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I was born in Chapelton, a small rural town in Clarendon, Jamaica. My father was a minister of religion who pastored ten churches across Northern Clarendon and my mother was a housewife. I committed my life to the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 14 while I was at a church youth camp. I attended Ardenne High School in Kingston and was very involved in the school choir. The renowned Noel Dexter was our choir master. Choir was my life outside of classes at Ardenne. As a teenager, my Christian life grew through the Bible Studies provided by our church youth group. Later on, this love for Bible Study grew when I went to the University of the West Indies, Mona. I became involved in the University Singers and the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). My spiritual life grew through my involvement with Hall Bible Studies, weekly IVCF meetings, retreats and camps. I became a part of the executive of IVCF (now UCCF). I was also involved in Youth For Christ’s outreach efforts across the island through Discover Jesus and Encounter programmes. I was a part of a singing group that ministered at these events.
My intention upon leaving UWI was to become a teacher but my life took a detour. I became involved with the gospel group, David Keane and the Sunshine Singers. This involvement meant being a part of a full-time ministry to take the gospel to high school students right across Jamaica. This meant a life of faith since the only compensation I received was to have my rent paid. I had three of my sisters living with me. I had to provide for them. They were all in school. God was good and we always had food to eat. I was in full-time ministry for two years and later went into teaching at Ardenne High School. One of the most fruitful times of my life was the two years I spent ministering full time gospel music. I saw many young people make commitments of their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the same time, I became involved in a relationship with Rawle Tyson, whom I met in IVCF at UWI. Rawle was a serious Christian youth leader who was very passionate about studying the Word of God and his relationship with the Lord. We got married in December 1979. Later on Rawle was one of the leaders who started a non-denominational charismatic church that was born out of a revival that had swept the UWI, Mona. Rawle had been at the forefront of this revival led by IVCF.
We later relocated from Kingston to St. Elizabeth where Rawle became one of the managers of Jamaica Broilers fish farm project, Aquaculture Jamaica Ltd. Our first child Mikaela was then one year old and our son Jonathan was born while we lived there. Later on Sara was born after we had moved to Mandeville in 1987.
We returned to Kingston because Rawle had purchased a fish farm along with some other young men. He was the managing director of Fellowship Aquaculture Limited. He also became involved again with the leadership of the church, then called Mona Fellowship. I had gone back to teaching. On December 23, 1997 our lives were turned upside down.
Rawle was shot by gunmen on his farm and left for dead. He barely survived and was left paralyzed from his chest down. His faith helped him to not give up. He used his wheel chair as his legs and went on with life. He had by this time completed a Masters in Theology. After the paralysis he went to complete a doctorate in Christian Ministry from Columbia Theological University/United Theological College. A few weeks after achieving this milestone, Rawle had another lifechanging occurrence; he suffered a massive stroke that took away his communication skills.
This was devastating for me since now his greatest strength, his communication skills had been destroyed. I found this even more overwhelming than when Rawle was shot. I had to spend time in prayer and in reading the Word of God to gain the right perspective on our situation. I came out of that time of searching with some key scriptures that have become my fixed points:
2 Corinthians 4: 7-11 (NIV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but no in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but no destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesu, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Those are the promises that I hold on to. That is my hope.
You can click to listen to one of my sermons along with sermons that my husband had preached before his stroke.