A few days ago I received a letter from one of the members of the churches of Jamaica associated with Rev. Frame. Having been in Jamaica and knowing the struggle that most of these families have to survive from day to day, this letter made a strong impression upon me. And therefore I will copy it here for you to read:
“Dear Rev. Hanko,
Greetings in the precious name of Jesus, our soon coming King.
We wish we could see you again in our midst. And, please, sir, how is everything over there? Pastor Frame told us in our church that you are moved to another place. Now, sir, I am putting this matter to you now in Jesus’ name. I put it to pastor Frame first and he told me to hear from you if you can help. So I am sending to ask you if you can help me to get a little work over there. I am asking you, sir, if you can seek the way to take me over there, for the government said that the only way anybody can go over there is that he must have somebody in the States to help him. I am asking you, sir, both you and your wife, Mrs. Hanko, and the other brethren to help me in Jesus’ name. For if I stay here I cannot help my family and my church, because we fret too much for something. If God does not stand on our side we die. For, sir, we did thank you all for what we did receive here year before last. For while I am writing you now 1 have on one of the pants Rev. Frame gave me, our pastor. God bless you and heaven shine upon you all, I will find the fare to come, sir, but am depending on you and your wife and the brethren to seek the way for me. Remember, sir, I came down to the yard where both of you were staying. How hard it is here to get work. Some depend on stealing, but I can’t do that. God forbid. Thou shalt not steal. Psalm 6 says that there is no repentance in the grave, we must have repentance before we die. If we did have work here so many people would not go I to England to seek work there. So, sir, I am asking you to seek the way for me. God will bless you, Please take good care of yourself and your wife, Mrs. Hanko. God bless you all. I am, Alvado Johnson.”
All of us are very well aware of all the problems involved in sponsoring someone to our country. We also realize what this would mean to this man if he were compelled to leave his family in Jamaica and seek work for himself here.
But I wonder whether something cannot be done for him and for many other needy families in the churches of Jamaica. Especially at this season of the year, how better can we express our thanks to God for all his unspeakable gifts of grace in Christ Jesus, than to help those of whom Jesus said, “The poor ye have with you always?” Repeatedly our churches are looking for some channel through which they can carry out the ministry of mercy and make use of their benevolence funds. Isn’t this a splendid opportunity to do just that? And in doing so we are only following the example of the New Testament church in the days of the apostles. “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” See also I Corinthians 16:1-3.
I would suggest that if our Mission Committee or some diaconate take it upon themselves to prepare a gift for the churches of Jamaica, Mr. Meulenberg, or one of the Mission Committee, who are acquainted with the needs and the circumstances there, be sent to supervise the distribution according to need. A small amount for each needy family can supply them with necessary substantial food for some time. And thus we can relieve somewhat the heavy burden that many bear in a land of poverty.