Thus far we gave you part of the report of the emissaries to Jamaica of 1968. In that report the days from June 25 through July 7 were treated and now we continue from there as the labors shift to the western end of the island, some 100 miles away from Islington. We kept in contact with Rev. Elliott and his churches, however, as will soon become plain. But it emphasizes a statement which we made on several instances of reporting to different groups. If the Lord would give us the men, we could use three teams, one in the Lucea area; one in the Westmoreland area and St. Elizabeth district, and one in the east around Islington, Port Maria, Fellowship Hall, and by all means Mahoe. The report now continues.
Rather than weary you with too much detail, but to show you that we had a rather full schedule, let us list the work of the weeks in broader steps. Monday we returned to Lucea to the place that we had arranged for on our first visit there. We got our first mail that day since leaving home. We had left June 24, and now it was July 8. While we were eating our somewhat impromptu evening meal, for the electricity went off while preparing the meal and while things were only half cooked, Rev. Frame came with a telegram from Grand Rapids. The clothing would arrive at Kingston somewhere between July 11 and 16. So we decided to move back to Montego Bay the next day if we could find a place. We had expected the shipment to arrive much later, and it did; but we had no way of knowing that at the time. We were told in the telegram to wait for the papers; and these we expected to receive shortly after July 16. We did get a place in Montego Bay, the same place as that of last year under a different arrangement. We had tried to go there from the start but were told, before we left home, that they would not be able to have us because they planned to add a second story to the building and would close up the entire villa. But they were delayed in their building. program, which now fell through till the next year. And so the Lord provided us with a suitable place for the rest of our stay on the island. On Wednesday, July 16, we had a service at Johnsontown and Thursday one at Waterworks. Both services were enjoyable. The morning of Thursday was spent again in an act of mercy. We got Rev. and Mrs. Ruddock from Porters Mt. to bring them to the eye doctor for an examination. We gave them bus fare to get back home, but the bus was too late in the morning for them to keep their appointment with Dr. Margetson. On Friday we investigated customs at the Montego Bay airport, where the customs offices were located. They advised us not to go to Kingston for the clothing when it comes but to contact the railway company and to have them take care of the details and to ship it to Montego Bay by rail from Kingston. They also informed us that we were working without a permit, and instructed UI to apply for such next time.
We were in Lucea Sunday and witnessed a Sunday School class led by an elder. Rev. Heys preached on Lord’s Day XXIa in the morning to a very attentive audience. It seems as though this congregation is able to grasp the deeper truths more quickly than some of the other congregations. After going down hill for lunch and up again we began our informal afternoon meetings. We got on top of the hill just before a very heavy downpour of rain fell. Because of the noise or the tin roof, we were not able to hear each other speak until after the rain stopped. We then played the Hope Herald’s tape (Their contribution to the work consisting of instructions in regard to learning to sing the Psalter numbers), having played the Mission Committee greetings already on June 26. We then discussed Psalm 23 with the brethren and sisters. We were happily surprised that morning to find that most of the Reading congregation, where we had been the Sunday morning before, had traveled all the way to Lucea to be at the services. They said that they again enjoyed the discussion on Psalm 23. The evening sermon by Rev. Heys was based on Proverbs 28:13 and was well received.
Having received another $1,500 from the Hudsonville diaconate we traveled to Lucea Monday to deposit it in the bank. Rev. Heys had the task that week of getting a Standard Bearer article in the mail, and the one, “Blest with Hunger” was written. The mid-week services were at Mt. Lebanon—high on the mountain again—and Shrewsbury. The sermon at Shrewsbury on John 1:12 received an enthusiastic response from Rev. Frame and much reaction from the audience. Wednesday we had gone to see Mr. Graham, a retired judge, about the legal aspect of the church buildings. He agreed to help us, and we already sent you his advice. Friday again was an errand of mercy. The examination revealed that Mrs. Ruddock needed an operation on her eye—and in six months on the other one—to preserve her sight. We got them and brought them to the hospital, waited till after the operation was over and then drove them back home. They do thinks differently in Jamaica; and she was eager to be back home with her children. We also gave them money for the medicine to be applied to the eye. The operation cost $25 and was paid for out of a sum that Rev. Heys received from a member of First Church in Grand Rapids to spend on the poor. The medicine expenses came out of the collections from the Poor Fund. Hearing nothing, and now it was July 20 already, about that shipment of clothing, and receiving no papers yet we went to the railway company, and they suggested that we go to Kingston to inquire there. We planned to go on Monday.
Sunday we spent with Rev. Ruddock at Fort William. The morning sermon was well received, but the evening sermon was not. The audience was simply worn out—as we surely were—of Sunday School in the morning and a service and then a long drawn out Sunday School in the afternoon before the evening service, without anything to eat or drink since noon. The hard seats did not make it easier. We were almost too weary to drive the hour and fifteen minutes home.
Because of our weariness the night before—which the heat of the next day did not remove—we decided not to go to Kingston that day. And since it is an all-day drive up and an all-day drive back, and since we had to be in Santa Cruz for a service Wednesday evening, and Santa Cruz is on the way “back from Kingston, we planned to go Tuesday and make it all in one’ trip. As it was Rev. Elliott came over Monday morning and Rev. Frame Monday afternoon to see us. We were glad that we did not miss them and make their trips in vain. On Tuesday we did leave for Kingston and with an added reason. A certain Rev. Brown of Kingston, Saint Andrews, had written Rev. Heys inviting him to a conference to be held in Kingston beginning August 18—the day we had our farewell service at Lucea. He had gotten Rev. Heys’ name off a pamphlet of the S. Holland Church Publication Committee, which sends regularly 25 copies of each pamphlet to the three ministers in Jamaica to distribute. Rev. Heys’ daughter forwarded this letter to him just in time for our trip to Kingston. Because of his interest in us, we decided to visit him. We did not find him home but told his wife that we would stop in the next morning on the way home. We then looked at manifest after manifest of the shipping companies trying to locate the clothing. A broker offered his services, and we took his name and address in case we would need him. He advised us to go back home, since we could do nothing until we got those papers. On Wednesday we did visit Rev. Brown who seemed very sincere and desirous of affiliating with us. We promised to send him some literature so that he might know more of us and of our doctrinal stand. The service at Santa Cruz was held with a quiet but attentive audience while Proverbs 28:13 was treated for the sermon text. Thursday’s service was at Grange Hill. This is one of Rev. Elliott’s congregations but is served by Rev. Williams. The congregation listened attentively to an exposition of Revelation 22:12. Very good contact with the people was established early in the sermon and kept throughout. Last year we had a very enjoyable service here, and again this year. Friday we went to see Rev. Ruddock upon receiving a letter about a woman in his congregation at Mt. Lebanon who needed an operation. We gave him money to take her to the doctor in Savanah Lamar for an examination.
Sunday, July 28 we will never forget. We left “home” at 6:45 A.M. to be at Hope Hill for a river baptism at 8 A.M. of 8 young women and one young man. We then had to climb by foot, and at times it seemed almost like on all fours, for 20-30 minutes up a steep grade and winding trail where the church was located. Sunday School was first and the sermon did not begin till well after 12 noon. We got down to our car about 2:15 and quickly ate our packed lunch and then left for Belmont. Here we discussed Psalm 23 finding it simple-enough for them. We have a recording of this group discussion. Some very enthusiastic responses were obtained in the evening service. And we arrived home about 9:30 P.M. after a tremendously busy and eventful day.
Tuesday we went to Cave Mt. for an evening service. Here as well as at Hope Hill we were disappointed in the reception of the sermon. Rev. Heys preached at Hope Hill in connection with that river baptism on Lord’s Day XXIa, but the people were so weary of all the walking to and from the baptism and the lengthy service from 7 A.M. till almost 2 P.M. that they could not listen, and we were very weary ourselves. At Cave Mt. it was, perhaps, the text, which for them was too doctrinal. It was II Corinthians 5:21, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” These children need milk and are not ready for solid meat with few exceptions. We all were somewhat blue about the events of Sunday through Tuesday evening, wondering what went wrong. But Thursday evening we were again greatly encouraged by the response at Galloway. The text was more on their level. It was the miracle of Jesus stilling the stormy sea. The text was Matthew 14:22-33, and we have a recording of the sermon on tape. The service scheduled for Wednesday evening was called off due to the heavy afternoon rain. Rev. Elliott met us at the bottom of the hill and warned us not to try to climb it. The people themselves likewise were not able to come to church. Earlier in the week, it was Tuesday, the papers of the shipment of clothing came in the mail. The shipment had arrived on Jamaica Provider at Kingston the 27th of July, which was 11 days after that date of July 16. So Friday we went to the Railway Company and arranged to have it brought to Montego Bay. A few days later we paid the broker’s fee, the wharfage fee and the over-time penalty which begins shortly after unloading. This is unavoidable, unless one lives in Kingston and gets the papers on time.