February 16, 2017
Jamaicans Enthusiastic about the Gospel
From the Superintendent's DESK
A team of eight from the United States recently returned from Jamaica where they spent ten days visiting the saints among our churches there. Those who went were Mark Worthington (pastor in St. Louis, Missouri) with his wife, Rosemary, and family members Mikayla Worthington and Chris, Jillian, and Julianne Luka (all from Portland, Oregon). Deborah Brenner (also of Portland) and Esther Oyedokun (of Chicago, Illinois) joined as well.
The team arrived on Wednesday, January 18, and were met by Calvin Palmer, the Jamaica District Superintendent, who would accompany them throughout the trip. That evening, they attended a service at our Kingston church. They said the congregational singing was enthusiastic and the testimonies inspiring. One woman told how she had been in great pain while getting ready to attend church that evening, but had faith that God could heal her and He did before she even left the house. Our missionary group provided testimonies as well as several vocal and instrumental music specials. Then Brother Mark preached from John 10:25-31, saying the Lord’s sheep know His voice, and He will lead them as they follow in obedience. A sweet prayer service followed.
The next day, our team traveled to Castleton for an evening service. They said this congregation also sang enthusiastically, worshiping with their whole hearts. The sermon was taken from 1 Corinthians 13:12 where Paul said, “For now we see through a glass, darkly.” It was brought out that the closer one gets to the Lord, the more He reveals Himself to them.
After the prayer service, everyone stayed to exchange greetings and visit. The younger members of our team gave out candy, and Brother Mark said the older saints enjoyed it just as much as the children. He also commented that “though we were from different cultures, we were one big family in the Lord, and had a good time together.”
On Friday, our group attended the service at our Springvale church and said the saints greeted them with warmth and love. The congregation sang great and seemed thrilled with the music specials provided by our younger missionaries. The message was on the Word of God as a sign post. An analogy was made between a driver on a remote country road getting lost and needing a sign post to point the way, and of Christians who look to the Word of God to continue in the right direction. A good prayer meeting followed the service and then there was a time of fellowship.
The Sunday morning service took place at our Jamaica headquarters church in Christiana where Brother Calvin is the pastor. The saints were very welcoming to our missionary group and introduced each one, allowing time for brief testimonies. The local choir, looking bright with the women wearing matching yellow jackets, provided several song selections. Brother Mark preached about grace, using Romans 3:23-24. He told the story of John Newton, who had been a wicked slave trader, but found grace when he repented, and later wrote the greatly loved song, “Amazing Grace.” After the prayer time, a large table was set up and a fried chicken dinner was served. Our team said the fellowship and food were wonderful.
For the evening service, our team went to Albert Town. The congregation there has outgrown their small church, and another was in the process of being built around it. Visitors from the surrounding area were in attendance, making the need for the new building even more apparent. Our group said the building, the landscape, and the saints were beautiful. One woman testified that when she couldn’t find a job, she went without dinner for a week and was downhearted. Then she prayed and God lifted her spirits as well as helped her get a job. Brother Mark preached on putting on the whole armor of God, using the text of Ephesians 6:13-14. Following this, there was a great time of prayer, and afterward fresh plums were shared with our group as well as cacao seeds straight off of the tree.
On Tuesday, our team attended a little church nestled on a hillside at Croft’s Hill. They said the congregation was small, but very special. There was a sweet spirit throughout the service, and many victorious testimonies were given. One woman testified that the Lord healed her of cancer. Another told how God prevented a scorpion from stinging her. A third said she was with another woman who suddenly lost control and began screaming. With prayer, she was calmed and remained that way for the rest of the time they were together. The message, taken from John 3:16, was on God’s love. Brother Mark said another wonderful prayer service followed in which everyone was blessed by God’s love.
For the Wednesday service, our team went to Spanish Town on the coast. They enjoyed stirring singing and worship as well as encouraging testimonies. One woman testified that when she was a young girl she had looked forward to doing worldly things as an adult, but then God saved her and took those desires out of her heart. A man who testified wondered at the fact that “God cares for me—little me.” Another woman said she had been attending church regularly when she went to the altar one day feeling that she needed more of God. He showed her that she was not saved, and when she opened her heart in repentance, He came in. The message, taken from Malachi 3:6, focused on being changeless or steadfast in a changing world.
The last church visited on this trip was the Pike church. The service again was marked by praise in the song service and testimonies of victory. One woman testified that God had been her Healer, Provider, and close Friend through difficult times. Another woman said she should have died, but God saved her life. One man told how he had been bedridden, unable to move for two weeks, but then God answered prayer and raised him up. Taking his text from 1 Corinthians 13:13, Brother Mark talked about the murkiness and silence found in the depths of the sea. He said that as one goes toward the light, sight and sound become clearer. He said in the same way, Christians must follow the light of Jesus to know the way to Heaven. Another good prayer meeting followed the service.
Upon returning home, Brother Mark commented that our team had been warmly greeted at each location and felt the love of the saints. He said of the fellowship, “Though we came from different backgrounds, our hearts were united in Jesus. If we never meet again on earth, we know we will see our Jamaican family in Heaven.”
(Mouse over the image to click through the album.)