Organizers said it was one of the biggest conferences they’d had in a long time. Over 500 people filled the auditorium (which seats 400) and spilled over into the overflow section downstairs, as pastors and laymen crowded into the meeting hall to hear what Ken Ham had to say about the relevance of Genesis to the moral and social challenges overwhelming their island country.
The Association of Independent Baptist Churches in Jamaica had asked Ken to share his unique message at their annual conference, 21 October, at Montego Bay; and Ken says the response was thrilling:
“I met a teacher from a Christian school who told me he had been to my recent talk in Pensacola, Florida, and after coming back, he said his school was going to completely redo their Bible curriculum, throwing out the old material, which teaches the Bible as just a bunch of ‘stories,’ and teaching their students how to defend their faith in the real world. That’s the message that all these people got from what I said. They want to change their Sunday school curriculum to show how the Bible is relevant to problems today.
“AiG’s new Sunday school curriculum was very popular with them, and I believe it’s going to have a great effect on their churches. A number of the pastors came to me to say how they appreciated our ministry and how much it would revolutionize the teaching in their churches.”
At the pastor’s conference there were also many young people, who were already excited about the creation message-they’ve been hearing it from Carl Kerby, who has spoken several times at the summer youth camps run by these churches. The literature that Carl distributes has given these young people answers to their questions regarding evolution. Jamaica is little different from the rest of the world in this regard-the universities teach evolution as fact and it is beginning to be taught in high schools by teachers who do not always understand the corrosive impact that evolution has on young people.
Ken shares this sad example: “One young man came up and told me how his geology professor at the university had intimidated any students who might believe in creation-on the first day of class, he spent a few minutes on the creationist view, dismissing it as foolishness, and then he spent the rest of the course teaching evolution. But our materials helped keep this young man on the straight and narrow.”
“One of my greatest burdens is to get good books into the hands of Christians,” Ken says, “But in Jamaica poverty is terrible. During my visit, we didn’t want to give away the books because free books aren’t treated as valuable-we wanted the people to read them and take care of them. So we asked the pastors what people could afford, and we markedly reduced the prices to make them affordable. People bought lots and lots of books, and even at the subsidized prices, people purchased $170,000 worth of books in Jamaica dollars ($3,400 US)!”
“I also did a radio interview on a secular radio station before I left Jamaica,” Ken reports. “One of the main things that she asked me was how AiG’s ministry was relevant to the moral collapse in Jamaica, which is suffering from terrible violence, particularly in Kingston. I was able to share on radio how schools in Jamaica are doing the same thing that’s happening in America, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries-they’re taking generations of kids down a hopeless path, teaching them evolution, teaching them that they’re just animals, throwing God out of the system and encouraging more and more godlessness.
“Even though there’s more freedom to teach about God in Jamaica, the schools are heading in the same direction as America. Young people see no basis for meaning and purpose in life. And, by and large, the churches teach the Bible as a bunch of stories, separate from the world today. So people don’t see how the Bible is relevant, and people no longer have a basis for morality. I was able to answer those sorts of questions on secular radio-what a great opportunity!”
Ministering in Jamaica is a great privilege-but it also has some interesting challenges. On the day that Ken spoke, the temperature was a scorching 95° F (35° C), and humidity was about 100 percent. The building had no air conditioning (because they can’t afford it), and the heat shut down Ken’s PowerPoint projector. “I had to set up a fan to cool the projector for the next session,” Ken says with a smile.
Please pray that the message about the Creator/Savior would take root in Jamaica and turn this formerly “religious” nation back to God!
Jamaica is a wide-open field for ministry. Currently AiG is helping to train a local pastor, Devon Linton, to share the creation message with his own people. “My teaching ministry has changed a whole lot since I have been associated with AiG,” Devon reports about some recent ministry opportunities in Jamaica.
“God moved in a mighty way during a recent week of teaching with some young people. I chose to speak about the foundations of how we all think about spiritual things and the purpose of life, and I took the time to lay building blocks in a careful way. A counselor had kept on warning me that the kids” hearts were tough and that they would be a challenge.
“Having laid the foundations, however, I saw the Lord work by the end of the week, and on Friday morning a number of kids walked forward and received Christ. I personally had the privilege of leading two young people to Christ (one in particular had serious questions about the creation/evolution issue-she actually had gone to some counselors with the questions and they reported that she was being difficult).
“With the understanding the Lord has given me through AiG, I spoke to her after listening carefully to all of her questions and fears-ascertaining where she was coming from. It then took one-and-a-half hours to show her, beginning with Genesis, who God is and what He does and did, and why we need to trust His Word and not man’s opinions. She was overwhelmed with joy when she discovered that God has always been there and has always been in control of every event in the history of the world.
“This was her explanation: ‘Pastor Linton, I have never heard it [the Gospel] explained this way before and it now makes sense.” She then gave a testimony at our bonfire service where she encouraged other young people to trust the God of the Bible. Her name is Jamila. Please pray for her spiritual growth. I gave her an introductory AiG pack since she had no money.”
Praise the Lord for what He’s doing in the world with His Word … beginning with Genesis!
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