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Family matters in the Caribbean

EXPERIENCE: The Mayers clan

IF YOU got the chance to live in the Caribbean for four months would you take it? The Mayers family, comprised of Phil, Lisa his wife of 18 years and their 7 children did just that.

Now back in the UK, the Mayers’ shared with The Voice how the experience strengthened their family and faith.

What caused you to live in St Kitts with your family for four months?
PHIL MAYERS (PM): We had to move out while our house was being refurbished. The choice was find somewhere to rent in the UK for four months or pay for flights and stay rent free in St Kitts at my mum’s place! As we have the flexibility of home education, we could fly outside of the expensive season, and didn’t have to worry about school fines etc. It wasn’t a difficult decision in the end.

How did your family feel about the decision?
LISA MAYERS (LM): There was some apprehension as it was a journey into the unknown, but we were all very excited as we hadn’t been abroad as a family for about 10 years. It was the first time to the Caribbean for four of the children. Some were a bit worried about being away from friends for a long time, but a good long holiday in the sunshine was the overriding thing to look forward to.

What challenges did you experience adapting to Caribbean life?
LM: The mosquitos and sand flies enjoyed feasting on foreign blood! Also the water shortages where we stayed. We had to learn to be flexible and keep extra water stored in bottles.

What did you and your family do whilst out in St Kitts?
PM: Chill, eat food, connect with family and go to church. It was primarily a holiday although we were able to home school and I was able to do some work. Three of the little ones went to the local preschool which was a blessing as they got to mix with the local children and picked up the accent a little.


IN TANDEM: Phil and Lisa with a stunning backdrop

What impact did living in St Kitts have on your family?
PM: Being immersed in a culture where we’re not a minority was a huge thing for us. Also the culture of saying good morning/afternoon/evening when someone passes is very different to London life. The church we attended, Mount Carmel Baptist Church also had a lot of impact both on the local community and beyond.

How has living in St Kitts affected your views on living in the UK?
LM: Being there helped me to understand why my parents, particularly my late father from Nevis was the way he was, and meeting members of my family that I’d never seen before really gave me a foundation and sense of belonging. Also seeing how the UK has prospered from our parents leaving their own countries has created a heart in us to want to return and somehow give back to that island.

How did living in St Kitts impact you spiritually?
PM: We connected with the local church and the older children also connected with the youth group there. There is a God fearing remnant of believers all over the island. Broken homes and gang related violence are quite high there but these issues and the benefits of a strong family were regularly tackled over the pulpit. I left with a greater sense of the need for churches to impact the community they are in.


CARIBBEAN SCENE: Locals shopping for fruit and vegetables

Do you think you’ll go back to St Kitts for good and if so why?
PM & LM: Absolutely! That is one of our goals and something that we’re very seriously looking into. We can be a blessing to the country and knowing deep down there are people that don’t want “our sort” in this country (UK) its a win-win situation.

What’s the future holding for the Mayers family?
PM & LM: The future is open to what God has for us, but we want to prayerfully keep raising our children as best we can, with His strength. And complete Lisa’s music project that has been on pause for some time!

■ To learn more the Mayers family and their time in the St Kitts visit: www.philmayers.com

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