LUCEA, Jamaica—What better place to escape winter than the Caribbean? Fifty pastors and wives from the Crossroads Fellowship of Indiana and the Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Jamaica met for a joint pastors’ and wives’ retreat in Lucea, Jamaica, Feb. 12–19.

A combination of pastors and missionaries from the Crossroads Fellowship and AIBC led an opening conference at the Grand Palladium Resort. Pastor Godfrey and Launa Watson of Jamaica made sure the conference was a great success. Focusing on the theme “Living, Loving and Laboring Together,” Pastor William Newman of Jamaica got the retreat started with a comical, engaging, and practical challenge: “Where Did the Romance Go?” His transparency set the tone for the rest of the conference, and the next two days were filled with open discussions of the real-life challenges and joys of marriage and ministry.

Remaining sessions were led by Pastor Larry Starett (First Baptist Church, Chesterton, Ind.), Pastor David King (Fellowship Baptist Church, Jasper, Ind.), Missionary Richy Young, and Pastor Sylvester and Beverly Green of Jamaica.

The retreat was filled with great challenges from the Word and plenty of rest and relaxation. Following the conference, the couples “ran away” to Runaway Bay in Saint Ann Parish. There they met Jamaican couples in ministry who encouraged them in their marriages. They visited Montego Bay next to enjoy shopping, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach.

R & R wasn’t the only goal of the retreat. It also served as a kick-off for the newly formed five-year strategic partnership between the AIBC and Crossroads Fellowship. The Indiana pastors spent time with partnering churches to begin building a relationship between pastors and church families of both associations. Pastor Doug and Kathy Schroeder of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Bloomington, spent the following Sunday at Calvary Baptist in Savanna-la-Mar. Pastor Jon McDugle of West Bridge Church (formerly called First Baptist) in Danville, visited Mount Stewart Baptist, and Pastor Ron McDugle, also of West Bridge, preached at Hillview Baptist Church in Montego Bay. Pastor Larry Starett preached at Faith Baptist in Flankers and Hillview Baptist of Montego Bay. He was accompanied by his wife, and Becky, along with missionaries Gary and Marty Crawford. Pastor David and Leesa King arrived a few weeks before the retreat; David preached at Independence Hall Baptist Church and taught a module at Fairview Baptist Bible College. (One of the goals of the partnership is to help FBBC achieve accreditation.)

Both associations are looking forward to a growing partnership that will impact the lostness in both Indiana and Jamaica by initiating church planting, leadership training, and missions endeavors to the glory of God.