WRITE2SHINE...

Couples in Ministry

Couples in Ministry 

By Janice S Ramkissoon

16th July 2010

 

I remember seeing the ruins of a building, not far form a field where my granddad and some men were planting corn seeds (I was a child at the time).  Grandma and a few other women were cooking food for the workers while the children were playing in the field (some of us were also planting corn seeds).  I had an inquiring mind and was very bold at that stage of my life.  I remember asking the villagers about this structure with overgrown bushes and trees surrounding it (no roof, no doors or windows…).  I found out that it was the foundation of what was an old church building (laid sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s). 

 

It was a Baptist church in Kensington District, St. Catherine, on the beautiful Island of Jamaica.  This church was planted by a pastor and his wife, who served the community from this building; teaching them the ways of Christ.  These servants were the late Mr. Benjamin & Mrs. Henrietta [Harriet] Blackwoodcouples in ministry. Their daughter, Magdalene Blackwood, married Wilmot Peddie, a church secretary who later served as a deacon (at the Sligoville Baptist Church in St. Catherine, Jamaica)—couples in ministry.  Their youngest child, Mrs. Grace James, today travels the same path in ministry, although without the open support of her husband.  The late Mr & Mrs Peddie was my grandparents and caregivers.  My husband (Vince) and I are now following in the same path of couples in ministry and it has opened our eyes to many truths. 

Growing up under the care of my grandparents, I watched them as they served in various departments within the church, while giving up their retirement years to take care of grandchildren.  I liked it when we were together, even if we had to go to choir practices, bible studies, prayer meetings, concerts, annual assemblies, harvest celebration and crusades because we were together as a family. 

However, Many times when granddad had to go to officers meetings, men’s fellowship or field’s day (where the men did odd jobs such as painting the church or cutting the grass) I could see the longing in my grandma’s eyes (one could tell that she would give anything to have him there beside her.)  The same would be evident in my granddad’s voice when grandma was off to the women’s federation meeting etc. and he had to stay home to care for us.  

As I got older, I would take on the role of main caregiver if my Uncle Donald and/or his wife were not around or our neighbour Aunt Jenny [Russell] was not able to stay with us.  That form of support gave my grandparents the opportunity to visit and spend time with their other grandchildren among other things.

 

Vince and I have found that, it can become a strain on family life, if we are not careful to stay within God’s will at all times.  Based on our experience I often think of couples who serve in our churches and within our communities and use it as an opportunity to continually pray for these couples.  Majority of these couples have to give up quality couple time so that others can experience God’s love.  Many hurting souls in our community and neighbouring towns have come to know that God cares, because these couples are using their gifts to spread His love to others.  As they continue in service for The King, they will face many struggles, especially in creating the balance at home; in their ministry, career and social life.

 

In order for these couples to be effective in their ministries, they often need to have a supportive network of relatives and friends. Without this support [as my husband and I have found] the challenges they face can be a temptation to give up.

 

There are many couples within our immediate and neighbouring communities who would have given up precious family and/or couple time and even put on hold personal dreams, in order to do what they do so well. There may have been times when the tears rolled and hearts ached, being forced to make decisions that directly or indirectly affect the family.  For this reason I would love to list the names of those couples here, just to say, “Thank you for all the time that you have given up to help individuals, like me, to reach for higher heights in the Lord.”  Even if I should create a list, I would not be able to cover half the names in our community because so many of our couples work behind the scenes.  Sometimes one partner takes the lime light while the other offers the necessary support.  So to all couples out there serving in our churches and in our communities:   THANK YOU!”

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