When God does a work, it’s powerful and often ongoing. Such has been the case the second week of ministry in Jamaica. With Judy McReynolds’ arrival, ministry never missed a beat.
Wednesday morning witnessed the opening of a “new door” for ministry. The team had tried for years to minister in the Montego Bay, Freeport Jail, but never to any avail. Members had often witnessed to inmates in Lucea, Negril, and Bethel Town, but never in the larger Montego Bay facility. After placing a number of unanswered calls to the Lucea jail, the team finally thought to call the former superintendent of the Negril jail, almost as an act of desperation. Although she hadn’t worked at that facility in 2 years, Nadine was extremely helpful in placing the team in direct contact with the key individual over the Montego Bay region—her adopted mother. Following their introductory meeting, Ms. Williams gave the team free access to evangelize and leave bibles and toilet items with the inmates.
The visit to the holding wing of the unit almost defies description. Neither the cloud of flies, nor the heat compared with what the team met within the iron gate. A long corridor housed a combination of teenage boys, women, and the most hardened of men. Terms such as “dark,” “hot” and “overcrowded” do not do descriptive justice. With the bulk of the 32 young men pressed hard against the iron bars separating them from Judy and Michael, the Good News was preached and roughly half of their number prayed to receive Jesus Christ. Bibles, toiletries, and even partially filled personal water bottles were distributed to the flock of hands reaching through the bars. The experience was both glorious and heart-rending at the same moment.
Wednesday night at the Hopewell church marked an occasion too few in life will ever experience. Approximately 15 believers were present. Following a couple of praise songs, a short message was shared. For the next 90 minutes or so, individuals came forward for Michael and Judy to pray for prophetically. Roughly 5-6 minutes of specific and personal information about each individual’s life—matters that God desired to address which only the recipients knew—were brought to light. Nothing embarrassing was ever spoken. Smiles and tears of acknowledgement were in great supply that night. With the meeting concluded, Judy and Michael returned to their quarters nearly exhausted.
One other aspect should be noted. When she arrived on the island, the Lord spoke through Michael to his sister, “The Lord is going to show you many things about the peoples’ lives while you’re in Jamaica. This is for your training and the beginning of how He will minister through you in the future. You won’t need to contemplate what you see or hear—you’ll simply know matters and boldly share them. When your brother speaks prophetically, you’ll know what he knows and mirror his thoughts as he thinks them. In this way you’ll know God is speaking to and through you.” This very word was fulfilled in the Wednesday night meeting in Hopewell. Only God could assure such a fulfillment. Afterward, Judy shared “Many times I found myself finishing your sentences.” In truth, that’s exactly what she did–audibly–on several occasions.
Thursday evening was a night set aside for an evangelistic street meeting in Granville. There had been nothing but high expectation among all interested parties which included local ministers, but then something happened. The bishop in charge went to Kingston and left another individual in charge. In brief, the meeting failed to materialize. Instead, the team was left to look forward to a rescheduling for the next night. The bishop, also the Justice of the Peace who would issue papers allowing the event to be held on the street as previously planned, approved the Friday night public meeting. The only remaining problem was where to find a place with electricity for the PA system. But as Michael, Judy, and Cornel were eating dinner, contemplating matters of the night’s meeting, something uneasy was present. None of the 3 sensed a peace over holding the meeting. Strange as it was, they decided to cancel the event. Something simply wasn’t right. What it was will likely never be known, but there’s a time to trust in what you feel–especially if it might be God’s warning.
Saturday was slated for a visit to the “dump.” The actual name of the unofficial living community is “Retirement Recycle Facility.” Dilapidated cars, scrap metal, and heaps of rejected discards were everywhere among the many scattered and improvised homes and other odd structures. In the midst of such things were 2 churches that outwardly reflected the conditions of their environment. The mission team fared well enough until they approached the actual landfill where they witnessed humans and carrion-eating birds competing for the same scraps of food scattered across the daily discarded heaps of rubbish. Although the “dump” would not be on the agenda for this trip, everyone knew they would return to minister to the community on their next return. Cornel all but guaranteed there would be church services in one of the churches. He knows the pastor.
Sunday morning was a powerful time of ministry. Judy and Michael returned for one last visit to the Hopewell Christian Deliverance Center. Following a time in the word, Judy ministered to an overwhelming group of about 30 individuals that came forward to either accept Jesus Christ or be reassured of their existing salvation. Michael then spoke words from the pulpit describing situations in individuals’ lives for the purpose that those to whom the words were directed might come forward to be prayed for and prophesied over. Time and again he would begin an announcement with “There’s a person here who . . . .” Every specific word had a specific recipient and once the individual came forward to be prayed over, the process would begin again. God cares so much for His people that He’ll call out situations in their lives so they can know that through missionaries from thousands of miles away, He can address their needs and concerns.
Sunday afternoon the team of Cornel and Maggie (the team’s Jamaican hosts), Judy and Michael visited the Montego Bay jail for the final time. This time they brought a PA so those incarcerated in the back-end of the facility might hear the Gospel. As the door behind them slammed shut, the guard at the desk was overheard to say, “These are really hardened criminals.” While Cornel and Judy shared the word over their allotted 20 minutes, Michael couldn’t help but associate what he saw with the closing chapters of the Book of Revelations. What a perfect illustration. At the desk where the principal guard was stationed was the largest ledger book he’d ever seen; measured in terms of about 2 feet in height by 3 feet in width. He was instantly reminded of Revelation 20:20, “books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (NASU) As team members continued to preach, he listened to the sounds emanating from the visibly dark women’s cell; “I wanna go home” cried one tormented soul. Others soon joined in with their heart-rending moans. “Could this be a fore-taste of what the torment of Hades is like?” Michael wondered. By the end of their visit, the missionaries were visibly moved by their experience but at least some of the unseen souls were heard to express a desire for redemption.
Monday morning was was a particularly difficult day for Michael. Shortly after he had arrived on the island 2 weeks earlier, Michael was visiting with his host when an old friend called the villa just to say hello to the owner. Once finished with her conversation, she handed the phone to Michael who then had his own visit with the caller. But throughout the visit, Michael felt from deep within there was something very wrong with his friend and inquired so several times. No matter how hard he pressed, he couldn’t pin the matter down. Several days later his friend arrived on the island, himself to do ministry work, but the paths of the 2 men never crossed. Then on Sunday night, Michael discovered his friend had been living a double life. Unexpectedly, everything he’d been feeling was validated by witnesses that knew the man and shared matters they had seen. Michael’s fears had been realized! That same night, his friend was staying in a rented house with his island girlfriend; someone Michael personally knew. He had no choice but to confront the man by phone, who immediately became incensed he’d been discovered. A denial, followed by theats, comprised the man’s response. After several intense minutes, the conversation was over. The 2 went their separate ways. Let it be known, God will not be mocked. No one can escape exposure forever. Michael did what he had to do. Confrontation–no matter how much we wish to avoid it–is sometimes necessary if we are to follow the dictates of Scripture.
The 2 week trip to Jamaica was magnificent. God worked through His servants. The devil’s pre-trip attacks failed to halt the works of the Spirit and the zeal of His servants. Healings occurred. Prophetic ministry was “off the scale.” Salvations took place. In reflection, God has been glorified. The team eagerly looks forward to their next Jamaican encounter.
 Hades is the place where the departed souls of the damned now reside. Hell receives its victims following the final judgment when bodies and souls are re-united at the final resurrection and are cast into everlasting torment.
 Some months later, the former girlfriend called and texted Michael asking him for assistance in putting relationship related matters with the man behind her.