Mon | Sep 25, 2017

From Rastafarianism to Christianity – Mckenhum Prendegast’s Story

Published:Saturday | April 2, 2016 | 4:00 AMTamara Bailey
McKenhum Prendegast at 26 years old.
Prendegast (right) as a child with his siblings.
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He grew up in a home where his parents and siblings all upheld and supported the Rastafarian belief. However, he was physically and mentally the odd one out - beginning to wear locks in his preteens, questioning the truthfulness of the sect's belief and later shocking the community with his decision to refrain from continuing on that journey.

"I was privileged to make the decision of being a Rasta on my own. I had often felt like the odd one out whenever the family would journey out dressed in African attire and sporting the locks: I was the only bald head in the group dressed in similar clothing, so upon reaching grade six in primary school I decided to follow into the Rasta faith" expressed 26-year-old Mckenhum Prendegast.

He continued, "Things started changing when I reached high school as my mother migrated to England and my father soon after migrated to the US. I had been around some of my father's friends who sought to teach me the ways of living as a Rasta, but it was short lived due to the migration of my parents."

Having attended church in his formative years, Prendegast found it impossible to ignore the faith and practices of Christianity.

"After becoming frustrated with my hair and the comments about my faith, I decided one day to tell my father I no longer wanted that life. Looking back into my past I realised going to church had already cemented my belief in Jesus and that it was just a matter of time for the decision to walk away. To become a Christian was an ultimate goal after leaving the Rasta faith but I decided to have some 'fun' before doing so."

But the Lord had a different plan.

"I only got about a year and some months in as the invitation to a church event titled 'Youth Congress' melted my rock-solid heart after a full night of rich worship with perpetual praise. My then pastor, Vernon Morrison, asked me a question I will never forget: 'Why don't you serve God?' I replied, ' I don't want to make any mistakes and I want to fix some things before I come'. That night I went into the dorm we were staying and prayed, 'Lord Jesus, I am going to give you a try but forgive me from now for any mistakes I will make down the road'. I got up with a made up mind the next day, surrendered and got baptised in June of 2007, got filled (with the Holy Ghost) the July at a teens camp, accepted the call of God on my life in 2009 and went to Bible school."

 

NO REGRETS

It was certainly no walk in the park breaking the news to his beloved father and though heart-wrenching then, Prendegast had no regrets.

"A few of my father's friends and my then mentors in the Rastafarian faith voiced their disbelief and disapproval of the move to leave the Rasta faith but it was my father who it hit the most. When I shared with him my decision to cut my hair there wasn't much words, but the ones that were spoken made it very clear how he felt about the decision."

He added, "I was often asked the question why I walked away which would play on my emotions back then, but wasn't enough to convince me to go back. The decision to leave the Rasta faith was not as hard on my own faith and view of God. Inwardly I always trusted more in Jesus than I did in Selasse and since Rastas used the Bible I was even more convinced it was OK to leave. It was more how persons would see me as being weak for not holding out and disappointing my father that was really hard."

Currently a student at the Bethel Bible College, Prendegast is preparing to take an exam for the exhorter licence and fully complete studies in theology.

"It never dawned on me that God would use me to speak into people's lives. I believe He has called me at a time like this to share with people His love and miracles. It is my aim to preach to everyone I encounter using my life and the anointing God gives and to cause them to see him as Isaiah saw him 'high and lifted up'.

"I have been to all the other parishes in Jamaica to preach, except St. Catherine and Kingston so far. Even though I have not preached there I have had the opportunity of doing ministry there with my mentor and spiritual father, Evangelist Carlton Daley. I have seen many miracles since going to Bible school and becoming a part of special effects ministers. Until then I'll continue to go across the island and very soon across the nations to carry the good news that Jesus saves, He keeps and He satisfies".

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com