Saturday, June 15th saw the annual Mutual Improvement Day in Kingston, Jamaica. Believers from all over the island travelled by mini-bus for up to three hours to meet together in the Kingston ecclesial hall. The day was well supported, with over sixty brothers and sisters present.
After enjoying some snacks together, we heard from four young men and brothers who were tasked with giving a short talk on pre-selected topics. The theme of the day was The Cross of Christ and Our Cross. After each segment there was opportunity for the audience to share feedback, critique and encouragement. This attitude of growth impressed me — ‘good is good, but we want to grow and be better’.
In the afternoon, we divided into groups to discuss topics relating to Christ, His ministry and death on the cross. We then presented a summary of our discussion. The overall message and lesson of the day was clear — Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has an incredible power. It is a call for us to change, to sacrifice and deny self, to take up our cross daily, and follow him.
After sharing a delicious Jamaican spread of rice and beans, goat curry and chicken, we all gathered back in the hall for the final presentation of the day. Bro. Don Luff (Canada) who was visiting for the weekend spoke on the theme, Ye are Bought with a Price, from 1 Cor. 6:20. We were further exhorted to examine ourselves and think about the impact that Christ’s sacrifice has on our everyday life. Who is reigning in our life? Are we serving self or God? Are we moved to serve out of a deep gratitude for everything God has done for us in sending His son?
One of the highlights of the day was the hymn singing session, for which I was pianist. We sang hymns I knew well, and some I’d rarely played. There’s nothing like sharpening up your sight-reading skills by being put on the spot! Everyone was united in praise to our God. The words of hymn 395, sung with renewed enthusiasm, brought tears to more than one eye:
Joy cometh! For the Lord doth come, To wake the song that now is dumb! All righteous tongues shall find employ, In songs of everlasting Joy!” (Hymn 395, v4)
It was an incredibly uplifting day of study, fellowship, praise and encouragement and really highlighted the brothers’ and sisters’ desire to unite around the one thing that is most precious in all of our lives.
Visit to Port Antonio
We had an opportunity to head to the north side of the island to visit with the sisters who live there. We stayed overnight in Port Maria, before driving another hour and a half to Port Antonio, to visit with Sis. Enid Hall who is 97 years old and lives in isolation. Despite suffering with poor health and being partially blind and deaf, Sis. Enid is an incredible inspiration to us all with her love of the scriptures. Sisters Alissa, Sandra, Shauna and Pauline joined us from Port Maria for a morning of fellowship around the emblems and discussion around 2 Peter 1&2. Sis. Alissa’s daughter, Athaliah, stole everyone’s hearts with her spunkiness, despite taking a good two days to warm up to us! I was particularly impressed by Sis. Enid’s joy and her unwavering trust for God to provide all her needs, whatever her situation. I only wish we lived closer so we could visit her more often.
Our trip has been a whirlwind so far, but we’re slowly getting our heads around which name belongs with which face, and who goes to which ecclesia. Most ecclesias only have one or two brothers to lead, so any visitors that can give classes are very welcome. The generosity of brothers and sisters despite, their own struggles, is extremely humbling. We visited a brother in Round Hill who was adamant we take home three watermelons, even though they are in the middle of a very dry season which has caused their farming to suffer. It’s become evident to us in the little time we’ve been here that there is an incredible need for support, both ecclesially and for those living in isolation. If mission work is something that you’re considering, pop down to Jamaica, even if you can only give a week. Even a short time makes a difference, and the brothers and sisters will certainly welcome you with open arms!
Written by Sis. Cilla Tuckson, residing in Jamaica for several months