The tears were hard to fight back as a huge emotional crowd gathered at the New Dimensions Ministries in Barbarees Hill, St Michael to say their final goodbyes to 16-year-old Savio Pedro Fergusson.
It was touching send-off fit for a young man who had his eyes set on becoming a civil engineer or a professional cricketer for the West Indies, before his life was cut short in the waters at Port Ferdinand beach in St Peter.
The teen and his teammates from The Alexandra School cricket team had decided to visit the beach on Sunday, November 12 after their cricket match at the nearby Coleridge & Parry School grounds was called off.
Police said he got into difficulties in the water and drowned.
This afternoon, family, friends, cricketers and Alexandra students morphed into one big family inside the church as they sought to console each other and come to grips with the young man’s passing.
Amidst the sadness, the congregation with whom Savio worshipped every Sunday for the past six years, including the day he died, remembered him as a boy who loved the Lord, as evidenced by the spirited praise and worship session, topped with an extraordinary rendition of How Great Thou Art by the deputy headboy of The Alexandra School, Ravon Ramsay, which brought the service to life.
There was no need for a sermon as his mother, Antonella Williams, who remained composed during the service, delivered a lesson for all in the eulogy, urging parents to raise their children according to the word of God.
“If we train our children in the way they should go and let them know that their ability is hidden in God without a shadow of doubt, when things like this happen we can still raise our hands and say, ‘God I love you’.
“When we train our children the way they are supposed to be, there is going to be less fighting, less chopping up and the kingdom of God will be strengthened because we have young men who are strong,” the grieving mum said.
“Parents, we have to understand that God is real and how we train our children is how they will behave; and we will have to face God some day and we want Him to say, ‘well done, faithful servant.’”
Despite having lost her only child at such a young age, Williams said she was thankful that she raised a Christian son who never denied his faith, while impacting many lives in such a short space of time, on and off the field.
“Today I don’t want to dwell on his young years. I want to dwell on the young man we know and shared his life, to be in here and see my prayers have been answered, that I brought a young man into this world who touched and transformed lives.
“At eight years old Savio gave his life to God. We were invited to service and he said, ‘mummy I hear the spirit of God calling me, I need to go to the altar’, and he went and he gave his life to God. And then at ten years old he was baptized. He was what God wanted him to be.”
She encouraged the young people present to “remember your creator in the days of your youth”, pointing out that “in the midst of life there is death”.
“When you have God in your young days, when calamity comes and difficult times you will have someone to call upon. In the midst of life there is death, so make God your personal saviour. I want the young people to know that with God you can get all things done,” she stressed.
As Savio’s sky blue and white casket was ushered out of the church, his Alexandra cricket teammates formed a guard of honour, before the cortege proceeded to the St Judes churchyard in St George for the interment.