Driving home from Houston, there were tears in my eyes - tears of joy over the success of our work, tears of sadness over no longer being able to be with our brothers and sisters in Ocho Rios. Bottom line, it is one thing to send money to a missionary field, it is totally quite different to meet the folks face to face that you are working with in your effort to spread the marvelous Good News of Jesus Christ. The people come alive. The Lord’s work takes on a personal meaning; you can really get into evangelism on a personal basis.
It is only a three hour flight. Go to Jamaica and your heart will never be the same. You will meet the people we support. Cecil Shaw, minister of the congregation in Ocho Rios, is a gentle man with a tremendous knowledge of the scriptures. Sister Shaw is elegant, hard working and always at his side. Sandra Brown is a dynamo of energy, always ready to set up a Bible study.
There is no shortage of song leaders to inspire the members. One of their song leaders has the unique name of "Happy." Brother Happy’s song leading was inspirational. Before each message, we sang for 45 minutes. The singing was joyful and done with much spirit. After each sermon, brother Shaw went over the points that were made by Pat, Alfred, Dave or me. Six individuals responded to the invitation Sunday morning and two responded on Sunday evening.
On Monday, Alfred and I walked the streets near the church building with our fellow brothers and sisters of Jamaica setting up Bible studies. Pat went with brother Shaw in another direction while Dave went with sister Shaw to conduct a Bible study. I was impressed by the large number of teens who attend the services. (Maybe our teens could write them a letter of encouragement.) Pat gave the teens two soccer balls and they plan to take them to their youth camp.
Time after services was spent in fellowship with the brothers and sisters, taking pictures and discussing plans for the next day. These people are well grounded in the scriptures. When you begin quoting a scripture in your lesson, they finish it out loud and end it with a hearty "amen!" The brothers and sisters at Ocho Rios are not "babes feeding on milk" as the Hebrew writer states in Hebrews 5:12-13. They are well grounded in the meat of the word, Hebrews 5:14.
Do you want to know what poor is? Come to Jamaica with me and I will show you! But they wear their best on Sunday. And when we had to leave to return to Victoria, they all came up to shake our hands, give us a hug, and say that they would remember us in their prayers. I know that we were just as inspired by the work as our brothers and sisters in Jamaica were – perhaps even more.
Looking for a nice resort to relax in and to unwind? Try Sandels in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay. Looking to work in the Lord’s vineyard? Consider working with the brothers and sisters in Christ who worship in Ocho Rios. You will be tired each night. You will have no problem going to sleep. We would usually return to our hotel and go to the restaurant around 10 in the evening. Anyone for some goat for supper? (OK, they also have hamburgers, but they do drive on the "wrong" side of the street!) "No problem man!"