On February 18, 2018, after a special district conference, a small group of Latter-day Saints in Barbados gathered to witness the dedication of their beloved country for the preaching of the gospel by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Twelve Apostles. He was accompanied by his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund; Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, General Authority Seventy and the President of the Caribbean Area, and his wife Sister Zulma Gonzalez; and Elder Claude Gamiette, an Area Seventy.
Elder Renlund was in Barbados following a nine-day review of the Church in the Caribbean Area. The dedication took place at historic Gun Hill Station.
“Barbados was included in an apostolic dedication for the West Indies Mission in 1988,” Elder Renlund explained. “However, the First Presidency determined that a dedication specifically for Barbados was appropriate.”
Gun Hill Station, where Elder Renlund gave the dedicatory prayer, is one of the original six signal stations established in 1818–19 for the internal and external defense of Barbados. “From its hilltop vantage point, warning messages of impending threat were sent,” Elder Renlund said.
Before the prayer was offered, Sister Yvonne Nelson, a pioneer member of the Church in Barbados, spoke briefly about her encounter with missionaries in 1979 and her journey of testimony and baptism. Sister Nelson said she was first contacted by missionaries in 1979.
“They started to give me some lessons,” she said. “They gave me a Book of Mormon and told me I should read, but before I read, I should pray and ask Heavenly Father if it was true.”
Active in her own Christian faith, Sister Nelson would attend LDS services after attending her own church. Over time, she said she gained gospel knowledge about the premortal existence, the purpose of mortality, and life after death.
“What I didn’t understand, the missionaries would make clear to me,” she said.
She was baptized on February 3, 1980.
Joining the Church was “the best decision I ever made,” she said. “It helped me to get closer to Heavenly Father.”
She added, “Living a righteous life is not easy. There are ups and downs and temptations, but with Heavenly Father’s help, we can overcome them. We have to keep our covenants and do everything possible to do what Heavenly Father would want us to do. Sometimes we might not want to forgive our enemies, but we have to try to love everyone.”
Elder Claude Gamiette, Caribbean Area Seventy, also spoke to the group thanking them for the goodness of their lives and for their faithfulness. He said that this day was an opportunity to dedicate ourselves even more. He encouraged the members to take to heart the blessings that would be pronounced by the apostolic keys of Elder Renlund.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Renlund blessed the land, the people, and the government. His prayer included a blessing upon those who had lived in Barbados but are now deceased that they would accept the gospel as living persons perform ordinances in their behalf.
The Apostle said the peaceful surroundings contributed to the spirit that accompanied the occasion.
“The Lord directed the blessing that I pronounced on this country,” he said. “He will see that it is fulfilled as the people act in faith.”