Pastor Deloris Huntley: Spiritual mother of the community
MUIRHOUSE, St Ann:
She has been described as the spiritual mother of the community of Muirhouse, St Ann, and for the past 14 years, her work as pastor of the New Testament Church of God in the area, has garnered much attention both locally and abroad.
But for Pastor Deloris Huntley, who has been blessed with the gift of prophecy, her mission is simply one of fulfilling the wish of God.
"She is a spiritual mother to the community and school (where she also teaches)," Dallace Grey, a member of the congregation told Family & Religion.
"She visits the hospital whenever she gets the time, she visits the sick and shut-ins, and if she can't find the time she sends us to visit the sick," Grey added.
The work of Huntley, however, is not confined to spirituality, Grey further explained.
"I'm using myself as an example, I could not read, but because of having this Wednesday night Bible study, I come and I pay attention keenly to what she is saying to us, (now) I can help myself. I am so proud of her, she's a great woman.
"My pastor, I just love everything about her and the community love her. She's a tower of strength to us here. She believes you can reach the level of what you want in life, you just put your mind and heart and believe in God that you will make it."
Another member, Nodia Wisdom, describes her pastor as "a very passionate woman of God, our role model who believes in discipline and who has the heart of the church and the community at all times. What I admire most about her, she is a giver; she doesn't just come in the community and teach and preach, she participates in things and gives to different causes."
"She is a very good pastor not only for the church, but for the community and I believe she was sent here by the Lord," is how Princess Campbell sees Huntley.
One aspect of the pastor's tenure that a lot of people look forward to is Deliverance Saturday, held every third Saturday of the month. People travel from all over to attend and there have been testimonies of healings, miracles, and bondages being broken.
The Sunday services host the same kind of deliverance.
"I remember one lady came, she had three months to live, the doctor gave her up because she had cancer of the blood," Pastor Huntley recalled.
"I was there ministering and I stopped and said, 'somebody is here with a condition, a life-threatening situation,' and the lady stepped out. I said, 'stand in the passage way, in the aisle,' and she did, and I spoke the word and the Lord cleared the cancer and she was totally healed. The doctors confirmed that. There was another one, she had something inside of her, she vomited it out right there. So they kept bringing people."
Pastor Huntley has also been credited with renovating the church building.
"Our church wasn't like this when she came here," Wisdom noted. "We didn't have any tiles, we didn't have any drapes or podium up there, the outside, maybe you would pass it because it wasn't looking like a church and she did outreach programmes and drives and got it to be like this."
Showing real concern for matters outside of the church, the pastor bemoaned the lack of opportunities for the youth in the community, pointing out the high level of unemployment.
However, with the church preaching, encouraging, and doing prayer walks through the streets of the community, hope for the youth has been rekindled.
"It has been 14 successful years, I've never had a year wherein I regret coming here," Huntley said.
"I came because the Lord told me He was sending me here, so before I was transferred, I knew I was coming here.
"God has gifted me where I will prophesy and things happen, and tell the people things that I see, and in weeks or months or years, it happens and they remember that I said that. Persons have come from all over because they heard what would have been happening here. People came from overseas, people started giving to the church."
The pastor has been invited to preach overseas on several occasions and has done so in England and the United States.
Among the many things accredited to Pastor Huntley since she became minister at the church in 2002, are the launch of a soup kitchen to provide hot meals for persons; social and spiritual interventions; improving the physical appearance of the church including the building of a bathroom, storeroom and patio; community members being able to pursue tertiary education; catering to the social needs of the congregation; establishing a powerful deliverance fasting; acquiring electronic devices to enhance the delivery of church services.
With all her work with the church, Huntley still finds time to teach at the Muirhouse Primary and Junior High School.
She has also published a book, A Journey From Tragedy to Triumph.