Jamaica 2018 – Stephen Megarry
I first heard about the possibility of a trip to Jamaica in early 2017. My friend Colin Tinsley (of Hope for Youth Ministries) had pastored a small Church in Little London, Jamaica 17 years ago. Colin shared with me that he had a vision to return to Jamaica with a team to speak in Public Schools and reach thousands of children with the good news of Jesus. It sounded like a brilliant trip but I didn’t feel that my gifts lay in ‘kids work’ so I tried to push it out of my mind. Over the course of several months as I read and prayed the Lord challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, to go and to rely fully on Him.
I landed in Montego Bay on the 14th of January as part of a team of 9 people. All schools have a time of devotions at assembly before school begins each day. They sing, recite the 10 Commandments and read the Bible together.
A typical day:
I got up at around 5am for morning devotions with the team. We had a quick breakfast then into our 17-year-old minibus to travel to the schools. Colin drove us around the country and dropped each of us off at the different schools we were going to speak at. The school assemblies typically started around 8am. I would then talk to the children and explain a little about what Northern Ireland is like; I would share my testimony and then taught the story of Zacchaeus before finishing with an object lesson and prayer. The schools ranged in size from a few hundred to 2000 pupils. We would then leave Colin’s colourful children’s tracts for each of the children before departing. After the assemblies Colin would drive back around and collect us all. Then we would move onto another area, stop at schools and ask if we could speak at the assembly the next morning. Even though it was short notice, we were never turned away. The teachers were so eager to have us along to share with the kids. After a long hot day on the road in our rickety bus we would return to our accommodation; go for a bite to eat; have team devotions and go to bed early, only to do all over again the next morning.
During the 2 weeks we spoke at 56 schools and reached over 20,000 students.
I also had the unique opportunity of sharing the gospel to around 100 police officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Each morning, they have a 10-15 minute Bible devotion and prayer time before their briefing begins. I shared with the first shift, and then I was asked to stay on and share with the second shift. I was also so delighted to be asked to travel to another town where a regional police meeting was taking place, there I shared the gospel at that meeting and spoke on “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 ESV
Throughout the trip I enjoyed being constantly pushed out of my comfort zone. I had to fully rely on God and cling to the promise that I could ‘ do all things through Him who gives me strength’.
Jamaica is an open door to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In God’s sovereign plan He has ordained that many of the Principals and teachers in the schools are Born Again. Their deepest desire is that early in life the students would come to Christ.
Jamaica has its problems like anywhere else in the world. While I was there, a state of emergency was declared in an area due to the high murder rate and gang violence. You can’t walk 100meters without people trying to sell you drugs and the majority of children in the schools we went to, came from dysfunctional homes. But I have never experienced a country that was so open to the gospel. Even the drugs dealers are open to discuss the gospel.
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Luke 10:2 ESV
I have discovered that in Jamaica and right across the world, the fields are white. Let’s therefore pray earnestly to the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest.
If you would be interested in a trip to Jamaica in 2019 please let me know.