'Only Jesus can bring real freedom'
HALSE HALL, Clarendon:
Only the word of God will be enough to reclaim the young people and restore balance, not only to the community of Halse Hall, but the society in general. Evangelist John F.K. Martin, of the Seventh-day Adventist Central Jamaica Conference concurs: "The only thing I believe will ever reach young people is the gospel. It must be preached unto them in spite of the popular trends in the dancehall and the glitz and glamour that is before them. The word of God is more powerful than anything else," Martin told Family and Religion.
Pastor Dexter Dennis Jr. also shares the same view. "The Church has a real challenge reaching out to young people because they prefer to be entertained rather than to be ministered to. What the Church has to offer is different from what the world has to offer. The Church offers salvation, but anything the world offers is futile and it comes easy. The Bible says we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of darkness," said Dennis.
He laments that the Bible and the principles of the Church are not to be seen as restrictions that will tie down persons, but rather to set them free from the things of the world.
Dennis further explained to Family and Religion that too many persons believe that doing their own thing by going to parties make them free which in fact isn't freedom, but slavery to this world. "The acceptance of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will bring true freedom," he said.
THERE IS HOPE
"As a young person, one has to remember that anything at all you're going to do in life take sacrifices. Serving Jesus Christ takes sacrifice and it is not something that you just get into, but you have to stay in when you get in. Day by day you have to pray and ask God to help you to move forward. There is hope regardless of crime and violence," he said.
The community of Halse Hall and its environs has been recently thrust into the spotlight with the brutal killing of a young woman who hails from northern Clarendon.
Martin said a crusade which was planned months in advance for the community is of great importance at this crucial point in time. "We are at a high point where there is a negative backlash from the death of the young lady in the community. One week before the crusade was scheduled to begin, the young lady died so this crusade comes now to soothe the minds and souls of the residents," said Martin.
The community has welcomed the idea of the evangelistic campaign which lasted three weeks in May, with nightly services Sunday to Wednesday.
This evangelistic series is said to be different from the usual ministry-type activities, during the days there will be skills training such as sewing, plumbing and baking etc. "We're not just here to preach the gospel, we want to show people a practical side to this ministry. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a uniqueness about it where it has given a commission to go out and preach, teach and baptise men and women who are in this dying world so that they will make it to the kingdom," said Martin.
Dennis explained, "What we're doing in this community is to show the people, young and old, that there is a better way. The dancehall doesn't have the answer, crime doesn't have the answer, no one has the answer except Jesus and that's why we are here taking the message to the people in this fashion." 'The Way to Life Crusade' is touted to be one with a difference, since the team from the Central Jamaica Conference in association with the Halse Hall Seventh-day Adventist will not only be preaching the word of God, but will be offering counselling and financial management.