Some time ago we informed our readers that approximately $3,000.00 was deposited in Barcleys Bank in Jamaica, an amount collected by our churches to be used for the poor. Some of this amount was distributed by Rev. Heys and Mr. Feenstra while they worked there last summer. Distribution of the balance however, awaited further decision by the deacons of Hudsonville in consultation with our emissaries.
After prayerful consideration, Rev. Heys was instructed to write a letter and enclose a check for 40 pounds or $96.00 which was to be sent to each of the 21 churches that are affiliated with the Protestant Reformed Churches of Jamaica. These checks were made payable to the minister and elder or deacon of the church. They were instructed to consider the needy in their congregations and use the money for the widows, sick, or needy entrusted to their care.
Nine of these churches have replied to date. We consider it proper to share some of the expressions of gratitude for this help given in the name of Christ to those who are our brothers and sisters in the faith. Since all our people have contributed towards the poor in Jamaica, these expressions should likewise be forwarded to all our readers.
Rev. J.E. Frame of the congregation at Lucea responded, “I have received all the moneys you send . . . I was to bring all the Deacons of the churches (5 of them) to the Barcleys Bank here at Lucea to get the checks cashed, so then I had to go to each congregation with the Deacons and Elders to discuss the matter how the money should be divided. The money was divided among the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the widows. They were very glad. I could remember seeing them hold up the money they received and say, thank God, thank God for the Prot. Ref. Church . . . . There is a young man in one of the churches here in Jamaica interested in getting in the ministry, his ambition is good, and he is very much intelligent, what should I do about such a matter?”
A brief excerpt from a letter received under the signature of Deacon Dahey of the Galloway church, “To all the Ministers and Elders and Deacons of the Prot. Ref. Churches in America. Thank God we the Elders and Deacons of the Prot. Ref. Churches in Jamaica. We are sending you all our greetings. Hoping the Lord’s Blessing to all and our brethren say to tell thanks for what the Galloway Church has received, 40 pounds, and we have shared it among the brethren in the church and every one says thanks for the help.”
Deacon Theophilus Davidson of the Fort Williams” church wrote, “‘We hope and trust that God may richly bless you in all your labors and that we may live by the rules of the church and be obedient, that we may be able to receive all the benefits that you and the brethren from the U.S.A. desire to give unto your poor brethren in Jamaica.”
The representative of the Santa Cruz church, Deacon. Binns wrote an interesting letter. “Sincere greetings to you and the family also the brethren of. the Prot. Reformed faith of the U.S:A. Pastor .Heys, the thanks that we the brethren in Jamaica and of the Santa Cruz church can give you is life everlasting, we cannot name the brethren name by name. But the good Lord knows the sincere prayer that has gone up to heaven for you and your family also the brethren of the Reformed faith. Rev. Heys we have returned you many thanks for the wonderful donation that you have sent to us by Rev. Rudduck, he also take it to us and gave it, to us tonight. Rev. Heys, we the brethren of the Santa Cruz church are very happy to have Rev. Rudduck in our midst because God chose him to take over the church, we can also see the difference in the church. Rev. Rudduck is a true man of God. One thing I can prove for myself is that if the good Lord willing for you to come back to Jamaica which we the brethren of Jamaica Prot. Ref. Church would love to have, Rev. Heys, to live in Jamaica with us. Dear Rev. Heys we pray that the Lord from heaven will ever bless the Prot. Ref. faith of America unto us, let us work in one love Pastor Heys, we are trying to have a rally in our church in Santa Cruz in view of installing electric lights in the church. Our rally will be on the last Sunday of December, we need the lights badly, because the stilly lamp is giving plenty trouble and the light is so near the church as you know. Dear Pastor Heys, we are working very hard to build the Reformed faith in Jamaica, as strong as how it is in America. I know by the help of our soon coming Ring He is going to give us what we are praying for. Rev. Heys how health fails me, I decide in my mind to work for Christ, I would also love to reach at that Pleasant Place that He has gone to prepare for us all and I would love to be there, but I know it calls to sincere work. May God’s richest blessings be bestowed on you all.”
From Deacon Spence of Shrewsbury congregation came this expression, “Sirs, we do highly appreciate your kind hospitality in sending us this great help. We do take great pleasure by saying ‘thanks a lot’. Although we were a little doubtful to ask your help to us, we can see where God’s Word never fails. He said when we are in need of help He will send us help from afar. Sir, this money was divided among widows, and the needy ones that cannot work, those who the church has to bear their burdens. We now close with the richest blessing of God to you and a lot of thanks for your kind help to us all.”
Elder Leslie Johnson responded in behalf of the church of First Hill Lucea, “May I say happy greetings to you and Lady Heys. Also the brethren in Christ. In the precious name of Jesus, sir, thanks very much for the money which you have sent to us. I have received 40 pounds from you through the hand of Rev. Frame. Sir, I and he went to the bank and got it changed then I distributed it the best way I think. I gave to the sick ones, the widows, and all who I see in great need. Sir, we express our gratitude to you all in the name of our Lord and Master and trusting that we will live in the same faith and love until our soul is called.”
Finally, Elder Wright expressed thanks on behalf of the Reading Church, “Holy greetings to you and all the brethren of the Prot. Ref. churches in America. We are ever giving thanks to God for the Reformed faith which brings the truth to us here in Jamaica . . .” We divided the 40 pounds as follows, to 3 sick, 4 pounds ten shillings each, to five weak ones, 2 pounds 10 shillings each, to other ten, 1 pound each, to other eight, 10 shillings each. God bless the Mission Committee hoping by the help of our God this Reformed truth goes throughout the world.” Elder Sluece of Latium concluded his word of appreciation by saying, “We pray that the Lord will bless every cheerful giver, hoping that you will come to us in Jamaica soon by the help of the Good Lord.”
We trust that these excerpts will encourage our people to remember the cause of benevolence in Jamaica. Almost all money collected to date has been distributed.
The following items concerning Jamaica may be of interest to our readers:
1. The Standard Bearer is now being sent directly into the field. Rev. Frame receives 5 copies for distribution, likewise Rev. Ruddock 4 copies, while 16 copies are sent directly to the readers on the island.
2. The Reformed Witness Hour tapes are being sent to the ministers and replayed to certain congregations.
3. Rev. Heys is presently corresponding with the Ministry of Home Affairs concerning the required “work permit” for our emissaries who travel to the island. Evidently there is no obstacle in securing them.
4. First Church of Grand Rapids has been instructed to prepare a trio from the gross list submitted to them by the Mission Committee. The purpose for this is to call a missionary to labor full time on the island. Since this is of interest to all our people, we should likewise remember this need before the throne of grace in our congregational prayers. The work is definitely limited if not hampered without such a man. May God provide the churches of Jamaica with the man of His choosing.
5. Plans are being considered by the Jamaican subcommittee to send emissaries to the island prior to the next Synod: Details of this still have to be worked out.
6. Often times the question is raised by societies and individuals concerning a specific need in Jamaica for which they can contribute money. There is of course the need for church buildings (this is being handled by our Synodical treasurer, C. Pastoor). Any specific use of this money awaits a decision on securing the land, a matter being taken under advisement with a retired judge, Mr. Graham who lives in Kingston. The care of the poor constitutes a large and persistent need. This is being handled by the Deacons of Hudsonville Church. There still is need for more Bibles Psalters that can be distributed to various churches. If it is desired that money be. designated for this purpose, contact Rev. Heys who knows where they can be sent. Finally, it was suggested that a fund be started for covering the cost of educating future ministers. Attending high-school on the island requires more money than these young men have. Besides; it is possible that they could attend school in Kingston for some of their instruction in languages. Perhaps Sunday Schools could consider contributing to this fund or even Consistories designating the catechism collections for this purpose.
Work on the home front is also progressing.
First of all, the sub-committee on radio broadcasting is investigating the entire set-up of broadcasting. Of primary interest is the station WNAX of Yankton. Synod decided to instruct the Mission Committee to investigate whether this station is a good investment. To determine this the Consistories of Hull, Doon, Edgerton, Isabel, and Forbes have been contacted for advice. This investigation is of interest since the present set-up absorbs the entire amount of money allocated by Synod for radio work, thus preventing any addition of new stations in “virgin” territory.
The Mission Committee decided to request Southwest Consistory to release Rev. Lubbers for work in Pella for a six week period beginning in January. This is to be followed D.V. by Rev. H. Veldman laboring there for six weeks, Rev. C. Hanko for the next six week period and finally by Rev. D. Engelsma for the next six weeks. The idea is to have these brethren labor in a consecutive period of time, thus allowing for preaching every Sunday, lectures during the week, catechism instruction for those who have children. The Lord is blessing this work, for also in Pella he adds daily to His church.
We conclude this report by expressing thanks to God who lays it upon the hearts of our people to be busy in this work. This task is demanding. It takes great resources to be able to do even a “little” in this vast calling of bringing the truth to those who are outside the sphere of our own church home. Yet, the King of the Church provides for us. He gives our ministers the strength to give much time and energy to carry on this work, both at home and abroad. He lays it upon the hearts of our Consistories to release ministers in order that they may focus their full attention on the needs of these people; even their elders and deacons must bear the additional burdens of the local congregations themselves. He places zeal within the hearts of all our people to gladly contribute financially and prayerfully for this work.
May God so bless this work that His church is gathered and thereby His holy name glorified.