We had a guest this week and would like to share his thoughts with you.
Written by Chuck VanDeweel: On June 24th 2022, I embarked on a trip to Jamaica to visit with Pastor Rex Harmon and his wife Jan. My goal was to understand the challenges of evangelizing in one of the poorest areas of Kingston, Jamaica called Trench Town. I honestly had no idea what I was about to experience.
Pastor Rex and his wife Jan moved to Jamaica 25 years ago being called to minister, preach, teach and evangelize in Trench Town. They started out initially by holding services under a shade tree, moved on to a tent structure and over time, they we able to purchased land and a building structure allowing them to hold services and began to draw local residents to the newly founded Baptist Church.
They established worship and Bible study time on Sundays, a women’s Bible study on Tuesdays and an Awana program on Wednesdays. At one point they had regular attendance of over 70 men, women, and children with over 25 of them being members of the church.
Throughout their mission in Trench Town, Rex has discipled many men and put them in positions of leadership and Jan has ministered to the children and the women of the community. Their service consists of traditional Baptist praise and worship, Bible verse recitals, a Gospel message followed by Bible Studies.
Unfortunately, it only takes one local gang event to scare all attenders from attending. This happened oWen over the years and is currently in effect now. Once the civil unrest settles down, some of the parishioners return but most are fearful of being caught in a gun fight. Yes, even in the church. These events also impacted the men whom Pastor Rex discipled and through threats and fear, most have left or disappeared.
At one point, they had a thriving youth group but over time, as these youths turned 18, many were recruited in their local area gangs. For them, it was basically a choice of joining the gang or being driven out of their home or even worse, threatened with their lives and even the lives of their families.
This can be very discouraging but Pastor Rex said to me, “Chuck, if we can lead one soul to Christ, it’s worth it”. Pastor Rex and Jan shared many stories with me and they have both been in harms way many times but the Lord has protected them every time. I can honestly say, “Only by the Grace of God”.
I’ve only spent a week in the Trench Town mission field and there is so much more to say that I could probably write a book. As pastor and I walked the streets of Trench Town passing out tracks and invitations to church, most of them knew pastor Rex. As we drove through the town many waved and some shouted, “Pastor” as they waved. Suffice it to say, Pastor Rex and his wife Jan continue to sacrifice their lives and their time to further the Kingdom of God and lead the lost to seek Salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please keep Pastor Rex and Jan Harmon in your prayers and pray for the people of Trench Town for them to turn to Christ for Salvation.