A church attendance problem.
A video projector.
A VBS leader.
A vacation in Fort Lauderdale.
How could we reach the men of Jamaica? Where could you find men? They are usually hanging around bars, playing cards, playing dominoes and smoking ganga (local term for marijuana).
Should we try to get them to church or bring church to them? We chose the latter. In 2008, we purchased a video projector, an outdoor portable movie screen and decide to take Christian movies to the streets – specifically targeting bars and gambling establishments. Did it work?
Well, we noticed that if the “Jesus Film” was showing, people watched, they stopped gambling and they get quiet. Sometimes, we would have over 150 people stand outside and watch a movie. Many if not most were men. Did it work? That was a question we would ask ourselves many times.
Move forward to the summer of 2015. Amy Luther and her family travel to Jamaica on one of our mission trips. Amy, two of her children and a couple of other missioners conduct Vacation Bible Schools in 5 locations – four of them in very remote rural locations – like Old Pera, Barking Lodge, Airy Castle, and Johnson Mountain. These were hugely successful!
Now to November 2015. Amy, her husband, Mark and her parents go to Fort Lauderdale Florida for a vacation at a resort. Her story:
“All of the staff at the resort had name tags with their first name and where they were originally from. At check out, a young man had Jamaica on his name tag. His name was Desmond. I asked him where he was from. He said “eastern, Jamaica”. I said, “wow. I recently went there on a mission trip”. He said “great, but you would never know this place. It is in the middle of no-where”. He finally said the nearest community was called “Barking Lodge”. I told him I actually conducted a vacation bible school at a church in Barking Lodge. I then asked him how he got to the US? He said about 6 years ago he was near Port Morant and there was a group playing Christian movies in the streets. He got to talking to “an outspoken elderly white haired man” who told him he had options and choices he could make with his life. His mother was a prostitute and he was dealing in some drugs at the time. He said about a week later, he decided to travel to Kingston and stay with and uncle and get a job and try to go to school. He did and went to a hospitality school and two years ago came to the US to take this job. He is 20 years old. At the end of our conversation, he said he forgot to ask me what group I had traveled with to Jamaica. As I begin to say “Isaiah 6:8”, he says “that old man was with Isaiah 6:8”. He came around the counter and hugged me and said “thank you for going and thank God for that old white-haired man for sending me to Kingston”. He said that verse stuck in his head and is why he moved to Kingston.”
God demands that we sow the seed. He causes it to grow and the harvest is His, but it is nice to know that some seed bore fruit!
Update – last week, we spent two days while in Jamaica getting the street movies back into operation.