(LATIN AMERICA) A Mission Report - Let’s pray for Jamaica and the Caribbean!
P. Ron Ward (General Director)
Let’s pray for Jamaica and the Caribbean!
Following is the mission report of M. Maria Ahn. Although she did not intend to publish this, after reading it, I was compelled to share it (with minor revisions). It moved me to pray for Jamaica and the Caribbean peoples. I am so encouraged that our most senior missionaries are still full of God’s Spirit and eager to carry out his world mission command.
My 2023 key verse is Matthew 28:18-20: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
We have been praying to pioneer Caribbean nations for the last 20 years. Last September, as we accompanied our new UBF General Director to visit Guatemala and Latin America, we were compelled to purchase a Prayer House to use for the pioneering of Caribbean nations. It was done within three days in Antigua by the powerful guidance of the Spirit. Since then we have been praying to visit Antigua on a short-term mission and to see the new Prayer House. We got a chance to go on December 31, 2022, when our granddaughter Anna-Marie volunteered to accompany us, dedicating her winter break from school. So we left together, planning for Anna-Marie to return after two weeks, while we stayed for two months.
Though we did not know how to survive, we believed God would guide us daily as long as we listened to his word and prayed through Daily Bread–as we had done in Chicago. Exactly as we prayed and believed, our loving and faithful LORD God was with us and guided us by His word and His Spirit and abundantly blessed our mission trip to Antigua and Jamaica.
First, Antigua Guatemala UBF.
It was impressive to find the UBF sign from 1976 on the Guatemala UBF church gate. 1976 is when Dr. Jose Ahn began Guatemala UBF as a self-supporting missionary and the Korean consul to Guatemala. He went there alone while I stayed behind in Korea to serve the Chongro 2 UBF chapter as a full-time shepherdess. It was necessary at that time, since the late Dr. Samuel Lee, UBF Founder, and his family moved to Chicago, along with M. Sarah Barry.
In 1979, God raised Silvia as a Sarah of faith, who established a house church with M. Noah Kang. After a few years, they joined a local church. In 1987, God sent Ana and Josue Ham as a new missionary family and blessed their ministry. God raised Edward and Silvia, who became their successors in Guatemala UBF. Since then God has raised Gilberto, Saul, Belmar, Aurora, Loren, Marifell, and Humberto as faithful coworkers. God raised three shepherd families including two missionary families: Nams and Kim and Chung. Five years ago Josue and Ana Ham entrusted Guatemala UBF to God and to Edward’s family. Last year the Hams moved to Antigua to begin their silver missionary life. As we spent time with leaders in Guatemala and studied the Bible and prayed together, the Holy Spirit worked to resolve issues and deepen our bonds of love in Christ. M. Josue Ham joyfully testified to God’s answer to prayer through our visit. We are thankful for M. Anna Seo who has served Edward’s family faithfully with online Bible study.
Second, spying out Jamaica.
We had been planning to visit Jamaica as our prayer for pioneering Caribbean nations. Then, as our new General Director shared a prayer topic to pioneer English-speaking nations in the Caribbean, we were all the more compelled to visit. However, the plane ticket was expensive, almost $1,000 per person. So we prayed for a sign, asking for plane tickets costing $600 or less. Honestly, I did not want to go, even though I had prayed for Jamaica because Koreans were forbidden to travel there, and we did not know how to begin to spy out Jamaican campuses. Then we found plane tickets for $580 per person. Sensing God's will, we could not but visit Jamaica. Later we had to pay baggage fees that increased the actual price per person to $800. I believe God closed our eyes to this so that we would visit Jamaica.
Our God was so gracious in spite of our unbelief. He opened the heart of Pastor Lee of the Korean Methodist Church, whom we had met through the Internet. He welcomed and accompanied us to visit campuses during our stay. He had been serving 100 Koreans. But after the pandemic, 98 of them returned to Korea; only two remained. So he too was ready to leave. But God sent two Jamaican girl students whom he had ministered to from their high school days. They volunteered to come to his Korean church and offer their tithes. Seeing this, the hearts of P. Lee and his wife were moved and they decided to remain in Jamaica.
Though we planned to be independent, God moved P. Lee to serve us. Since he had lived in Jamaica for over 10 years, he knew how to make the most effective use of our time. In four short days, we went to three parks where we could see Jamaican families in their daily lives. We joined the Sunday worship service with one Korean woman remnant and two Jamaican students in his nice and spacious church. And we could join his group Bible study with two Jamaican girl students. I was surprised to see that he was using a kind of UBF Bible study material. He shared that he had used UBF messages and Bible study material to improve his own Sunday message. We had wonderful Bible study, and I was moved by the sincerity of the pastor and Jamaican students. They confessed their sins, repented, and applied the word of God to their lives.
The next day we visited UWI (The University of the West Indies), the biggest University in the Caribbean, with branches in five other Caribbean nations. Though most classes were still online, God led us to meet three law students: S, D, and S in the huge campus. They were making a video to raise Saevion as a student president. S is a Christian and we shared God's word and prayed together for him to be elected as a student president if it is God's will. He invited us to his dormitory room, but we could not enter. He promised to let us know the result of the election.
We also went to the University of Technology, where we met J and R. J sang a song and danced for us when we showed interest in his very nice voice. He is an electrical engineering major in his second year. He called his classmate who was interested in the Korean language and culture. After a long talk, we invited them to P. Lee's church. Joel said he had to work as a lifeguard on Sunday and R had to join an all-day campus Beauty Contest. But they promised to come the following Sunday and answered our email when we sent the pictures we had taken together. Through these campus visits, we learned that Jamaican campuses are truly ripe for the harvest. We learned we should ask God to send harvest workers, especially through our silver missionaries who have retired and can live on their pensions.
Jamaica is a Christian country where 65% call themselves Christians. They confess their faith in God and his protection and blessing publicly in their national anthem. In such good soil hearts, many Korean cult churches are using manpower and money-power to deceive people, while there are very few Christian missionaries who serve Jamaican students. May God raise many missionaries from UBF as Bible teachers who can help students grow as disciples of Jesus and then send them out as missionaries to all Caribbean nations as well as to the ends of the world. May God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!