Cooleys to Jamaica

Cooleys to Jamaica

Dear Ministry Partners,

A number of people have asked us what it’s like in Mandeville. Though it’s not the coastal paradise that we enjoyed in Ocho Rios, we are loving it, and you would too, if you liked rainy days.

Since we have only been here a few weeks and haven’t experienced other seasons yet, we can’t say what the heat of summer or the cool of winter will be like, but in the month of August it has rained about 4 days per week and the lightening is the most consistently intense we’ve ever seen. That being the case, whenever it starts clouding up, we get our computers unplugged ASAP and we take advantage of every sunny day to get work done on the property.

Because Tammy doesn’t enjoy the heat…at all, the consistently cooler weather has been especially enjoyable for her, and when she’s happy, we’re happy!

We have seen two adult visitors at church this month, but neither has returned for a second visit yet. Kinroy, a younger middle-aged man, caught my attention one afternoon as I was working on chopping down some of the shoulder high grass in the church yard. He asked if we had work we could give him. I explained we didn’t, and then began attempting to turn the conversation toward his relationship with Jesus Christ and, in particular, the importance of being prepared to meet Him face-to-face and, in response, he promised to visit church.

Such promises we have found to be very typical and the people of the church have informed us that they have learned neither to expect people who promise to come to do so nor people who visit once to return for a second visit. But Kinroy was good to his word, and seemed fully engaged during both the Sunday School and Congregational Worship hour. He hasn’t been back yet, but that he was convicted by the message was very evident. We’re really praying that that conviction will draw him back to make things right with God rather than drive him away because he hopes to avoid any more of it.

Though we’re a bit overwhelmed with the work to be done on the physical property, we’re trying to bite off a little at a time, spending as much time out of our apartment and among people in town as we can. We have made a habit of frequenting several places, including restaurants and stores, where we invite guards and cashiers to church, and attempt to strike up conversations with people wherever we go in the hope of finding an opportunity to share the Gospel or at least extend an invitation to church.

That said, if we were to specify a single prayer request concerning our very highest priority in Mandeville, it would be that God would give us a convert. We hear a good deal of religious talk here, but it doesn’t take a theologian to recognize that virtually all of that talk is simply a part of an empty system of superstition. In other words, it’s just talk without any connection to Biblical truth even among those who claim to be Christians.

One lady at Mega Mart the other night very proudly told me she was a faithful member of The Church of God in Christ as she was complaining about the high price of the bottle of whiskey in her hand.

That, we are discovering, is a theme in Jamaica. Few Jamaicans are interested in anything in life that requires serious personal investment, and several of those who do have expressed to us their personal frustration with the general apathy about things of real importance.

One of our ladies, who was born in Jamaica, but spent the majority of her adult life in England with her late husband, told us that she, and many other Jamaicans like her, are befuddled by the lack of seriousness, whether it involves spiritual truth or business.

You may be wondering what that has to do with church-building work. While the conversion of a sinner to Christ happens only when the Holy Spirit turns the light on in the sinner’s mind in response to the Gospel, the sinner must hear, believe, and call upon the Lord, and genuine hearing rarely happens in people who are determined not to be bothered with truth that might make them uncomfortable or change their lives in a direction they don’t believe they’ll enjoy.

Please pray, therefore, when you think of our ministry to Jamaicans, that God would put us and Jamaicans together who He will make serious enough, at least at the moment, to hear and be moved by the Gospel, whether at church, in a store, a parking lot, a restaurant, or on the street.

Thank you for the prayer we know you’re already investing in our ministry and please continue to pray most specifically that we will very soon see a genuine convert.

John & Tammy Cooley, Jamaica

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