Heart Praise Worship Fiesta designed to honour God
It is one thing when someone cares for children who aren't theirs, and likewise an amazing thing when they illustrate a genuine interest in the souls of the 'unsaved'.
It was out of this compassion and goodwill that the Heart Praise Worship Fest, one of St Thomas' biggest gospel concerts, was formed.
The parish's own gospel entertainer and minister responsible for the staging of this concert, Rondel Allen, most popularly known as Rondell Positive, says that he believes the Heart Praise Worship Fest is a unique event that goes beyond a concert held in Morant Bay, St Thomas. He says, as the name suggests, it's a Praise and Worship Fiesta designed to honour God.
And not only does the concert afford patrons an avenue to worship and adore Christ while having some 'holy fun', the event also contributes to other worthy causes.
Reminiscing on how it all began, Allen told Family and Religion that Heart Praise is an annual event presented by the Healthy Music Group (of which he is a part) to aid in funding several initiatives that they have taken on in St Thomas since 2008.
"When I was a sound system selector in the secular (arena) I promoted a few dances. When I became a child of the Kingdom in 2002, I remember God promised to give me a Gospel Festival in eastern Jamaica.
"In 2005, I began pursuing gospel music. (Three years later) my daughters' school was destroyed by (Hurricane) Gustav and I decided to do something to assist in the rebuilding process.
"The idea came and Heart Praise was born. We were able to raise some funds to assist. A couple of my friends, my wife and I, as teachers, began looking at problems we could solve in the primary schools in St Thomas, so we continued the event to garner funds to donate computers and other needed equipment to several schools across the parish. In 2014, the vision grew to a more personal phase where we implemented the "Heart Praise Great Start Scholarship" which, to date, has been received by 14 students across St Thomas and Portland in two years," he revealed.
Allen describes the Heart Praise Worship Fest, a name, he says, was born out of what their intentions are - that is pure undiluted praise to the King of Kings while giving their best to help others - as a family event.
"First and foremost, our mandate is to assist youngsters from an early age. Second, this is one of, if not the only, paid event across the nation where children under 12 years of age are admitted without a cost. Most important, the content and context of the event is one that encourages people of all ages to recognise their purpose (Why are you here?) and aim at living it," he said.
The "Sticks nor Stones" and "More Than a Conqueror" singer told Family and Religion this year's production will be the seventh staging of Heart Praise Worship Fest and they have had scores of testimonies from people whose lives have been transformed as a result of this event.
According to him: "My ultimate goal for Heart Praise is Secondary to that of My King. 'Many are the plans in a man's heart. However it is the Lord's will that will prevail.' (Proverbs 21:19)
"I live by that and plan, but allow what God intends of me and for me to take precedence. So while our plan is to take this event on a tour of Jamaica and beyond the shores, once God's purpose is being fulfilled in this team, we are fulfilled. Ultimately we intend to touch lives until we are empty."
The now highly anticipated event is set for Labour Day and will see many acts ranging from 'big names' in gospel to local artistes.