Jamaica: Finding Community in a Crisis
The idea of an event being “churchy” is not enticing to some students in Jamaica, a country where church has become a normal part of society. Though students have a genuine openness to the gospel, some may view Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship (ISCF) events as just another religious box to tick. However, pandemic restrictions are causing many students to realise the importance of community and spiritual growth. Because of this, students are using technology creatively to stay in touch and challenge each other spiritually. Stephen, a student, says that his ISCF group has been sending prayers to each other via voice messages and using online chat groups to do Bible studies. He writes,
“I have learnt through this period that we have the ability to increase our relationship with God with just the touch of our fingers [through technology]. With the distractions of the world, such as school or work, we always found reasons not to do so. But now that those distractions are gone, we have no reason not to use technology for God’s glory.”
Since daily life has been transformed by restrictions, online groups are also a place where students can feel comfortable to process. Chelsea writes:
“One reason that has encouraged me to stay online and in touch with the ISCF is for support. I’m not really one for letting people in and letting them know my emotions, but in the ISCF it’s different. I get to freely talk about God and communicate with others that share my beliefs. I feel support from everyone here. And I’m glad that others feel the same.”
The events of the pandemic are also causing students to ponder what really matters. Debonae explains,
“The coronavirus has opened my eyes to the coming of the Lord and how he is pushing us to be saved so that we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
As this pandemic may be an opportunity to draw students closer together in community, lets pray for the IFES movement in Jamaica.
- Pray for leaders to arise among staff, teachers, and students to help build communities where students can mature in their faith.
- Pray for students to see the value in being part of a community of faith and to find creative ways to connect with each other.
- Pray that the community created during the pandemic will continue after restrictions are lifted.