God delivered me from prison – Evangelist John Martin
Evangelist John F.K. Martin has been through the prison system but has come out a stronger and more rounded individual. He has now made it his life's mission to preach the gospel and spread the word of God. Strangely enough, while at what he thought was the high point in his life, he received a prophesy to preach the gospel, but, like Jonah, he disobeyed and attempted to flee the calling. However, after almost five years 'on the run', God brought him back to where He needed him to be and taught him a valuable lesson in the process.
"Before I had got called to preach, I was a higgler in downtown Kingston. It so happened that one Thursday, a man and a woman that I've never seen before came to Princess Street and said to me, 'Kenneth, God say you fi go preach'. I was like, 'What you saying to me? How you know my name?. Then I looked around and wondered to myself, where should I go preach or who should I go preach to."
Without much more thought, he quickly dismissed the idea. "Like Jonah trying to escape, I bought a visa and fled to America because me no know who dem a tell fi go preach," he said.
"When I went to America, I got caught up in the fast world. It was all about the flashy things - money, girls, cars, gangs the whole works - all was there to enjoy. But soon, I began getting into trouble and I was in and out of lock-up," he told Family and Religion.
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME
The last time he got locked up, he said he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and was arrested and incarcerated.
"While in prison, I recalled carrying out ministerial duties, ministering the word and telling them about God. It was then I understood the full reason for my calling. In prison, Psalm 142:7 came to my mind, 'Bring my soul out of prison that I may praise thy name, the righteous shall compass me about for thou shall deal bountifully with me'.
"One Saturday, while incarcerated, I went to a Sabbath I church and there I decided that when came back to Jamaica, I'm going to go forward into evangelism without ever looking back."
Martin believes God answered his call and delivered him from prison after seven months for a reason. "God came to me in prison and said, 'Arise and give glory', and I arose and gave glory unto Him. In my quest, I decided I would want no other young man to make this mistake that I have made and end up in this prison system," he recalled.
He returned to Jamaica in 2000 voluntarily and formed a group in Cockburn Pen called FUDGE - 'Family Up Against Drugs and Guns Everywhere'.
The project was used as a medium to minister to at-risk youths in the inner city and was well supported. After doing the programme for four years, he returned to his Portmore community and got enrolled in Bible school. A year later, he received a certificate as a Literature Evangelist from the Central Jamaica Conference of Jamaica Seventh-day Adventists. For the past 14 years, Martin has been a Lay preacher at the Gregory Park Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"God has been good to me. I will never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter what comes, I'm going to remain in the church. I'm gonna continue to tell people about the goodness of God. I'm going to spread the gospel as best as I can."