‘I just love being a leader’
Pastor Daphne Tobias has been a Christian for 52 years. For the last 16 years, the 85-year-old matriarch has excelled in her role as the pastor of the Sevens Road-based Jamaica Free Baptist Church in May Pen, Clarendon. In an interview with Family and Religion, Tobias admitted that although her role as the head of the near 80-member congregation is no easy feat, nonetheless, she has a fervent love for her pastoral duties.
“It’s a very hard job, but with Christ by your side, I will make it. I just love being a leader.”
Tobias told Family and Religion that her Christian journey also includes her missionary duties as she is relentless in spreading the Gospel. “When I see persons, I ask them, ‘Are you saved?’ and if they say they’re not ready, I say, ‘Time is short, and it would be best for you to give your life to the Lord now.’ I invite them to my church and tell them if they come and don’t see me, don’t leave, wait on me. And I provide a special seat where they can sit and listen to the word of God comfortably and accept Christ into their life.”
Tobias, who shared that her favourite hymn is Precious Lord Take My Hand, has also served on the choir and as an evangelist.
“Sometimes I feel like I would give up, and another time, I just feel joyful going on. You have to have faith because if you don’t have faith and resistance, then you won’t go further.”
Citing a plethora of hurdles on her Christian journey, Tobias shared that the loss of her husband in 1987 was a faith-trying experience. “I lost my husband at an early age, but I still hang on. You can’t give up because God not giving up on you.”
Tobias’ adopted daughter, Charmaine Green, described her adopted mom as a virtuous woman. “The church family adores her. She’s a no-nonsense person, very disciplined and generous. She’s very loving, and she’s everyone’s mama. She raised me from I was three years old, and she’s a good mother. If I feel pain, she feels the pain, too. As I mother that didn’t really give birth to me, it couldn’t be better. She’s one in a million.”
Amid the challenges associated with being the head of a church, an enthused Tobias said: “If I should live my life over again, I would still be a pastor ... . Oh yes!”