guadeloupe Sonrise” (the name chosen for their latest missions trip). The team left
on October 15, 2005 for a two week venture to join the ministry of 20
different evangelical churches that are working to establish an
evangelistic program for the island. Four of the team also went to a
smaller island—45 minutes away by ferry, called Marie-Galante. Bert was
one member of this smaller team.
Work focused on assisting the local churches in
their evangelistic outreach using the Jesus film. Although the cultural
make-up of Guadeloupe is diverse, the common language is French Creole,
into which the Jesus film was recently translated. On this trip the
Jesus film was shown 15 times to audiences ranging from 100 to 1000 per
night. At each screening the attendees were asked to fill out a comment
card as well as go through the 4 spiritual laws. The local churches will
use the comment cards as a way to follow-up with those who attended the
screening and continue to minister to them and support those who have
chosen to accept Christ. Exact numbers are unknown at this time, but the
response to “Guadeloupe Sonrise” was excellent. The team returned to
Canada tired, but encouraged.
Myrna tells of one evening that she went out to
show the film. “I was stretched in many ways. One specific way I was
stretched was by having to take a leadership role in setting up the
screen and projector. One night there were only two of us ladies sent to
a showing and I had to be the team leader. As many of you know, I am not
a natural leader, but God gave me the ability to carry out this responsibility.
I also had to give my testimony through an interpreter. It was also
difficult having to communicate to people who only spoke French or
Creole when no interpreter was available. But God saw me through it
Bert describes a rainy night that ended
positively. “One night it rained almost through the whole showing yet
people stood in the rain to see the film. After the showing I saw at
least one lady being counseled and she prayed to invite Christ into her
life and we know that there are more who also made commitments.”
In their report back to their family and
friends, Bert and Myrna list a number of positive results from the trip:
- The people have numerous contacts as a
result of the comment cards, which they will be following up on and
trying to incorporate them into the local churches.
- The people have had some training in
presenting the gospel to others with the use of the 4 spiritual laws in the French language.
- Many copies of the Jesus film have been
given to the churches there, and the churches have equipment for
showing this film. We presented the film in the major cities. There is
a real desire on the part of the people to get out into the smaller
villages and show this film to the people. What the result of
all this will be, only God knows.
- There were a number of people, pastors and
church members who were skeptical concerning this project. But when
they saw what was happening they threw their weight behind it and got enthused about continuing to present the gospel to
many more people through the use of this film. So you could say we were
an encouragement to the Christians of Guadeloupe!
As is the case with most short-term missions
trips, the positive impact on the team itself was evident. Answers to
prayer strengthened the faith of those involved. The trip happened right
during the middle of the rainy season in Guadeloupe, yet only one of the
shows (all were held outdoors) had to be cancelled. In one case, the
rain would have forced a cancellation, but the screening was able to be
moved into a gym that just happened to be adjacent to the rained-out
location. The team also faced spiritual warfare. “This island has a lot
of witchcraft. There were a couple of incidents where there was a
disturbance by one of these and as a team we would huddle together and
pray. The Lord answered by calming the person down or he would just
For Bert and Myrna, the trip had a significant
personal impact. Myrna found herself stretched to provide leadership and
God worked through her faithfulness—in spite of her discomfort. Working
through a translator to share her testimony was an experience that has
given her confidence in sharing her faith to others. Bert also found
that the experience of working cross-culturally has renewed his
excitement to share his faith, and he hopes that God will open doors for
him at home to share the Gospel and lead others to Christ, as he was
able to do in Guadeloupe.
Bert, Myrna, and the “Guadeloupe Sonrise” team
survived the heat and humidity and look forward to future trips. They
challenge every Christian to stretch himself or herself through
cross-cultural ministry, and encourage those who are interested in the
Jesus film to
contact Ken Priebe of Campus Crusade
for Christ in Kelowna, BC about future trips.
If the first paragraph of this article made you
as hungry as it made me, see below for a recipe for an authentic French
Caribbean chicken dish. Bert and Myrna enjoyed many fantastic meals, and
they assure me that the dish below is typical of the wonderful food they
experienced while in Guadeloupe. Do you have international recipes that
you’d like to share with your fellow alumni? Send us the recipe and the
missions story behind it, and we’ll include your contribution in a
future edition of the Online Bridge.
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 pounds chicken
- 4 tablespoons colombo powder (see Note
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups peeled and chopped onions
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 cup peeled and chopped bananas
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter.
Stir in the chicken and colombo powder. Cook over medium heat for 15
minutes until brown.
Add the chicken broth, onions, 1/2 can of
coconut milk, garlic, lime juice, thyme, chives, parsley, Scotch Bonnet
pepper, salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes. Turn
off the heat.
Stir in the remaining coconut milk, the
bananas, and pistachios.
Serve hot with Creole Rice.
Yield: 6 servings
*Note: Colombo powder is a French West Indies
curry powder - a mixture of cumin, coriander, brown mustard, Malabar
black pepper, cloves, fenugreek, and turmeric. Check gourmet shops and
ethnic sections of your market. A recipe for Colombo powder (along with
a French Caribbean Traditional Christmas Stew recipe) can be found at
from: French Caribbean Cuisine by Stephanie Ovide (Hippocrene Books)