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Couple spreading positive message to youth
By LEDEDRA MARCHE
FN Senior Reporter
Every year, husband and wife missionary team Peter and Susan Kingston spend roughly three months of their lives in the Caribbean to speak to high school and college students about the perils of drug and alcohol use.
Peter, 55, who hails from England, and Susan, 51, from France, have dedicated their lives to mission work and have been working as interdenominational missionaries for 37 years, mostly in India, Nepal, Africa, Bosnia and now Fiji.
“We bring schoolbooks, library books, wheelchairs that we give in village schools and various projects with the handicapped and bringing clothes to needy families,” Peter said.
The two explained why they have chosen voluntary work and why reaching the Caribbean has become so important to them in recent years.
“We talk about our own experience as teachers — I took a lot of drugs and was heavily into smoking and drinking. Then we show one DVD about the dangers of smoking and another one about the A to Z about drugs,” said Peter.
“If we can at least prevent one child from getting into drugs, then it is worth it. But, hopefully we can prevent a lot more than that.”
The couple has traveled to Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and Dominica and came to The Bahamas for two months.
The goal is simple, they say, and the message has been very receptive.
“We’re going throughout the Caribbean, country by country, and we have visited 13 of them so far, in order to do these programs,” he said.
Having already spent one month in New Providence, the duo has spoken to a number of youth in Grand Bahama at Bishop Michael Eldon and Tabernacle Baptist Schools and at a youth group at Freeport Bible Church and have a full-fledged program planned for their final two weeks.
This week they plan to speak at St. Paul’s Methodist College and a number of public high schools once they receive authorization from the government.
The A to Z DVD, he explained, goes through the alphabet and talks about a drug that starts with every letter.
Following their pep talk and DVD sessions, the couple opens the floor for a question and answer period.
“It’s a good, successful program. People like it,” Peter said, adding that their husband and wife team is the best possible combination.
Peter and Susan have two children who were travelling with them doing missionary work for quite a few years, but have since taken up residence in France.
The two explained that their missionary work is 100 percent voluntary and, as they work without a salary or regular source of income, they often partner with local organizations and their trips, accommodation and food are donated.
“It has been fairly easy here getting around. We put out our thumb, we hitchhike and people are fairly friendly,” Peter said.
“They stop and often take us further than they were going in order to get us where we need to get to. So they have been very helpful and kind.”
They say the restaurants, too, have been kind to them as a number of them have donated meals.
However, accommodation has been a bit difficult. “That’s our biggest challenge. Because we don’t get a salary, we need to find donated accommodation and that has been very difficult,” Peter noted.
But, a few hotels have donated a few days and one church gave them a week.
Their overall message to the youngsters, they say, is to make informed decisions.
“Be wise,” Peter said. “Don’t just get into smoking or drinking because other people are doing it. Make decisions for yourself and we are here to let you see (with the aid of the DVDs), some of the very negative consequences of drugs and smoking. So think before you act.”
Peter said they had also planned to visit Eleuthera next, but their travel was cut short this year with the passing of his mother.
“We’ll come back next year, hopefully, and go to Eleuthera and Exuma and some of the other islands,” he said.
Peter and Susan say their lives were changed many years ago and that is where they get their inspiration. They can be reached at email@example.com.