MONTEGO BAY’S TABERNACLE HISTORY
God’s plan for our lives is not always evident in every single detail on a daily basis. Yet, as time unfolds, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. What once appeared to be a maze of unconnected events, suddenly begin to make perfect sense and the picture becomes crystal clear. We realize that god has always been on the job working out all things for our good and ultimately for His glory.
This is the backdrop against which Bro. Wesley Grant came to Sign, Orange District with his grandmother, Mrs. Victoria Hinds, to visit his father in 1984. Even after his grandmother went back home to St. Mary, Bro. Grant remained in Montego Bay with his father, stepmother and his siblings.
As is natural for the saints, our conversations ultimately turn to promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ, and brother Grant was no exception. He began to share it with his new family, but the gospel was not well received. They thought him strange and very soon he began to have problems in the home. The solution to this problem would be to return to his grandmother in St. Mary.
It was then that Bro. Grant remembered that his pastor, the late Evangelist-at-large Dennis has instructed him to communicate with him in writing, as there was no tabernacle in Montego Bay. Bro. Grant had failed to do this. Realizing his mistake, he returned to St. Mary and took a seat in the congregation when he went to church on the Sabbath. When he got an opportunity to speak with his pastor, to his surprise and to the surprise of everyone else, he was reprimanded for failing to communicate and told to resume his seat in the choir.
After visiting for a while, he felt the urge to return to his father’s home in Montego Bay. The reception was cold and so Bro. Grant began staying with some friends who were neighbors of his family. These people were very kind to him and every now and then he shared little about the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. They too thought him strange, as they had never before heard anything like what he told them.
God’s plan for Montego bay was to have a group of people in this part of the Island who would worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. So he used a series of events to open the eyes of the people to the knowledge of His kingdom.One such event was the storm of 1988, “Gilbert”. The island of Jamaica was devastated by this storm, Montego Bay was no exception. People were hungry, and as is customary, when trouble strikes, people begin to turn o God. The people with whom Bro. Grant lived were no exception. They saw the storm as the judgement of God upon the island and felt the need to begin to draw closer to their maker, so they began to discuss attending church. Bro. Grant seized the opportunity to once again tell them of God’s church. From this point forward, every time he got a chance, he shared something else with them. It seemed like a fairy tale to them. People who were all dressed alike; people who looked up and prayed; what was this man really saying. They really did not believe him, but the Lord would not allow them to join any other church.
The final blow came when two of the family members met in a serious accident, which almost cost them their lives. God laid them flat; down on their backs, where all they could do was look up to Him. There was no running away now, all they could do when Bro. Grant began to tell the gospel was listen. The Holy Spirit, on their beds of affliction, convicted them of sin and caused them to vow to God, “If You will just allow us to get off our sick beds, we will serve you.”
Six years after his last visit to St. Mary, Bro. Grant arrives at church one Sabbath morning in 1992 with six visitors, who are prepared to keep the Sabbath, that they brought their own lunches. He is embarrassed because he had disobeyed the instructions of his pastor and not communicated with him in all these years. Nonetheless, the saints are all happy to see him and his visitors. The visitors are in awe of the service. Everything is exacty like Bro. Grant says, but it is like nothing that they have ever seen. The Mercy Seat is set, and all six moved forward to claim their birthright. But the song continues, the minister keeps calling and Bro. Grant who had made up in his mind that he would just bring the visitors to church so they could see what he was telling them all these years, but not really take the seat, sits and looks on. But God was to have His way and finally he is compelled to move into the seat.
This was the beginning of the Montego Bay tabernacle. St. Kenneth Osbourne, St. Charmain Gray, St. Zepheniah Palmer, St. Joan Ricketts, St. Angela Jackson and St. Michelle Coke were the six who made the trip to St. Mary on that faithful Sabbath Day in 1992. By the next trip they were joined by St. Orlando James, St. Sandra and Junior Boswell. These were the first nine souls to be baptised. Passover 1992 saw a total of 17 souls from the parish of St. James attending the celebration. This was truly a miracle for which God is due great praise!
Bro. Grant has moved through the ranks of Deacon, Elder and Evangelist. The church has continued to grow as the saints continue to share Christ with others wherever they go.
The Lord has lit a fire here in this part of the island of Jamaica, which will never go out. You can imagine that Bishop Chase and Bishop Hamilton had visions of the church in Montego Bay, the Second City in the island. God made this possible in such a magnificent way; using a nobody, to tell everybody, that he knew Somebody who could save them to the utmost! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
After many years of struggle, the tabernacle acquired a piece of property measuring 1.7 acres in Glendevon, Montego Bay. The Lord blessed us after 19 years to settle on our land. The journey of constructing an edifice for worship began on Adar 6th, 2010 under the leadership of Interim Pastor, Elder Duwhayne Elliott who was made pastor on Abib 16th, 2012.