Hope in the face of turmoil

written by OM International

In the heart of downtown Kingston, Parade Gardens in no stranger to turmoil. Its two neighbouring communities, Tel Aviv and Southside, are regularly at war; with numbers of violent crimes on the rise.

Teams from Logos Hope partnered with local Christian worker Nicky Carara, who has been serving in the area for eight years. Against the backdrop of war and death that the community has become accustomed to, Nicky runs a weekly children’s club; welcoming boys and girls of all ages to come and hear about God’s love for them. She says, “The people here are getting so used to gang wars that it’s deemed ‘normal’. Children come up to me and tell in detail how their father died, because they’ve witnessed it. That breaks my heart.”

Ten children gathered in the community centre to meet four new smiling faces. Crewmembers from Logos Hope led the activities, telling the children about the ship and sharing their personal stories of God’s goodness through difficult circumstances. Although initially a little sceptical of these fresh faces, the children quickly warmed to the team and opened up about their lives and issues.

At the end of the day, the children were split into smaller groups to discuss the message they had heard. Payton Mader (USA), a member of the deck crew, asked the girls in her group what she could pray for. Two girls said that all they wanted was to have their dads back. Both girls’ fathers had been shot dead in gang violence. Payton reflects, “It shattered my heart. A deep hope is needed and that can only be found in God.”

According to Nicky, fatherlessness is one of the main factors behind the disorder in the area. She says, “Once, a friend came to help and asked if he could walk a group of boys home. One of those boys went back to his mother and told her how happy he was. The little boy’s father had been killed, and he was still hurting from that. It was simply a walk with an older man to whom he could look up, but just having a man around for that day to care for him and walk with him made such a difference.”

As the only Christian worker in the area, Nicky says the teams from Logos Hope offer invaluable support with their hands-on work. She recalls great collaboration when previous crewmembers spent time at her outreach in 2017; taking time to teach the children and demonstrate God's love.

She adds, “God always comes through. I’ve seen many miracles where God has provided financially in urgent times of need. I do this because God loves these people, and I believe the Holy Spirit can transform this area.”

Outreach teams from Logos Hope will continue to work with Nicky over the coming weeks; sharing the message of hope through God’s love with young people in Kingston.