Minister Marion Hall (formerly Lady Saw) Praises the God of Second Chances

Most Jamaicans know her as the ‘Queen of the Dancehall’. She has had an award-winning career as a master lyricist and scintillating performer, headlining countless shows locally and internationally. However a few years ago, the artiste formerly known as Lady Saw, turned over her life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Family and Faith Magazine connected with the former dancehall star who now goes by the name Minister Marion Hall which reflects her new mandate as a Christian artiste.

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Family and Faith Magazine: How have you changed since you committed your life to the Lord Jesus?

Minister Marion Hall: Praise Be to God, the God of second chances. I have changed in so many ways, but most importantly, I’ve changed for Christ.

Family and Faith Magazine: What have you been doing to keep growing in the Lord?

Minister Marion Hall: I’ve been staying in the Word, as the Holy Spirit had instructed me to do when I first got saved. I was also reminded in a vision some months ago, when I got distracted by family issues. My God directs my life.

Family and Faith Magazine: Do you ever feel tempted to go back to being Lady Saw? Why or Why not?

Minister Marion Hall: I have never. And will never be tempted to go back to do the work of the devil.  The reason is that I’m in love with the lord!!!! The second reason is that He gives me ‘the peace that passeth all understanding!!!’ And the last reason but not least, I never like that person. Lady saw that is.

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Family and Faith Magazine: Jamaica is celebrating 55 years of independence this year, If you had the power to change one thing about Jamaica, what would that be and why?

Minister Marion Hall: I would love to change so many things in our country.  But I don’t have the power. The ones with the power only looking out for themselves, while the poor remain poor, or die trying to survive. All I can do is pray for not just my country, but the world.

RELATED: OPERATION RESTORATION CHRISTIAN SCHOOL BRINGS HOPE TO THE NEEDY THROUGH THE KIND SUPPORT OF THE JAMAICA BROILERS GROUP

Family and Faith Magazine: You will be in Jamaica this August, tell us about where you will be ministering and about your latest project.

Minister Marion Hall: I will be ministering in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Savannah-La-Mar, and May pen. The dates are August 1, 5, 12 and 13. I will also be recording my new album with the “His Grace.”  On the 7th of October I will be ministering at the Montego Bay Convention Center. I will also be in Black River, Santa Cruz and Junction for December 7, 12 and 14.

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Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

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Jesus Lives in Jamaica!

I once heard the late renowned senior pastor, Dr. Myles Munroe joke (or maybe he wasn’t joking) that God lives in the Bahamas. I suppose he said that as testament to how blessed his homeland has been over the years. But if we were to go by the number of Jamaicans that associate themselves with a church as well as the number of churches in the island, Jamaica would definitely be the place where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reside!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Jamaica has the most churches per square mile of any country in the world. But then Jamaica is used to being among the best, highest, most or first: Jamaica has the fastest man and woman in the world, Jamaica’s reggae music is recognized across the world; Jamaica is recognized as the best place to do business in the region; Jamaica is among the top Miss World titleholders in the world (certainly is at the very top in the Caribbean); Jamaica has some of the world’s best healing herbs (especially its marijuana); Jamaica is now among the 10 most improved economies for doing business in the world and the list goes on and on.

So the fact that we have had the most churches per square mile isn’t too surprising. We tend to over-perform.

Established in the 1600s, the Church of England, which we know today as the Anglican Church, is said to be the oldest continuous religious presence in Jamaica. However longevity does not imply growth since according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, Anglican membership is among the smallest when compared to other denominations in Jamaica and furthermore it has been on the decline in recent years.

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On the other hand, the largest denomination in Jamaica is currently the Seventh-day Adventist faith with over 320,000 members. A Seventh-day Governor General and Prime Minister are therefore fairly representative of the population. Of course behind the Adventists are the Pentecostals, which number just under 300,000 followed by Church of God and the New Testament Church of God. Overall, irrespective of their associated denomination, it is estimated that some 77% of all Jamaicans identify with a religious organization, which makes the island, largely Christian, which then naturally means that ‘Jesus lives in Jamaica!’

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Seriously though, like Dr. Munroe, Jamaicans tend to feel like they are more God-blessed than any other country in the region or the world. Just ask any Jamaican about why predicted hurricanes somehow miraculously shift away from the rock at the last minute. Local meteorologists must get tired of advising that a severe destructive weather system is coming nigh Jamaica since at least 2.2 million people (the 77%) are going to fall on their knees and petition God to protect the island. And since they are His children, He will hear and answer. This has become such a thing that the other 23% (who don’t necessarily believe in God) started to question the veracity of the meteorologists’ methods and predictions about storms ‘coming to Jamaica’. It must be that the poor meteorologist is not so good at his job, is tricking us or is in cahoots with the private sector so that they can make more money from tin food, water and candle sales during the hurricane season, they surmise. Or, it could be that the storm simply naturally changed course which it sometimes is likely to do. For that 23%, those possibilities are more tolerable and reasonable than the idea that God actually hears and turns back or stops storms, as He had done in Mark 4:39. “Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

So if it is that God is hearing us pray and is sparing our island from natural disasters, why doesn’t He spare us from the scourge of crime and violence that continues to storm communities? Jamaica is known to be one of the most violent countries in the world. What a paradox: we have some of the happiest people, most beautiful locations, ‘irie’ music, best vibes, best sportspeople and yet we are among the most violent. Maybe we are too ‘spirited’ and I don’t mean in the Holy Spirit sense. Maybe we are too passionate intrinsically, so everything happens in extremes.

Or, maybe the 2.2 million intercessory massive don’t pray in desperation for deliverance from crime. Maybe we are not kneeling down on this issue because most of us are directly unaffected by violent crime. As horrible as crime is in Jamaica and the terrible reputation that Jamaica has developed as a country, most crimes are really only committed in pockets of communities in certain parishes. According to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank, victims of violent crime are concentrated in certain neighborhoods. “Living in a neighborhood with high physical disorder (graffiti, trash and abandoned buildings), low social cohesion (trust among neighbors) and a gang presence were all strongly associated with being a victim of violent crime.” So the entire island is not beset by the crime scourge, and that may be why the entire island, or at least the believing 77%, don’t seem to be bending their knees in desperation and begging God to intervene. But then how do we truly know that they do not?

Or, is it that crime is a social problem that involves the will, unlike a natural hazard which we understand to be largely an act of God? Is it that God would not so readily intervene when man’s free will is involved? And is it that we reap what we collectively sow in corruption of all sorts, abuse in families, father’s abandonment of children, mother’s sowing seeds of bitterness in their children, unforgiveness, poor parenting practices etc.etc.etc?

Or is the issue one of unity? We stand in unity when we pray against hurricanes approaching Jamaica. Not so much when praying about crime, if as individuals we pray about crime at all. There have been many marches and prayer meetings, but do we as professed Christians personally and consistently pray for the deliverance and protection of communities and the nation or do we typically only ‘cover our house under the blood?’ Kudos to Reverend Jeffrey Shuttleworth and the Tarrant Baptist Church (TBC) radio team, who have been using the airwaves to regularly and strategically pray and pull down strongholds of darkness all over Jamaica.

Certainly the crime issue is an area for genuine introspection and genuflection not only by the church but by Jamaicans overall. However, in all the devising and scheming that we must do to quell crime, I believe the church’s original mandate to save, redeem and disciple is the greatest deterrent to crime. Yes, we have some false prophets and sinful pastors that have muddied the church’s reputation but the overarching positive transformational impact of the church on the island cannot be hidden.

RELATED: OPERATION RESTORATION CHRISTIAN SCHOOL BRINGS HOPE TO THE NEEDY THROUGH THE KIND SUPPORT OF THE JAMAICA BROILERS GROUP

The church has made a significant contribution to Jamaica’s progress and prosperity over the years, particularly as it pertains to the development of education and social services. Most of the schools and charities in Jamaica were founded by churches. And if we agree with the late human rights activist and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela that “education is the greatest weapon you can use to change the world,” then the church’s investment in Jamaica’s education has been life-changing and nation-building. Indeed, if you add the number of churches and church-run schools operating in the island, you wouldn’t be able to deny that God’s hand is actively at work in Jamaica. And maybe His hand is upon us because every major and minor event in Jamaica starts or ends with a request to God to bless and guard our country and grant wisdom to national leaders, through the playing of the beloved national anthem.

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As we commemorate 55 years of independence this month, let us therefore continue to discern God’s hand in our land and give Him the glory for all the great things He has done in Jamaica. And as we envision the future, let us abide in His great love and seize ‘the abundant life’ that His son, the Lord Jesus promised to all who believe in Him, irrespective of our denominational persuasion.

Happy ‘Emancipendence’ Jamaica!

Shelly-Ann Harris is the Editorial Director and Founder of Family and Faith Magazine. 

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Who is your Model Woman?

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By Sophia Campbell (3rd left), founder of Model Woman Ministry

Clothed with strength and dignity, she is the Model Woman.  Far from being perfect but being perfected in and through her experiences and along the way positively impacting the lives of others. She is you, me, the stay-at-home mom, CEO in the boardroom, the single woman, the working woman, community leader, household assistant, pastor, no matter the role or position.; she is a Model Woman.

Six children she raised, a housewife, always at home and looking out for the best interest of the family.  There was never a day that I returned from school and she was not there.  She was also a dressmaker, who sewed only for her children and the only person who I knew could bake without using any measuring apparatus. Her Christmas cakes were the best!!  Every Saturday morning, bar none, she traveled to Coronation Market.  A trip she loved to make. I went on many of them with her.

She was wholly dependent on my father for financial assistance.  I loved her, but at the same time feared becoming like her, for the sole reason that she had nothing of her own and she was dependent on my father to provide for her.   She always honoured and respected him and served him hand and foot.

No matter what time my dad came home she served him a hot meal, even without him asking.  I hated that, because I never once heard him say thanks.  She was selfless and I could not understand why she chose to stay home.  Especially in an environment that was “not so harmonious” most of the time. Me stay at home?  Never.  Independence was the goal for me, my own money, my job, my things, my life…my OWN EVERYTHING!!!   

However, as I grew older I began to appreciate mom being at home. The place could not run without her.  It was proven time and time again.  She left a few times and eventually came back, every time.  However, overtime we took her for granted, but she remained steadfast in her commitment and unconditional love for us.

I remembered the last time I saw her, I was upset with her, because she did something for me and I did not like the way she did.  I left home angry that day. However, later I realized that I was too harsh and had an apology card, a gift and a bar of her favourite chocolate in my tote bag. However, my hopes of reconciliation were dashed when my sister met me at the street corner, before I could reach home that mom was in the hospital.  When I saw her in the hospital she was unconscious, she suffered a stroke and passed away.  I found it hard to recover.  It was difficult to forgive myself.  It took a long time to come to terms with it.

She was not a Christian; however, she always shared a scripture form the book of Psalms before I went to bed.  I would see her cry sometimes and I promised myself I would take her away from here one day and take her to a “happy place”.  I knew that she served and loved us through her trials and pain.  She sacrificed a lot for me, for our family and I did not get a chance to tell her how much she meant to me; how much I appreciated her. It was the one time in life I can truly say, “I did not get a second chance.”

Now, when I look back on her life. I realized that, though not perfect, she taught and showed me unconditional love, how to honour a spouse, irrespective of how the spouse treats you and how to manage a household.   She is my   MODEL WOMAN…one of.

We have an opportunity now to tell the person who is a Model Woman to you how they impacted your life and honour them for it.   This is counter to what we have been taught or seen, as this is usually reserved for preparing a eulogy. I am convinced that this should change and we should share our appreciation testimony while the person is still with us. Make the effort to let them know that they do indeed matter and change your life, for the better, no matter how small. Launched in May of this year, Model Woman is a ministry that has this simple objective; to recognize the woman/women in our lives who have helped to mould us and model the character of Christ to us.

Another person I consider my Model Woman is Mrs. Patricia Scully.  She mentored and discipled me for over 15 years.  She is like a mother figure to me.  Her advice to me is always “Remember who you are in Christ Sophie.”  Indeed, there are many godly women who discipled younger women; there were those who trained and mentored them, transforming them by God’s grace.

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As we reflect on how to minister to women today, we should remember and recognize those who have blessed us, particularly my Pastor, Mrs. Joan Fletcher, who encouraged me to launch the Model Woman Ministry and hosted it at her home.  The next meeting will be held in September 2017. For more information, check out Model Woman Ministry on Facebook.

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Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

Kind Hearts fuel the engine at Stewart’s Automotive Group

Family and Faith Magazine is always pleased to highlight how successful corporate enterprises are giving back to Jamaica, especially those family-run entities that feature generations of savvy business minds with a kind heart towards the community. Indeed it seems as though kindness is what fuels the engine at the Stewart’s Automotive Group which has been putting their profits where their heart is, and in this season of independence Family and Faith Magazine is happy to highlight a few of the ways that the Group has blessed Jamaica.

The Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation

Since its inception in 1938, the Stewart’s Automotive Group has always played a huge role in working toward the betterment of Jamaica. However it was in 2009, that Diana and her late husband founded the Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation to further their efforts in giving back to Jamaica. The Foundation provides numerous academic scholarships for at-risk youth, including the children of the Stewart’s Automotive Group staff members.

Following in their grandparents’ footsteps, the six grandchildren responded to the systemic poverty in Jamaica by founding their own branch of the Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation, Kind Hearts. Kind Hearts focuses on community housing and education needs for underprivileged families in Jamaica. The grandchildren have participated in the construction and fundraising efforts of four compassion homes and several basic schools in rural Jamaica. In August 2016, Kind Hearts successfully reached its goal of building five basic schools in five years alongside Food for the Poor Jamaica.

Kind Hearts Ltd. Initiative Photo

One of Kind Heart’s biggest fundraising initiatives is the Colour Me Happy Charity Powder Run – the first run in colour introduced in Jamaica. Defined by creativity, drive and a passion for helping the less fortunate, participants of the run are some of the happiest people in Jamaica looking to have a good time and make a difference with their contribution.

Colour Me Happy Photo

Other Philanthropic Efforts

  • The Group rallied behind Food for the Poor Jamaica to collect funds and donations of canned goods and bottled water to provide aid for those affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
  • In October 2016, Stewart’s participated in a Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative #DriveForTheCure with the Jamaica Cancer Society.
  • Stewart’s plays an active role in promoting job creation and training in Jamaica by being active participants in the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP); and providing work experience for student technicians at the Jamaica-German Automotive School (JAGAS) and the Ministry of Labour’ “Steps to Work” programme.
  • In 2006, Diana Stewart was Chairperson of the American Chambers of Commerce Jamaica (AMCHAM) Fund Raising and Design Committee and was instrumental in the fundraising and construction of the Grants Pen Model Community Policing and Services Centre developed in partnership with USAID, GOJ and the Private Sector. This new centre was valued at US$2.5 million dollars.
  • Stewart’s Auto Sales decided to contribute 0.5% of the total cost of every Suzuki sold, to the Economic Development Foundation of Jamaica, in 2007, in keeping with its Peace Initiative and to assist with the paying off of debts incurred whilst in the process of building AMCHAM PLACE, and purchasing additional property for parking and a Peace Park, now known as the CHASE Peace Park. In 2009, Mrs. Stewart, then the Chairman of AMCHAM Jamaica, was instrumental in hosting a successful forum on the H1N1 virus protection for Jamaica as well as a Health Safety Security Environment Conference and Economic Forum.
  • In 2008 Richard and Diana Stewart were nominated as Business Leaders of the Year by the Jamaica Observer.
  • Recognising the need for first class medical facilities, the Stewart’s Automotive Group joined a number of companies in becoming donors of The Tony Thwaites Wing Expansion at the University Hospital of the West Indies. This expansion still benefits the entire hospital. Stewarts has also been involved with health campaigns, including the National Council for Drug Abuse/Addiction Alert’s documentary “Put God First” with singer Roy Rayon and donating the profit for a car raffle for keeping an AIDS Hospice open in the fight against AIDS.
  • Stewart’s has always been supporters as well as a sponsors of Jamaican Sports and the Arts. The Group is a proud sponsor of Usain Bolt’s Racers Grand Prix. Additionally, on the Reggae Boyz’s “Road to France,” Suzuki Jamaica donated the proceeds of three cars to the three most improved players. Stewart’s also donated a Suzuki to several Test Series for Man of the Series for West Indies cricket. The Group was also a contributor to the establishment of the reconstructed Edna Manley Health Centre.
  • Other endeavours include working alongside several missionaries such as Missionaries of the Poor and Youth With a Mission Jamaica (YWAM).

The Holy Scriptures tell us that “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done,” (Proverbs 19:17). May the kindness of the Stewart Automotive Group continue to bless Jamaica in the years to come and may God in His wisdom and grace reward them abundantly.

Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

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Operation Restoration takes Jamaica Broilers Employees to School

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JBG PR Assistant, Karla Davis spends time reviewing numbers with the students of the Joy Town Learning Centre (a part of the Operation  Restoration Christian School)

Without books, lunch, uniforms and the payment of fees, some children from vulnerable communities oftentimes ‘drop out’ of high school, thereby losing their chance to attain a good education. Without a good education, they are less likely to make a decent living as adults and as a result may engage in anti-social, destructive behaviours. However thanks to the efforts of charity organization, Operation Restoration Christian School, working in partnership with dedicated donors such as the Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG), many children in Trench Town and the surrounding communities are being given the opportunity to not only access the educational system, but also to thrive.

On a recent visit to the School, JBG employees observed first-hand the life-changing work of the organization, whose goal is to improve the education outcomes for children enrolled in school and to facilitate further education and training for those no longer in the conventional school system. The school aims to bring secondary level students who may have fallen out of the mainstream educational system up to a Grade 9 level of performance, with the hope that they will be successful at the Grade 9 Achievement Test and streamed back into regular high schools.

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Danah Cameron, JBG Group PR & Training Officer listens keenly as Operation Restoration Christian School Representatives share their vision

As part of efforts to achieve this goal, the institution works closely with parents to ensure that students have adequate support and the best chance for success. Principal, Mr. Robert Dixon, noted that parents are therefore strategically involved in various activities including team building exercises, workshops, Christmas dinners and school trips. The dedicated Principal also frequently walks the community to meet and engage with parents about their children. “We have to bridge the gap,” he reasoned.

The basic school arm has also been making important strides in providing education for younger children, specifically in the areas of literacy and mathematics. The programmes employed at this early childhood level are cutting edge and geared toward more ‘logical’ learning approaches that are designed to assist students in grasping concepts well beyond basic school. As such the programme intends to track the progress of students as they enter mainstream primary schools in order to gauge the success of their teaching methods over the long term.

An early childhood teacher at the facility, Ms. Delphena Robinson is herself a testament of the longstanding positive impact of the facility and its founders in the community. Ms. Robinson shared that many years ago she was ‘adopted’ by one of the founders of the school, Pastor Bobby Wilmot and his family when he was conducting Street Ministry in Jones Town. She recalled that although she was the only child ‘adopted’ from her large family, Pastor Wilmot with the help of other co-founders of Operation Restoration Christian School including Bishop Peter Morgan and Major Richard Cooke supported her entire family. She recalled that when the school started in the 90s, she initially assisted with the cooking and cleaning. However, as the school progressed and the need for teachers arose, she studied and received the necessary qualifications so that she could be eligible for the position. Today Ms. Robinson stands as an inspiring example in the Trench Town community.

Delighted by the successes so far and the constructive energy of the children and teachers during the visit, the Jamaica Broilers Group employees hugged, ‘high-fived’, and played with some of the children while assisting others with their reading and mathematics lessons.  “The Jamaica Broilers Group is happy to see the positive attitudes and the educational strides that students are making at Operation Restoration Christian School,” expressed Ms. Karla Davis, Public Relations Assistant at the JBG, during the visit. She pointed out that, “Each student’s success is a success for the community, and when the community succeeds, we are that much closer to transforming our nation. That goes to the core of our vision at the Jamaica Broilers Group.”

Ms. Davis added that, “Donations from the Jamaica Broilers Group ensure that the children, teachers and other members of staff are fed daily and it is our privilege to be a part of keeping literacy and numeracy available to the children of Jamaica through support of this programme.”

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Successful GSAT Students Have Great Fun at Jewel Runaway Bay!

After months and weeks of intense preparations, grade 6 students in Jamaica braced and battened down for sitting one of the most feared events among primary level children and their parents, teachers and well-wishers. No, they weren’t expecting a hurricane, they were preparing for the Grade Six Achievement Test, GSAT. For 2 days in March, 11 and 12 year-old boys and girls sat what seemed to be the great arbiter of their future success in life. Even with hundreds of hours of study, sleepless nights and Saturday classes in their arsenal, some still wept and wailed on the morning of the exams. At the end of the period of ‘testing’, many realized that they gave the exams way too much power. They realized that ultimately it is God who orders our steps and that our responsibility is to dream, be diligent, work hard and believe that ‘God will work all things for our good’. Even with that revelation it is still very important to help the children unwind and release the stress they endured for months.

With this in mind, Family and Faith Magazine in partnership with Jewel Runaway Bay treated a handful of hardworking high-performing GSAT students from prep and primary school to a few days of amazing fun! Jewel is certainly well known for its kid-friendly fun-focused activities; from the exhilarating waterparks, kayaking and ranch activities to the kids, tween and teen centres where the agenda is always fun, kids are set up to always have a great time.

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From left – GSAT Students Nia-Ashley, Israel Redwood, Cara Burrell and Immanuel Redwood

Jewel Runaway Bay Hotel Manager Patrick Bryan told Family and Faith Magazine that when kids arrive on the property they have no trouble parking their tablets. “It is amazing when children come on the resort and how many sign up for the kids centre and tweens centre. We have games like Capture The Flag and Treasure Hunt and they would run all over the property to find something and bring it back and it creates such a joy to them and especially their parents because according to the parents, when they are at home, they don’t do any physical activity.”

RELATED: An Outdoor Adventure for your Family!

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Patrick Bryan (second from right) enjoying golf with the budding high schoolers!

Speaking of the students, Mr. Bryan a GSAT father himself noted that, “They need to relax, to recover, because after GSAT they are going to high school and going into high school you also have to prepare for that so they have to have this time where they can have some peace and tranquility – do other things than studying.” And so our four GSAT students who did exceptionally well in their exams and are now gearing up to enroll in some of Jamaica’s top high schools had their chance to enjoy the lovely property.

Cara Burrell, Nia-Ashley Harris, Immanuel Redwood and Israel Redwood worked hard and thankfully had the chance to play hard at the award-winning family resort. The 4 pupils put down their pencils and picked up an unending supply of delicious pizza, golf clubs, swimming gear, games and other fun stuff as they enjoyed the fun-filled property. At the end of their time, they told Family and Faith magazine about what they enjoyed most.

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Cara Burrell: – I was excited when my mother told me I was going to spend three days with my friend, Nia at Jewel Runaway Bay. We left Kingston at about 4:30 p.m. and got there at 5:45 p.m.. A lot of people were there having a great time. When we arrived,  Auntie Mellesley, our tour guide, gave us cold rags to put on our faces. Then she showed us to our rooms. Auntie Tamar stayed with us (Nia and I) in our room and was our chaperone. Nia and I got ready for dinner and went to a restaurant next to the golf course. They had a wide range of food on the menu but I chose my all time favorite food: chicken and fries. I liked the presentation of the food. After we ate, we waited for the golf carts to take us back to the lobby. We went to our rooms, got ready for bed and watched TV for a while before going to sleep.

The next day we spent most of the day at the pool. We also went sailing and saw a huge stingray. After that we had dinner at the Jade Samurai, a Japanese restaurant. The chef chopped up the food very fast. The food was delicious! After dinner, we went back to our rooms, got ready for bed, watched TV for a little while and then it was lights out as Auntie Shelly had instructed!

On the last day of our trip, we went to the recording studio and Nia and I recorded a song written by Kevin Downswell “You Make Me Stronger”. I thought we sounded melodious.  After that, we went to the golf course on a golf cart and played golf for a little while. I used a golf club very well. Later, I went to the gift shop and got a beautiful bracelet which I will treasure as it marks my fun trip to Jewel Runaway Bay with my best friend, Nia. I had a really wonderful time at the hotel. The staff was delightful; the rooms were comfortable; the food was delicious and overall it was an extremely enjoyable stay.

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Nia-Ashley Harris :- My stay at Jewel Runaway Bay has been an amazing experience. On the first day of our stay since we arrived at about 5:30pm, we quickly changed to go to the Great Escape Restaurant. We all enjoyed the peculiar dishes which tasted delicious! As it grew later, we made our way back to the hotel room and watched YouTube and Netflix on the television. Fortunately, for us, we got to stay up really late! It was so fun!

On day two after breakfast at the buffet, my best friend Cara and I went to the recording studio to record Kevin Downswell’s version of Stronger. Our tour guide, Aunty Mellesley, showed us to the recording room, made entirely out of egg cartons. This fascinated me because they used recycled materials for a new purpose; absorbing sound! This is so interesting to me because I love science. After we recorded the song, we played Just Dance at the tween centre. Later, we went to the beach and sailed out into the ocean on a sailboat. Our guide was fun and gave us an amazing experience! At 8pm, we went to the Japanese restaurant for dinner, where they had a stove in the middle of the table so the chef could cook in front of us. The food was scrumptious! The chef was also warm and inviting.

We also went to the golf course where our guide taught us how to swing our golf clubs and hit the balls. Our instructor said I was a natural! I am truly elated to have been granted this wonderful stay at Jewel Runaway Bay!

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Israel Redwood: – Staying at the Jewel Runaway Bay was very exciting! I will give 10 fun and coolest things I enjoyed the most:

  • I enjoyed floating around in the Lazy River
  • The long tube slide at the water park was great!
  • I went in the super speed body slide many times.
  • The food area at the Water Park was good
  • I learnt to play golf. This was soo cool!
  • I met two boys one from Canada and the other from the USA and we played table tennis together!
  • The video games were great!
  • In the games centre I played Fifa games for hours.
  • I really just enjoyed running around and exploring the property.
  • The Japanese restaurant was really good and new for me. The chef prepared the food right in front of us!

JRB - Platinum Restaurant - Mini Sirloin and Guava Pepper Lobster

Immanuel Redwood: – My stay at Jewel Runaway Bay was very interesting I would give them a 5 Star!  The ten coolest activities I enjoyed there were:

  • I loved the tube slide at the water park.
  • Another winner was the super speed body slide!
  • I enjoyed the pool. There were two just outside of my balcony and a small one assigned to my room!
  • The boat ride was just amazing – we went sailing.
  • I played table tennis with two foreigners and it was fun!
  • The Fifa games in the games room made my day.
  • I learnt to play golf. I believed I hit my ball the farthest!
  • Going to dinner to the Great Escape in the golf cart was exciting!
  • The studio recording was fun. My brother and I did an original acapella.
  • Watching the chef at the Japanese restaurant was cool. The Chef next to my table was fun as he threw pieces of food into the guest’s mouth.

JRB Guestroom View of Waterpark

RELATED: Swimming is for Everyone!

All in all, the kids gave the resort full marks, which is no surprise since the property was this year again named Best Family Resort in the region. Family and Faith Magazine is delighted that Scott Robbins was also honoured as Best General Manager. We couldn’t be happier! Jewel  Runaway Bay continues to be an escape from the wear and tear of everyday life to a welcoming place for great fun, beauty, camaraderie and relaxation!

Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com.

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Husband & wife torn apart then pulled back together by God’s grace – Lisa Miller testifies

Growing up with a stepfather and not knowing my biological father led me to feel unwanted and not good enough. I found myself often trying to fit in with the rest of the family. My stepfather was very close to his family, which led to many family gatherings. I would purposely get involved in any way that I could while fighting with the thoughts that I would never be one of them. I never told anyone how I felt. I suffered sexual abuse at the hands of several family members, baby sitters, “friends” of the family, “boyfriends” and strangers. I revealed some of the abuse but was not defended or taken seriously. This led me to keep the rest of my “story” hidden. I felt rejected, alone and unworthy. I wanted to remove myself as far away from the family as I could possibly go; although leaving my brothers behind weighed heavily on my heart. After all, I had been caring for them for a very long time.

I decided to attend college in West Palm Beach, Florida. I did not even realize it was a Christian school. I actually didn’t even know what a Christian was. It did not take me long to realize that something was missing from my life. Observing the many “real” Christians on campus led me to ask questions and surrender my life to Christ at the age of 18 during a Wednesday night student led church service(Nov, 1988). I met my husband Rick in 1989. He introduced me to the Holy Spirit and what it meant to serve the Lord. We married in 1990. Through the years of raising children, being church leaders, owning businesses and Rick being an elected official it took a toll on my mind and our marriage.

Rick did not notice my absence from the marriage until it was almost over. I started to believe the lies from my childhood that I was not loved, unimportant, rejected and unworthy. It went beyond not feeling appreciated by my husband or even my children. I felt as though I was numb just going through the motions. I wanted to escape, mentally remove myself from being a mother, a wife, a friend, everything to everyone. When the opportunity presented itself for “my way” of escape I was hesitant at first, but the pull of removing myself from reality seemed too strong to resist. I was drawn by the attention, believing the lie that I could be something that I was not.

My heart turned against my husband as I sought my acceptance from others outside of my marriage. I felt as though I couldn’t resist the constant pull of “a way” of escape. I soon realized that for once in my life I had “control” of the situation. All the while knowing full well that I meant absolutely nothing to those who sought to steal every bit of morality left in me and every ounce of conscience of who I really was. I spiraled down quickly as I assumed my new role of being “in control’. I allowed my mind to believe that I was no longer worthy enough to be married or to obtain the role of being a proper mother to my children. I went to bed tormented with my new life swarming in my head. I lied to my family, my friends even to myself. I could no longer hide the fact that I was no longer in control. I could no longer hold inside everything that I was doing or thinking.

I confided in a “friend” which led to a series of events which eventually led me to the Women’s Refuge of Vero Beach. My initial purpose of leaving everything and moving into the Refuge was selfish at best. I was once again wanting to remove myself from my current situation. It did not take long for me to realize that my Heavenly Father was waiting on me; waiting on me to finally surrender and allow Him to pour out His love on me. I must be honest!

It was not easy to accept once again that God could love someone like me; damaged goods, a liar, a cheater a fake. I was so full of shame, guilt and wanted so badly to know that I was loved and accepted. My time at the Refuge taught me to rely on Him. My dependence on Christ was made very clear to me. Through his Word, prayer, teaching materials and counseling, I received the healing and acceptance I had desired for my whole life.

My husband, although hurt and angry desired for my healing and deliverance. He sought refuge in the Father as he cared for our 2 children left at home. Our love for each other was made NEW as we both surrendered to the Father and his will. We both made a decision to serve the Lord wholeheartedly regardless of knowing what the outcome would be for our marriage. The Lord restored faith, hope, trust and love. We spent many hours seeking the Lord and trusting Him with our lives as individuals. Our focus was on our heavenly Father and not each other. I cannot even pinpoint the exact time when we both knew that our marriage had been restored. The love that the Father put in our hearts for each other was completely unconditional. My fear of being unwanted and unloved was replaced with the assurance of that nothing can separate me from the Father’s love.

Advice and prayer for those in a broken marriage

My advice to those who are struggling in marriage with thoughts of infidelity or recovering from an adulterous affair, would be to surrender your lives unto the Lord. Allow the One who knows you best, to help you open up and be honest with your spouse. Your spouse has the right to really know you. They chose you above everyone else to spend the rest of their lives with. They have a desire to be loved as well. Trust the Father to help each of you to be honest about your past, your present feelings and your apprehensions about the future.

Father, I come before you and lift up my brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with the lies of “who” they are. Help each couple to recognize their significance in you; that your desire for them to be whole is greater than their desire to be loved. Thank you for opening up a way for them to confess their fears, sins and hurt. I know that you will honor their commitment to seek you first and allowing you to be Lord of their lives. Continue to reveal to them your truth and may they know your unconditional love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Born in New York, Lisa has been married to Rick Miller for 26 years and the 2 have 4 children and 2 unofficial adopted daughters. Lisa is now the store manager at the Women’s Refuge Resale Shop and is currently taking a biblical counseling class in preparation to become a counselor at the Refuge.

Editor’s note: I heard Lisa’s testimony first hand at an amazing Healing Wounds Workshop organized by Pastors Junior and Trudy Tucker’s True Word and Worship Church. Lisa and her husband Rick were vulnerable and generous with the painful details of their story and their powerful testimony of God’s grace. It was an unforgettable thing to observe their deep tender love towards each other, their openness to others who were hurt and struggling and Lisa’s passionate ministry to all who came for prayer and restoration.  May God continue to bless her, her husband, their children and ministry. SAH

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Swimming is for everyone!

Swimming has grown to be a popular activity for many groups within our communities. In fact, to say swimming is for everyone is not a stretch, but it is in fact the truth. In my many years actively involved in the sport, and now a teacher of the discipline and an advocate for the benefits of water activities, I can tell you without a doubt that swimming is for everyone.

Sarah

Babies and infants can participate in water activities

Babies or infants as young as 6 months old can participate in water activities. While they will not learn the technical skills to swim at this age, they will benefit from increased physical awareness as they experience their little bodies in a whole new way. From swimming lessons, babies naturally move their limbs, thus strengthening their muscles, coordination and even their lung capacity. In water, babies have the opportunity to explore with their parents and socialize with others their age, thus increasing their confidence. Babies who are involved in water activities and who are exposed to ‘swimming classes’ early are typically more confident, and exhibit less fear of water as they grow older.

If babies can do it, then there is no minimum age for starting your child in formal swim classes. Research from the German Sports College Cologne, “Baby Swimming: Advanced Independence and Development of Intelligence” has reported that children who engaged in swimming from infancy were significantly stronger and more coordinated and scored higher in intelligence and problem solving. They were also found to be more self-disciplined and self-controlled and had a greater desire to succeed.

Swimming is key to drown prevention

Based on these benefits, parents should get their child involved in swimming. Additionally if your child starts these classes earlier, then the possibility of them developing a fear of water will decrease. Gaining competences like kicking on their stomachs, being able to lift their head for a breath and being able to support their own body weight and eventually moving from one point to another, are all key to drown prevention. With increased exposure to open bodies of water, our children are more at risk for drowning or near drowning incidents today. Drown prevention is everybody’s business, and as parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that we provide our children with the skills they require to maintain life. Water safety is fundamental. It is a MUST. Swimming is therefore a lifesaving skill. Learning to swim can save your child’s life. Follow Aquaworx for more on our Drown Prevention Initiative.

How Swimming Benefits Teenagers and Adults

Teenagers involved in swimming (usually competitively) tend to be more organized and disciplined in other aspects of life. Training as a competitive swimmer requires dedication and commitment. Their drive to succeed in water often leads to their drive to succeed in other areas of their life. They are keen on time management and meeting deadlines. The discipline requires you to be a strong individual performer as well as strong team players. Outside of the damaged hair or sun drenched skin (which can both be prevented with the right products and practices) teenagers who swim tend to be extremely healthy based on the calories burnt as a result of a full body work out during training sessions.

Now as an adult, there are so many persons that can benefit from swimming (or water activities). This requires a dedicated article for itself however to support my claim that swimming is for everyone, lets briefly talk about Prenatal and the Rehabilitating sub-segments within the adult group. Water provides a gentle, weight bearing, low resistance and calming environment which is perfect for pregnant women and for individuals who are on the road to physical, mental and emotional recovery. Swimming, or water activities (prenatal aquatics or aqua rehab classes) are designed to allow these groups to increase their range of motion, stretch to de-stress and to increase muscle tone in a safe and progressive way. The gentle flow of water provides just enough resistance to challenge, but not hurt. Persons who experience progress in their recovery while in water tend to be more confident on land; their postures improve and more importantly, their self-esteem gets a boost!

I could write a book on all the benefits (tangible and intangible) since the list is long. Swimming changes and saves lives. Swimming is for everyone! Put it on your bucket list, not just for you, but your entire family. Sign up for a class today!

Narda Ventura is the Managing Director and Instructor at Aquaworx.

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An Outdoor Adventure for your Family

There is an adventure awaiting families in the hills of St. Ann. For one weekend in August, New Generation invites families to escape the commotion of their regular days and enjoy a new rhythm while immersed in God’s creation and connecting with other families.

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New Generation Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization which has been in existence since 1985, under its former name, Circle Square Jamaica. We run Christian adventure summer camps, youth leadership camps, couples camps, camps for at-risk teens as well as family camps. We also host camps, rent our campsite and train persons through team building and leadership development sessions. Our programs are designed to use outdoor adventure and Christ-centered programming to help persons grow in their relationship with others and with God.

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Our Family Camp is only in its 3rd year but it is becoming a regular fixture on the calendar of some parents. Here’s what one parent had to say:

“My kids look forward to Family Camp all summer. They know they won’t be bored as activities are planned throughout the day for them to enjoy with their friends. They also love sleeping in a tent. I love that at camp they are outdoors all day rather than on their electronic devices. In Kingston, many families don’t have access to large outdoor spaces and our kids spend a lot of time indoors. So when we come to New Generation’s campsite, my kids are excited to have this beautiful natural setting as their playground. As the kids have fun, the parents get to have fun too. There are no airs at family camp. As we relax together in a different environment, we get to shed the restrictions of our role definitions. This way kids get to see different sides of their parents and vice versa. This vulnerability strengthens our bond and helps make our family stronger.”

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Family Camp came about as a result of New Generation’s desire to invest in the family unit.  The camp has various components. Families can choose to sleep in one of our platform tents or in a bunk-bed style dorm room. Adventure can be found everywhere – in a huge tree house, by the river or on an adventure course with climbing ropes, chutes, tire swings and much more.

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There are break-out teaching sessions catering to fathers, mothers and single parents.  Parents are encouraged to pray with their children and include them in their faith story.  One session required each family to rate how well they were doing as a family in different categories such as: time in God’s Word, kindness, respect for parents and supporting each other’s interests. This time was an eye-opener and ended up being of real value to the families. Unlike at home, the kids had a voice in the group discussion and it was good to hear their perspective on things, as families talked about what they can do to make their family one that pleases God.

One father had this to say: “Family camp is an energizing mixture of adventure and bonding with other families in a beautiful outdoor environment that fosters rest. As a father there are things that you fantasize about doing in Kingston that became a reality at Family Camp – like sleeping under the stars. So each year we venture out to St. Ann for a long-awaited break from our daily routine. We always leave feeling rejuvenated. Our family gets a sense of hope and purposeful pursuit of the future. It’s a short time but at least it happens once per year and we thank New Generation for making it affordable.”

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Our hope is to keep making Family Camp an affordable and memorable vacation option where you can grow closer to God and closer to your family. This year we hope to have all 16 family spots filled. To find out more about camp and book your space visit our website at www.newgeneration-jm.org

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