The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is still mourning the loss of four of its young members after they drowned at sea last week.
Chavar Lewis, 31, and Duran Bryan, 30, of the church’s north region and, Joseph Anderson, 26, and Karanjah Gayle, 26, of the central region died at sea in two separate incidents one day apart.
According to police reports, Chavar and Duran of the St. Ann’s Bay Adventist Church died on Dec. 30, 2018, at the Silver Sands Beach in Duncans, Trelawny after both got into difficulty at sea. They were attending a birthday celebration for a member of their congregation. The bodies were recovered soon after.
News of their deaths plunged thousands into mourning, as both young men were stalwart members of the St. Ann’s Bay congregation and the St. Ann Adventist Youth Federation, in North Jamaica Conference (NJC), serving in the areas of pathfinder and music, among several other ministries.
While the church in Jamaica grappled with their loss, news came in that two other young men, Karanjah and Joseph, went missing while swimming at the Frenchman’s Bay Beach in Treasure Beach, in St. Elizabeth, on Dec. 31, 2018.
Both Karanja and Joseph were members of the Beverley Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester and students of Northern Caribbean University. Joseph was also a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). Karanja was studying communication while Joseph was studying computer information science.
According to police, Joseph’s body was recovered at sea a day after the incident, while Karanjah’s body was spotted by the Jamaica Coast Guard meters away from where Joseph’s body was recovered. However, divers were unable to recover Karanjah’s body due to “threats posed by sharks.”