Some 32 years ago today, we were living on the island of Grenada in the West Indies. My parents were missionaries with the then-Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. We had moved to Grenada in 1975 after having served four years in the country of Guyana (South America). My parents were the first Baptist missionaries to come to this island, and my Dad, Manget Herrin (d.1983), was an amazing church-planter. Mom, Elaine Herrin Onley, is a writer…and she developed much of the Christian education curriculum for the whole English-speaking Caribbean. I…well, I was a kid and I loved living in that amazing, tranquil world.
My day would go something like this—up with the sun around 6:15am, breakfast, don my school uniform, hop on my Honda CT-110 motorcycle and ride to school at BCA (Berean Christian Academy) in downtown St. Georges. Around 1:30pm, school would let out and I’d make my way home where our mid-day meal would be waiting—flying fish, calalou soup, Greek-style macaroni-and-cheese, bok-choy….mmmmmm. I get hungry just thinking of it! After lunch, I’d hit the books and get what little homework I had done…and then head down to the beach—Lance aux E’pines beach. It was about 418 steps from our back veranda until my feet touched the warm sand of the beach. At my side would be my trusty dog. We would walk the beach…walk out on the rocks at the end of the beach…swim all over the bay together. I loved the solitude and the independence of that life. Before the sun set, I’d make my way home…prepare for the night…and be in bed by 9:00pm. That climate, that speed of life, just did not permit late-night living. And, the next day would come.
However, on Tuesday, March 13th, we awoke to a different world. As Mom and I ate breakfast (Dad was on photo-assignment in Guyana as he was the regional photographer for the SBC), a fellow missionary, Ken Wellmon, came to the door. “Do you have your radio on yet?” he asked (we only had one tv channel that came in, and that not very well.) We turned on the radio and learned that there had been a revolution in the middle of the night!! The socialist forces, under the leadership of Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard, had taken the island in the early morning hours in what seemed to be an almost blood-less coup. One of the their first moves had been the taking of the radio station…which they then used to direct their forces, call for surrender of police stations, announce their successes. We were able to sit and listen to the revolution in progress.
I didn’t go to school that day. Mom and I sat and listened to the radio. Around mid-morning, the “People’s Revolutionary Government” sent two armed men to our house to “protect” us—one out front with an AK-47 and one out back with a double-barreled shotgun. I’m sure we felt quite safe!
Dad was able to return some five days later when the new government re-opened the airport. School resumed. Life went on, albeit differently in the days to come…but that’s another story! Let it suffice for today that I remember that morning so long ago…and some day I’ll write about how that event and the years after shaped my life in so many ways….