‘There is a place for spanking’ – Dr. Barry Davidson

In these modern times, parents face unique challenges in effectively raising their children and oftentimes age-old practices are seen as ineffective, irrelevant and in some instances abusive. Corporal punishment, more commonly known as ‘spanking,’ is one of those parenting tools that is now in question and stirs significant debate.

Moreover, recent video recordings showing parents violently assaulting their children have further cracked the whip on the efficacy and humaneness of spanking. Family and Faith Magazine therefore sought answers from respected family counselor and CEO of Family Life Ministries, Dr. Barry Davidson.

Dr. Davidson first categorically explained that much of what has been seen from the viral videos are abusive behavior, where the parent seems to be venting destructive anger on a child.

Still, he was keen to point out that “there is a place for spanking.” He said: “I know it is not the politically correct thing for me to say but I say it because that is what I believe.” Dr. Davidson explained that “spanking is punishment and is not something that you do very often, it is something that you rarely do, but there is room for it. There is room for it when you really want to let the child know that this (negative behavior) is not something that you are going to tolerate.”

The family counselor was however adamant that parents “need to know when to spank, you need to know when not to spank and you need to also know how to spank.”

When not to spank

“I don’t believe you should spank for childish or immature behaviour which is consistent with a child’s age,” Dr. Davidson asserted.

He also warned against spanking when a child becomes restless as a result of sitting too long at an event or function. “A child who is in church and the service is going on too long (and the attention span for a child is much shorter than for an adult) and because the child is disturbing you; because the child is restless, you take the child outside and you spank the child – you don’t spank for that because the child is being him or herself,” the counselor explained.

Continuing he said: “you don’t spank for lack of ability – you may have one child that is very good at Math and the other is not. Don’t compare children and because one isn’t doing well you spank. You don’t spank for lack of ability.”

“You don’t spank for accidents – a child is playing cricket and the ball accidentally breaks a window you don’t spank for that however if you say to the child, don’t play cricket here anymore and the child continues, that is a different situation. That is now disobedience,” he explained.

“Never spank out of anger. Never spank when you are irritated, when you feel depressed or when you are tired because that’s when you lose control, that is when you become very very abusive,” he cautioned.

When to spank

Having shared when not to spank, Dr. Davidson also offered circumstances in which spanking may be warranted and helpful. He explained that spanking as a form of punishment can be done when there is disobedience. “Because when a child is deliberately disobedient – when a parent says over and over don’t do this and the child continues, what that child is doing is challenging the parental authority and so what the parent has to do is let the child know that this will not be tolerated, and the child must know why he or she is being spanked and the parent should be very calm and very careful,” he explained.

“I think also that children can be spanked for uncooperative attitudes – they are not willing to cooperate and again you have spoken to them, you have tried to help them to understand the importance of cooperating with the family – you might have to make a point. Because spanking is really punishment and punishment is making a point. It is letting a child know that hey, this is not going to be tolerated.”

Dr. Davidson added that parents could spank for lying, stealing, cheating – character faults. “These are things that should never be tolerated or encouraged. These are things that can end up in a worst situation than spanking, they could be embarrassed one day, in prison one day and so we need to understand that what we are doing with children is preparing them, helping them to live in  a real world and that real world has consequences for actions that right now we are helping them to change,” he explained.

A father himself, Dr Davidson told Family and Faith Magazine that: “I have 3 children and 1 of my children never ever got spanking, the other probably got 2 in their entire life and the other probably got 5 or 6 and yet still I was a believer in spanking. But I knew when to spank, when not to spank and knew spanking was not an act of discipline but punishment,” he admonished.

The family counselor also reiterated that “When I am talking about punishment I am not talking about abuse because I am very anti-abuse. I think abuse is what creates serious problems with people becoming very violent.” He however emphasized that “if you fail to punish a child, society is going to do it for you one day. A lot of children that we see becoming reckless and ruthless, they really never got the training and the discipline and when necessary the punishment when they were young.”

More on spanking below

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“It is my conviction that most youngsters even those who are rebellious against adults’ authority are actually seeking a strong hand of guidance and spanking therefore should be where you are setting definite boundaries of right and wrong for a child,” Dr. Davidson explained. Essentially, he says with spanking you are demanding obedience because disobedience can get you in trouble.

Asked what age spanking would be appropriate for children, Dr. Davidson said, “spanking should take place between ages 4 and 10. By the time you get to 10 or even 9 there is no need for spanking after that,” he said.

Where to spank

In terms of where to spank, the father of three prescribed that “the padded area that we sit on is the best place to provide the ‘rod of correction’. Certainly, it is not going to be the hands and face and the back – that to me is abuse,” he insisted.

In the end, Dr. Davidson urges parents to cultivate a balanced wholesome relationship with their children. He noted that firmness (discipline) without relationship can lead to rebellion and conversely, relationship without firmness can lead to spoiling. Instead he asserts that relationship plus firmness are what will result in helping parents to raise responsible human beings.

Do you believe there is a place for spanking? Why or why not?

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

For more parenting strategies from Dr. Davidson you can check out his book Answers to Questions Parents Ask co-authored with Faith Linton, now available in book stores across Jamaica.

Talk, Pray & Be Vulnerable – advice for parents of teens from co-pastor and mother of 5, Trudy Tucker

FullSizeRenderMother of 5 and co-pastor at Family Word and Worship Church, Trudy Tucker is advocating that talking with your children, being vulnerable and practising consistent prayer are powerful tools in parenting teenage kids. In an interview with Family and Faith Magazine, the passionate pastor shared practical, sound examples of effective parenting at work.

“Once the kids grow up, one thing we have to do is talk. I try and talk to my teenager and teach her the Word,” she admonished, noting that “A big thing for teenagers is the whole idea of sex. The hormones are going, there is attraction and I have to give her the Word and I have to say this is why the Word of God says to wait.”

Laying down God’s rules is not the only thing Pastor Trudy does. She also emphasizes God’s heart and mind towards His children. “He doesn’t want you to wait because he doesn’t want you to have fun. He wants you to wait because he is protecting, because you are valuable, you are important, God has a call upon your life, you have a purpose,” she explained.

And what if those teens still disobey? The Family Word and Worship Pastor recommends prayer!

“I think we underestimate the value of prayer. We have to pray for our children and we have to cover them. We think sometimes that prayer is not enough and we have to take this into our own hands, no God is able. The Holy Spirit is powerful enough to reach them right where they are. We underestimate the power of God – we think to pray is just a little thing but we must really value prayer and you will see prayer work in your life. It can change things. It can change the circumstances and it can change people,” pastor Trudy testified.

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The down-to-earth pastor also highlighted the importance of being vulnerable with teenagers. “I have to be vulnerable with my girls to say listen, this is what I went through and this is why I don’t want you to walk the same road I did. We have to be real with them. The time has changed. They are exposed to so much more than I was at their age so I have to be willing to step out there and be real to let them know this is the road I went down, you don’t have to go down that road,” she reasoned.

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Pastor Trudy Tucker (left) with 3 of her children and husband, Pastor Junior Tucker

With children ranging from 21 to 6 years, Pastor Trudy counsels that disciplining each child may require a different approach and that it is very important to instill values and correction from children are very young.

“With one of my children I would just have to look at her, and that was enough for her to get her straight, with another one I would say that I am very disappointed and I know my little boy is like that, if I tell him that I am disappointed he is heartbroken but you have to start very early and in that way when they get older now they will listen so you don’t have to get to the point where you are now beating and spanking them because you have instilled the values very early on,” she counseled.

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However, what if you didn’t cultivate that relationship from the beginning? Pastor Trudy says it’s never too late. “A scripture that I love is that love covers a multitude of sins. It is never too late to start building that relationship and what it takes is a lot of love. Meaning you have to start putting in the time. It is unfortunate you don’t get it back. When they are older the time for the spanking, to me, has passed. Now you are going to have to reason. We are going to have to talk about it,” she insisted.

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

Parents of 10, Major Neil & Jan Lewis on Effective Parenting Strategies & Outcomes that Inspire!

With 36 years of marriage, 10 children and 6 grandchildren in their quiver, Major Neil and Janice Lewis share their faith-imbued parenting and family management strategies and outcomes with Family and Faith Magazine. The Lewis family has 4 boys and 6 girls ranging from age 34 to 14 years of age. They are: Noel 34 yrs, Priscilla 32 yrs, Kathryn 31 yrs, Christina 29 yrs, Gabrielle 27 yrs, Raphael 24 yrs, Michaela 23 yrs, Elizabeth 19 yrs, Joel 17 yrs, Emmanuel 14 yrs. Family and Faith Magazine couldn’t be more pleased to share their testimony of faith in parenting, marriage and family life at a time when Jamaica and the world urgently need strong positive examples of success on the home front.

Lewis Family

Child Birthing Decisions

FFM: Did you make a decision to have so many children?

Major Neil and Jan: We decided that we would live by faith in Jesus, and made a decision to NOT ARTIFICIALLY RESTRICT the number of children we had but allow the Lord to decide how many children we would have.

FFM: Explain how your faith impacted your decisions about having children.

Major Neil and Jan: The song ” Living by Faith in Jesus….” became our operating principle. Initially Jan wanted 3 children because her mother had 3 children; I had wanted 12 children because my father had wanted 12. Although we had 10 children, Jan had 2 miscarriages. Because she hemorrhaged with No. 9 we decided to have any further children by caesarean section, hence No. 10 was a caesar. However, a failure of faith at this time caused us to make a decision to tie off Jan’s tubes. We were later convinced that this was a wrong decision and constituted a breach of our faith in Christ.

Education

FFM: How are your children schooled?

Major Neil and Jan: The first 5 children were schooled at a Christian Preparatory School, with Numbers 6 & 7 attending prep school up to grade 2. Thereafter these and subsequent ones were home-schooled.

FFM: What factors influenced your decision to school your children in that way?

Major Neil and Jan Lewis: Jan was very involved with our children’s education even to the point of jointly with 2 other persons acting as headmistress of the School while the Principal was on a six-month Sabbatical. She participated in bringing the Abeka home-school curriculum to the school. She also acted as Principal of a Prep school sponsored by our Church and our children attended that school during that period

So, all in all the last 5 children were home-schooled. This school developed into Redeemed Preparatory and Reading Centre operating out of our home.

We made conscious decisions to home-school the children up to grade 6 and send them to traditional High Schools for secondary education. These were Ardenne High and St Andrew high School for Girls, Jan’s Alma Mater. No. 10 attends Wolmer’s Boys, my Alma Mater.

FFM: Some of your children are now grown up, how do you now feel about your choices for them? Did it pay off? Are they becoming the people you have trained them to be?

Major Neil and Jan: Excellent without exception for the girls and the older group of 5. Less so for the boys who had difficulty with socialisation and adjusting out of the home-school environment into the public-school environment.

  • The first 4 earned full scholarships to the US Military Academies (3 Navy and 1 Air Force)
  • The fifth, a girl, is paying her own way through University
  • The sixth, a boy, is working to pay his way through Edna Manley School of the performing Arts in pursuit of a degree in piano.
  • The seventh, a girl, is on a scholarship from the Government of Brazil, studying Medicine.
  • The eighth, a girl, is on a scholarship at Venlo University in the Netherlands studying Microbiology and Statistical research
  • The ninth, a boy, is currently applying for suitable scholarships preparing for University, and
  • The tenth is in his fourth form year at Wolmer’s Boys School.

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Parenting Decisions

FFM: Share 2 effective ways in which you motivate your children.

Major Neil and Jan: We eventually, as we discovered the principle, divided the children’s’ lives into 7-year blocks as follows:

  • First 7 yrs motor skills and communication/language skills development ensuring they learned to read very early and were encouraged to maintain a high academic average of 95% in preparatory school
  • Second 7 yrs formation/development of supervisory and home management skills; i.e. cooking, cleaning and sibling leadership/discipline. Each one had responsibility for a younger one especially while the family is travelling; or supervising all younger siblings if the parents are out for hours, such as date night.
  • WE BRING THEM INTO ADULTHOOD AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN; First they take a coming of age hike to Blue Mountain Peak (as part of a group), on return from which their status in the family changes as follows;
    • Corporal punishment ceases as a disciplinary method
    • They can take part in major family decisions and are privy to confidential family issues and discussions.
    • They must be prepared to supervise and manage the entire household in the event of absence of the parents over days rather than hours:
  • Primarily through the Prep and early High School years, we encouraged them to try different sports and skills such as competence in music,
  • Additionally, we told them we would ensure that they got a 1st class Secondary Education but that they had to earn Scholarships for their tertiary education which we regarded as compulsory or they must pay for it themselves.

FFM: Share 2 effective ways in which you discipline your children.

Major Neil and Jan: Up to coming into adulthood corporal punishment is applied according to age; “Spare the Rod, Spoil the child.”

  • Mother; one slap at age 1, 2 slaps at age 2 to 3 slaps at age 3
  • For severe offences requiring referral to father then this punishment is doubled
  • The end result is that especially for the girls, corporal punishment was no longer necessary by age 9.
  • Post thirteen years, withdrawal of privileges became the method of choice for disciplining.

FFM: Do you practice different parenting approaches when disciplining and motivating your girls versus your boys?

Major Neil and Jan: We encourage all the children to confide in us as parents even their most intimate secrets, primarily through family prayers and a once monthly Family all night Prayer Meeting, where each person is free to criticise/rebuke anyone else even us as parents with no fear of a negative response. The girls have an easier time doing this. We were deliberate in engendering a spirit of seeking and granting FORGIVENESS between them. The result is that there is no lingering strife and rivalry and they remain loving.

FFM: In general, what are your top 3 lessons you have learned about parenting over the years?

Major Neil and Jan: PRAYING FOR THEM INDIVIDUALLY DAILY.

  • This is a responsibility largely fulfilled throughout their early lives by their mother. This made them malleable in our PARENTING hands and enabled the Holy Spirit to reveal when things are going wrong.
  • Later we also implemented a Prayer Project System where we prayed and reported progress on an ongoing basis for every prayer need until the answer is granted.
  • Now that they are all adults, resident in many different time zones our family Whatsapp group is very helpful as a tool of encouragement, responsive (24 hr.) prayer and counsel for our daily lives.

Lewis Kids

The larger the number of children the easier the parenting responsibility socially AND educationally AND financially became; the older siblings help raise/teach/pay for the younger ones etc. Having this large number of CHILDREN OURSELVES prepared our household to always include at least one foster child who benefitted from our parenting and family bonding. We found that consequently there is always a reserve of persons on whom to call in times of need.

“Train up a child in the way he should go AND in the END, he will not depart from it” – we encourage them to give their hearts to the Lord Jesus from an early age. The Family Altar is the most critical component in the child-rearing challenge.

Marriage

FFM: What impact did having many children have on your marriage?

Major Neil and Jan: Up to the fifth child, it was an exciting learning process because each child was so different; At no. 5 the Lord did a paradigm shift which enabled Janice to freely move forward for the next 5 of our children. The large number of children was therefore never a burden or drag on our individual lives or personal ambitions. The Lord had given us a revelation early in our marriage that children must never get in the way of ministry but equally that ministry must never get in the way of family, so wherever family was ministry must be and wherever ministry was family must be, therefore we practised taking them wherever we went. They were always polite and well behaved, this was a skill honed in the discipline of family prayers. They have been a major bonding agent and have never been a burden!! We came into a revelation of the dynastic characteristic and the demographically essential nature of HAVING A QUIVER FULL OF CHILDREN thus fulfilling the Biblical requirement of multiplying and filling the earth.

FFM: Who comes first in your relationship, spouse or children? Why?

Major Neil and Jan: We have always regarded our child-rearing as a fully joint responsibility and have tried to avoid any preferential behaviour however I have found that;

  • For Janice her nurturing, mothering heart appeared to me to give the children priority; Jan prefers to say; that for her Jesus is first, followed by her spouse then our children
  • For me my Spouse was definitely first and it was difficult adjusting to put Jesus first before her and I believe this was responsible for the failure of faith I mentioned earlier on the birth of our tenth child.

FFM: What advice can you offer to parents struggling to raise respectful, responsible and loving children?

Major Neil and Jan Lewis: ESTABLISH A DISCIPLINED DAILY FAMILY ALTAR through which you train them to behave in church from they are infants.

  • We have used the ONE YEAR BIBLE and read through The Bible every year as a family since the birth of our fourth child.
  • LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, and VALUE THEM as A REWARD from the Lord as the Word of God insists.
  • Discipline them do not abuse them.
  • PRAY, PRAY, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING FOR THEM! God has the Blue-print for EACH CHILD, they are after all His children first!

Responses to questions were graciously provided in writing by Major Neil and Janice Lewis to Family and Faith Magazine. Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

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Prime Minister of Jamaica Repents for the Sins of the Nation

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and his wife joined with thousands of Jamaicans on Saturday, December 2 to seek God and repent for the sins of the nation. Amidst leaders from most Christian denominations including Seventh Day Adventists, Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, Independent churches and other groups, the Prime Minister passionately and solemnly listed and confessed the sins of the nation and sought forgiveness from God under open sky in Half-Way-Tree Square.

“Lord God and Heavenly Father, I come to you today on behalf of my nation, my family, my wife who is here with me and every family and person in Jamaica. I come as Prime Minister of Jamaica on behalf of myself and all leaders of the state and their various administrative staff, operational arm, and the various agents and agencies;

Lord God and Eternal Father I come acknowledging that we have sinned against the people of Jamaica, we have sinned against our fellow man, we have sinned against our family members and relatives, we have sinned against our neighbours, we have sinned against the children, the youth and the unborn. We have sinned against the poor and the weak and the elderly, we have sinned against the free and the imprisoned…” Mr. Holiness outlined.

Moved by the Prime Minister’s confessions and supplications, the audience could be heard weeping and shouting “amen” and “hallelujah!”

“We hereby seek your face and turn from our wicked ways asking for your mercies and forgiveness for sins and seek by faith and by choice to humble ourselves in your sight acknowledging our sins individually and collectively. We now take responsibility for our sins. As we come to you, grant us grace to obey you in Jesus name,” the Prime Minister petitioned.

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Explaining his perspective on prayer, the Prime Minister also noted that: “We pray not because we don’t want to work…we pray because we know our efforts will never be enough.

“We pray because God is stronger than us,” Prime Minister Holiness declared to much cheers and applause from the audience which tarried in Half-Way-Tree Square until after midnight.

The National Day of fasting, prayer and repentance was convened by Pastor Jeffrey Shuttleworth of Tarrant Baptist Church. In addition to the Prime Minister, several church leaders from various denominations prayed and repented about several themes including the family, the economy, violence, media and culture among others.

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

‘I thought I was going to die but it was God cleaning house’ – Anointed Dancer Nickeisha Jones

Do sharp unkind words or attitudes weigh you down? Do you keep the cruel words and actions of others in your heart, allow offence to grow and fester, and refuse to release the hurt and the person who caused you emotional harm? Do you secretly malice the person and wish for their downfall? If your answer to these questions is yes, you may want to change your mind about how you approach dealing with emotional pain, because it turns out that malice and un-forgiveness can make you physically sick.

Family and Faith Magazine caught up with the beautiful soft-spoken and powerfully anointed Founder and Director of Laud Dance Ministries, Nickeisha Antonette Jones who shared about becoming seriously ill as a result of malice and un-forgiveness, some seven years ago.

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“I struggled with malice and un-forgiveness. If you say something to offend me I would just smile but in my mind, I usually harbor that person. And if persons offend me or I feel offended by anyone, the moment when they enter the room I would just leave,” she told Family and Faith Magazine.

Of course this way of handling offence can be problematic in a creative interactive environment such as in a dance group. “When the group (Laud) started that’s where I found that God started to really work on me. We had different personality clashes and as a person who was easily offended to be placed over persons who ‘go off’ any minute that was really hard for me,” the Dance Director said. “Persons would do stuff in the group and I wouldn’t take it well, still I was ministering; going out to churches, dancing,” she confessed.

Soon however malice and un-forgiveness would not only ‘cripple’ Nickeisha’s heart but also her limbs and her whole body. “It brought me to a point where I couldn’t even get up off of my bed to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t play with my children, I had no time for my husband, I couldn’t attend my rehearsals at Laud. The beauty though is that the team would normally come to my house and they would pray for me and stuff like that,” the talented dancer recalled.

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On top of that, her “blood pressure was out of whack, blurred vision, panic attacks, I took anxiety tablets, at nights I couldn’t sleep, my heart would be racing and it would just be really really crazy,’ she said, noting that she had to undergo numerous tests in order to find out what was wrong in her body. “I did an MRI, I did a CAT scan, I did a whole lot of tests to see what was happening with me, but they were saying that they could not find anything wrong,” she recalled.

“And I remember one day just lying on the bed and I was like ‘God what is this?’ And He gave me a list of persons to call and just ask for forgiveness because it was un-forgiveness that had caused me to become ill,” Nickeisha revealed. “It wasn’t until the Lord gave me the list of persons to call and ask them to forgive me if I did anything wrong, that my health started to get better. I thought I was going to die but in fact God was just cleaning house. After I had called all of the persons I felt a weight lift off of me,” she testified.

The season of illness lasted for about 4 to 6 months and was a difficult challenge for Nickeisha’s family. But the wife of 15 years is deeply grateful for the love and support of her doting husband Kemar Jones. “I am just surprised at how my husband really stayed and kept the family together.  Anything I asked for, he was at my beck and call. If I said Kemar, my head is hurting me, he is up, he was very supportive.”

 

Nickeisha

As part of the purging process from emotional pain and malice, Nickeisha stayed in prayer and the Word.  “Psalm 91 became so real to me. This is the Psalm that I would read a lot and I remember when I was reading it, He who dwells in the secret place….and I felt God hugged me and I called out to my husband and said Kemar you feel that? He is like, what?” she recounted to Family and Faith Magazine.

Clearly after the whole experience, the committed believer is not the same. “I get to realize that in order for us to be at a level with Christ we have to go through some of these steps and some of these steps are not easy. I remember saying, ‘Lord I want more of you.’ But in getting to that level you have to overcome something in order to go to that level and it wasn’t until I went through that that I realize that being a Christian is a serious thing,” she contended.

The season of illness wasn’t the first time Nickeisha experienced remarkable victory in Christ. She recalled when she had a miscarriage as a young mother and how she was tempted to take her life.

“The nurse said don’t push until I come back so as a first-time mother, if the nurse gives you an instruction even if you feel like pushing, you are gonna close your legs. So that’s what I did and it ended up sending the baby in distress because the baby defecated inside of me and inhale it and later on the pediatrician that came to talk to me said that if the baby lived she would have been a vegetable.”

A miscarriage can certainly be one of the hardest emotional and physical experiences for women, especially for a young mother. To make things worse, the hospital where Nickeisha delivered her stillborn placed her in the same space with women who had just delivered their babies safely. “So that was like torture. I remember when I was laying down on my bed, it was 4 persons in our cubicle and when I looked over I saw this teenager who I had learned worked in the market. She didn’t have anything. And another lady was there and she wasn’t married or anything and ‘the enemy’ just came in. I literally just felt a presence sat on my bed, it sank. And he was like ‘you do praise and worship, you dance, so whe your God deh, whe your baby deh?’ And he showed me the young lady who wasn’t married and the lady who wasn’t married with their babies and he showed me some other persons and I just draw the screen around myself. And he was saying to me, when the nurses do the last call just tell them that you are going to the bathroom, go all the way to the top and jump off the building cause you don’t have no purpose.”

Nickeisha was so broken by the experience that she had decided in her heart to jump. However, God in the nick of time, sent one of His servants to encourage Nickeisha during this dark moment.  Nickeisha remembers an African nurse who was to do the last check on the ward that night.

“She asked, ‘why is the screen drawn?’ You are not supposed to draw the screen because we have to see the baby. And the other lady who was across the bed told her that I lost my baby and then the nurse said, oh. And when she pulled the screen she just started to pray and she started cover my mind. She said ‘The Lord is going to give you a child that you think is like 10 children’ (which is now my son), and He is going to allow you to do things and she started to prophecy over my life and when she did that I started to feel different. I was actually planning out everything (to jump off the building) but when she was leaving she said God loves you and I will see you tomorrow and I said ok. And by the time she left, the place wasn’t so gloomy anymore and so I started to go over to the ladies and I went to the teenager and I said where is your stuff? And she said her mother don’t bring it yet, she will bring it in the morning. And I took up most of my baby stuff and I gave it to her and the other ladies and I just start walking around and giving away all the things. The only thing I kept was a blanket my mother bought and a booty.”

Since that time Nickeisha has experienced other miscarriages but she is happy for the two wonderful children that God allowed her to have; her 11-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.

Nickeisha is certainly a believer who has experienced God’s hand in her life and now more than anything else, the anointed Dance Minister just wants to make Him smile.

LaudCertainly the amazing performances and concerts that her dance group, Laud does are part of how she is seeking to please the Lord. Laud’s upcoming annual concert being staged under the theme “He Touched Me” is sure to be a powerful encounter. The concert is scheduled for October 14 and 15 at the Little Theatre with tickets available at the Theatre or at 129 Sundown Crescent, off Molynes Road in Jamaica.

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In the end, with over 2 decades of dance under her belt, Nickeisha is keen to ensure that in all things God gets the glory. “Anything you are doing for God, the moment you feel ‘flesh’ rising up, you have to say to God, take over. Because if you follow the crowd you will feed on that and forget that you are a minister. So you have to be constantly reminding yourself to say it is not for me to get the glory, it’s for God. At the end of the day whether it is that I am dancing or raising my children or being a wife, at the end of the day, I just want to make God smile.” SAH

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

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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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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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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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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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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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