Native Trinbagonian| SDA Christian| Educator | Administrator | Currently retired.
Jonathan Straughn was born in the Island of Trinidad into a small, closely-knit family. When his mother became a Seventh-day Adventist, she moved her family to the Maracas Valley where she could find consistent support for the new lifestyle she had chosen to adopt. Over the course of time, she met and married a widowed Adventist itinerant pastor, blending her family with his.
These decisions were to prove fortuitous and life-changing for Jonathan. It helped to shape his attitudes and values and put him on the trajectory to success. He developed the common touch, learned to problem solve, quickly adapt to change, and to make and sustain friendships and alliances. These skills were to stand him in good stead when, after graduating from College with a theology degree, he embarked on what was to become a thirty-six year-long career in developing productive, student-focused learning environments. Jonathan became well acquainted with all phases of education, ultimately serving as Principal in two of the most demanding, culturally and linguistically diverse urban public school systems in the country: New York and Atlanta.
Even as he was involved in assisting children in highly transient circumstances, helping families and students through difficult and volatile situations, managing a large staff, Jonathan developed a keen interest in Special Education. He pursued doctoral training in the administration and supervision of Special Education. Retiring from the public school system, he became the Director of Children First Educational Consulting Agency for the past ten years.
In 2016, Jonathan became involved with a loose confederation of Trinbagonian Adventists whose aim was to provide a safe resting space and create opportunities for Trinbagonians/Trinbago-Americans. He was tapped to organize a convention for 2017. Jonathan brought into the sphere of the confederation several persons to assist with this job and the Convention was very well-received. In due course, the then chairperson of the federation encouraged Jonathan to take the meeting chair. By December of 2018, the federation felt that the group was ready to be formalized and Jonathan Straughn was elected its first president.
Under his leadership, the organization continued to grow and attract new members. It formally became known as the Trinidad and Tobago American Association (TTAAA) and was incorporated in 2019 as a 501(c)3 body.
Jonathan is married with one daughter.
Native-born Trinbagonian | Elder | Educator, Special Education
A firm believer in God's power to restore His image in every human being, Gracelyn King sees the mission of the Trinidad and Tobago American Adventist Association as one of the many platforms to express this belief and is determined to use her expertise and years of experience to help make this a reality.
"I believe this can be achieved if every individual has an equal chance to learn, speak, and survive in this world. We can do it together!"
Rose Brandon Lowe was born on the beautiful Island of Trinidad and grew up in the southern coastal village of Erin. As a child, Rose dreamed of going to the US to live. In 1987, Rose made her first trip the New York, fell in love with the Big Apple, and has lived there ever since. She attended Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, NY where she obtained a baccalaureate degree in Accounting and currently works for the State of NY. She enjoys sports and traveling and loves spending time with her grandchildren.
Rose has been a member of Lighthouse Tabernacle in Brooklyn for the past 32 years. Blessed with two sons - Kevon Hills and Nigel Brandon, and three grandchildren - Kam, Owen, and Quinn - who are her pride and joy, Rose feels
privileged to serve as its current AY leader. She is dedicated to instilling in the youth in her care the understanding that comes from her favorite text, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Rose sees herself in the future assisting troubled youth. "TTAAA gives me the opportunity to make a difference and be part of creating a lasting impact on the lives of Trinidadians."
Auldith Abraham, CPA | Fundraising Committee, TTAAA, Brooklyn, NY
Native Trinbagonian | Seventh-day Adventist Christian | Auditor | Business Owner| Mother
Auldith Abraham was born in the beautiful island of Tobago. She had her beginnings at the Canaan SDA Church. She is currently a member of the Rogers Ave SDA Church (formerly Trinity). Auldith is the mother of three adult children. In her professional life, she has been employed as an accountant for 34 years and works as an auditor. As a Certified Public Accountant, she owns the accounting practice, Auldith Abraham, CPA: Tax and Financial Accounting. Auldith is a member of TTAAA because she believes in connecting with her roots, giving back, and assisting people both in her home country and in the country she now calls home. Auldith hopes she will continue to be an important asset to the organization as it works to advance God's kingdom.
ASSISTANT TREASURER / ASSISTANT SECRETARY
Chantel Powell, BSc
Native Trinbagonian| First Generation American| Seventh-day Adventist Christian| Senior Accountant |Wife |Pathfinder & Adventurer Director | Member of Majestic Heights Steel Orchestra | Avid Reader |Loves Outdoor Pursuits
A life-long Christian, Chantel Powell attends Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Church where she functions as the Pathfinder and Adventurer Director, assisting young people in their social, mental, educational, and spiritual development. She is an avid reader enjoying non-fiction titles such as “Think Learn Succeed” by Dr. Caroline Leaf, and “Mind, Personality and Character” by Ellen G White. A vibrant young woman, Chantel finds the time to incorporate Adventist health principles in her very busy life through her outdoor pursuits - tennis, riding, and swimming. She also enjoys the steel pan (the national instrument of Trinidad & Tobago) and is a member of Majestic Heights Steel Orchestra.
With so much on her plate, why has she signed on to the mission of Trinidad and Tobago American Adventist Association?
“Being a proud Trinidadian, joining the association brought an added sense of purpose and meaning into my life journey. The ability to bless others and volunteer your time for the good of your birthplace is an endeavor worth participating in. One of TTAAA’s founding purposes is to be a vital and active part in bringing change and aid to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. I am proud to be a part of this association where I see the hard work and dedication of the members of the community that wants to bring joy to the people of the beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Native-born and bred Trinbagonian citizen| Life-long SDA Christian| Mother| Wife| Registered Nurse| Avid reader & Family historian |US citizen.
“As a believer in the power and blessing of gratitude, I became involved in the Trinidad and Tobago American Adventist Association (TTAAA) because it provides a unique opportunity to give back to the communities that invested in me while investing in, and advocating for, the future of those who are coming behind.”
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
President & Co-founder of VOP Global Network and VOP International| Gospel Performing Artist| SDA Christian |Husband |Father
Wayne Johnson was born in the land of Trinidad and Tobago. He has 18 albums to his name. He has traveled extensively through the Caribbean islands and the United States, sharing his passion for Christ through his gift of singing. He has sung alongside Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Shirley Caesar, Israel Houghton, JJ Houston, Charles Jenkins, Wintley Phipps, Lynda Randle, and others.
Wayne is the president of Voices Of Praise Global Network along with co-president Cora Williamson. Voices of Praise Int'l is an international gospel television radio station in Brooklyn, New York that streams over the Internet and Roku, and can also be heard on the radio.
Wayne Johnson is married and has two children. His goal is to win the lost at any cost for the kingdom of God.
ASSISTANT PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
Second Generation Seventh-day Adventist | Ordained Elder| Church Organizer| Husband | Father.
A native son of Trinidad and Tobago, Eddy grew up in the Central zone of Trinidad and Tobago and is a product of the Longdenville SDA church in Trinidad. It was there he developed his talent for ministry in the area of evangelism, youth, family life, and music. Eddy remains as faithful in ministry as he has for almost three decades, working for SDA churches in the Queens/New York area, while at the same time, demonstrating the rich East Indian cultural heritage of his native land. He is currently involved in Agape SDA Church under the leadership of Pastor Kevin Mohammed - another son of the soil.
Eddy's fervent desire is to continue to spread the gospel to win souls for God's Kingdom. His passion for the Gospel mission and a desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Trinbagonians and other members of the community fuels his involvement in the Trinidad and Tobago American Adventist Association. His objective in his own words: "Bringing unity and strength developing bonds and assistance to my homeland as I make the gospel a reality for all people."
Eddie is married to Maggie and has two beautiful daughters - Eden and Savanna.
EVENTS COORDINATOR / ASSISTANT PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
Native-born and bred Trinbagonian citizen| Life-long SDA Christian| US citizen.
Delia was born in Brooklyn, NY and proudly represents her parents- Errol and Daphne Tracey(deceased) who were born and raised in the borough of Point Fortin, Trinidad, WI.
Trinbagonian Native | SDA Christian
Hyacinth Sequea-George grew up in Cocoyea Village, San Fernando, Trinidad. During her childhood, her mother became a Seventh-day Adventist, and Hyacinth began attending the local church Seventh-day Adventist church. It was here that Hyacinth learned about Jesus and came to accept God as her Creator and Savior. It was also at Cocoyea Church that she fell in love with serving the people of her community, whilst working alongside the women of the Dorcas society (now Community Services). As an Adventist Youth Leader, she enjoyed the ability to organize itinerant youth services.
In the late 1980s, Hyacinth migrated with her family to the United States. They temporarily settled in New York, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia. Having a great appreciation of the importance of Christian fellowship, she has always made it a priority to be a part of a church family wherever she is. In Atlanta, she attended the Berean Seventh-day Adventist church. She later settled on the Belvedere Seventh-day Adventist church as her local church family. She has since returned to New York, where she now resides. Kingsboro Temple of Seventh-day Adventist Church is presently her home church.
Given her passion for people and talent for organization, it was not long before she was recommended to the TTAAA as a person who could assist in helping the organization reach its goals and she has been with the organization ever since.
"In 2018, I was encouraged to participate in the planning of the Trinidadian and Tobago Adventist Association convention. The experience was so amazing - the food, fun, and fellowship really took my mind back to Trinidad. I then made a conscious decision to continue to be part of the Association as long as the opportunity exists."
Native Daughter of the Soil | Young Adventist | Wife | Mother | Grandmother | Businesswoman
Margaret Barclay was born in Sangre Grande, Trinidad and migrated to the United States forty years ago. She is the proud owner and manager of Elite Passport & Visa Services LLC. She loves her husband, Stanley, her daughter, Natiba and her grandson, Aiden. A recent adherent to the faith, Margaret is thankful to God for bringing her into His fold and serves as one of the TTAAA's Fundraising Coordinators. She truly loves this association and its Mission.
“I have been a member for the last two conventions [since 2018] and am now embarking on my third. I enjoy the comradery of my fellow members and joyful banter at our meetings. My dedication to Christ Jesus can be clearly seen in the areas of this ministry.
Chrystolene Shade-Rolle grew up in McBean, Couva, on the Island of Trinidad. In 1984, she attended a series of evangelistic meetings and accepted the Lord. Thus, she became a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist church, following the pattern set by her grandmother just two generations before.
Chrystolene attended the Caribbean Union College, now the University of the Southern Caribbean, and attained a baccalaureate degree in Business Education. She stayed on at the College, where she worked in the President’s Office, The Office of Marketing and Development, College Press, and College Health Foods before migrating to the US in 1999.
She began working as a clerical instructor for Individuals with Disabilities and became motivated to commit herself to the field. She enrolled in Hunter College, New York, and graduated with a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling. She now works with the New York State Education Department as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Chrystolene remains an active member of her local church, functioning in its Women’s Ministries Department and Sabbath School.
Ever purposeful, Chrystolene joined the Trinidad and Tobago American Adventist Association because she wants to be a voice for change.
ASSISTANT EVENTS COORDINATOR
Annette David, MSc
New York State Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist | Native-born Trinbagonian |3rd Generation SDA Christian| Advocate for Christian Education
Annette David was born in the borough of Point Fortin, Trinidad. She is a third-generation Seventh-day Adventist Christian and considers this a priceless gift. She credits her Christian education and a lifetime of church service the pillars for her success. The joys and blessings received from her lifetime partnership with her Savior is the reason she is committed to serving in the Trinidad And Tobago American Adventist Association.
MS. David is a New York State Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. As an Early Intervention Specialist, she has the privilege of working with many families and treasures the satisfaction of influencing lives, facilitating positive outcomes, and sharing Jesus Christ with the families she serves.
Annette feels favored because she considers herself blessed with gifts and talents which she has dedicated to use in God’s vineyard. She enjoys cooking, specializing in vegetarian cuisine, interior design, and has her own sense of style in dress.
Annette takes her relationship with God very seriously. She says, “With the promise of victory and Divine grace, this earthen vessel is committed to serve, imitate the heart of her Savior and plans to spend eternity with Him.”
ASSISTANT MUSIC COORDINATOR
Native Trinbagonian| SDA Christian | Musician & Lover of Music| Occasionally dabbles in song | Auto Buff| Husband| Father|
A proud son of the soil, Michael Griffith was born and raised in Pointe-a-Pierre, Trinidad. In the Griffith household, “Music was the first meal”. Being of service to others was expected. During his early childhood, Michael's parents became Seventh-day Adventists, and their family counted among the pioneers of the Marabella SDA church.
From an early age, Michael was taught music by his mother and functioned as one of the pianists/organists for the church. He also served in the Adventist Youth Department of the church and taught music in his teen years. Today, he plays several instruments, including the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago – the steel pan. He enjoys arranging music and the occasional dabble in song. He also developed a love for automobiles and found he had a talent for car repairs and restoration.
Michael migrated to the USA in the early 1980s. He settled temporarily in New York and started his family before moving to Memphis, Tennessee. Over time, he opened his own business as an automotive technician. He soon became part of the fabric of his local church. His passion for music and desire to get the youth of the church involved led him to start a steel band orchestra there. His steadfastness and dedication to service at the church culminated in his ordination as a deacon. He continued his service there until he returned to New York where now resides with his wife, Joanne in Brooklyn.
Michael volunteered to assist the TTAAA during the planning of the Convention of 2018 and stayed with the organization since.
"I believe the TTAAA has promise and wanted to use my skills to help it get there."
Pastor Samuel Chapman
Pastor | Chaplain | Teacher | Mental Health Counselor | Administrator | Public Health Educator | Adjunct College Lecturer
Dr. Chapman has utilized his many years of experience in support of young people, families in distress, the bereaved, and the mentally ill. He is passionate about the empowerment of all people and has a practical concern for their mental health and wellbeing. The TTAAA benefits from having such a strong advocate who encourages young people to explore opportunities for education and training necessary to build up and train the culturally diverse leadership of tomorrow and live for Jesus.
Chennie Sampson Baird comes to us from the twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago. More specifically, Tobago, where her home village is the culturally rich Moriah. During her early years, she attended the Moriah SDA Primary School and went on to attend Bishop's High School. Chennie spent many years in the corporate world in the areas of Banking, Insurance, and Law, among others.
From the earliest years of life, being an Adventist and being upstanding in the religion were precepts drilled into the consciousness of her siblings and herself. From her youth and as she matured in the faith, She held various positions in the church. She maintains that her most thrilling and best leadership fit was, and still is, the Adventist Youth (AY) Department.
Chennie counts it a privilege to be associated with the TTAAA over these past few years. She readily lauds, “I thank God that, in spite of the many mountains, He has enabled me to be courageous and though physically challenged at times, to be an example in His work.” Her persistent prayer is that this Association will be an unrelenting Light Bearer in these last days of earth.
Pastor Earl Baldwin
Native Trinbagonian| SDA Christian| Evangelist| Husband| Father
Born in Siparia, Pastor Baldwin grew up in Princes Town on the island of Trinidad. A graduate of Caribbean Union College, he embarked on his career as a pastor and evangelist with the South Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In the late 1970s into the early 1980s, he was the first local pastor to produce a Seventh-day Adventist television broadcast. This broadcast, “Uplift” utilized and showcased the talent of many young Adventists across the twin-island nation. Pastor Baldwin also served for a short time as the Youth Director of the Conference. Many young people were motivated to make a career of using their God-given talents in ministry as a result of his work and example. It is no wonder then that his daughter is a Social Worker in Maryland, and his son is a Pastor with Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
The call to other mission fields came as it invariably does. Pastor Baldwin answered the call – ultimately migrating in 1990 to the United States. He has worked with the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists since. He now lives with his wife in New York and currently pastors the Philadelphia SDA Church in the Bronx.
Despite leaving the home that he loved, Pastor Baldwin continues to maintain contact with Trinidad and Tobago. He readily assists with efforts to sustain the wellbeing and improve the lot of Trinbagonians at home and in the United States. Of this, he says, “I left home, but I never left home.”
It was out of such efforts the Trinidad and Tobago American Adventist Association was born.