Thu | May 23, 2019

Operation Youth Reap changing lives

Published:Saturday | July 9, 2016 | 12:16 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Leroy Hutchinson

The youth evangelism arm of the Church of God of Prophecy in Jamaica is on a mission to reap more young people into the Kingdom through the four-year-old Operation Youth Reap (OYR).

The OYR was conceptualised by Leroy Hutchinson, who served as youth director in St Catherine West for 13 years and is presently a minister in the Life Centre Church of God of Prophecy in the community of Gordon Pen within the parish.

Hutchinson said the youth initiative is in keeping with the Church of God of Prophecy’s emphasis on spiritual and numerical growth, dubbed ‘The 2020 Vision’.

“OYR believes that the youth have a role to play in the growth of our church and the advancement of the Kingdom of God,” he explained.

This objective will be achieved through sporting activities, mentorship, social development, crusades and other creative means.

Indeed, Operation Youth Reap has been making an impact on young lives.

“We have seen hundreds of young men and women participating in these events. We play, and then minister to the guys and have ‘real talk’ on different issues and challenges that our young men and women face today,” said Hutchinson.

Among the topics explored in the discussion sessions are violence, relationships, unemployment, entrepreneurship and social skills.

The minister said he also encourages them to share their views on the Church in today’s society and afterwards pray with them.

“We try to bridge the gap between church and the community. We have seen tremendous results from this effort. Some of them have accepted Jesus and are now on the sports ministry mission team,” he said.

For Hutchinson, the new recruits who have fully grasp the concept are now doing the same thing, using their talent in football and netball to help social development, reach other youths and to facilitate youth transformation across Jamaica.

“I strongly believe that the OYR, corporate entities, churches and communities across Jamaica can work together in this venture, to bring even more transformation to our nation,” a confident Hutchinson stated.

Everything on the line

The mentor, who has a great passion for winning souls – especially those of young people, said he believed in it so much that he gave everything up to be involved full time in the ministry, whilst providing oversight and guidance as manager director  of the  OYR.

“It was not an easy decision, given the fact that I have two daughters. It meant putting everything on the line and exercising total faith and trust in the Lord,” he expressed.

Today, Operation Youth Reap has a capable team of leaders and over 350 volunteers across Jamaica working alongside the devout man of God in this vision, and has also been creating such an impact that he has been invited to preach and minister, not just in Jamaica but other countries – as far as South Africa.

Born in the parish of St Catherine, Hutchinson surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus at the age of 14 years in 2000.

He studied at Jamaica Theological Seminary and is a graduate of the International Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.

Hutchinson’s hands are quite full. In addition to running OYR, he is a youth missionary in the Eastern Caribbean, Assistant National Youth Director for the Church of God of Prophecy as well as National Youth Evangelism Director.

However, he is not complaining about his hectic schedule, as he thrives on ministering and being a great father for his two adorable girls – Paris and Renoya.

“I love Jesus and enjoy working with youth because of the powerful influence that God has entrusted me with and it is very simple – to whom much is given much is required,” Hutchinson stated.