Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
By the time this week is over, the Lord's army may have a few more soldiers.
Jamaica College's Gospel Crusade 2013 kicked off on Tuesday with the first- and second-form students. The theme for the crusade is 'The War Is On: Whose Side Are You On?' Guest speaker for day one, Anglican priest the Rev Leslie Mowatt, told the boys the question wasn't a rhetorical one, it needed an answer. He said the line between good and evil was so thin, there was no space for the "undecided".
"There is a war on for your lives, for your souls," he said. "The cosmic contest between good and evil continues day-by-day, breath-by-breath, choice-by-choice you make." A former member of Byron Lee's band, Mowatt said he understood the lure of the party life but there was a better way.
"I know that praising the Lord is so much more beneficial than jump and wave until 6 o'clock," he said. The boys were encouraged to be like Samuel and Jeremiah, who were called to serve God at ages seven and 13, respectively.
"Jamaica needs young men who are honest and true and good and upright," he said. "To lift us up out of the slime and muck and corruption that we're swimming in right now." JC's Principal Ruel Reid said it was important to nurture and guide the students in the right way. He said he understood our frailty as human beings, and that we are prone to mistakes.
"One reason why we have this crusade every year is to give you the antidote that in Jesus, he gives us the power, he gives us the strength to overcome evil." He asked them to note that many persons who were financially wealthy, were quite unhappy.
"If you want to really be excellent young men, then make our living God the saviour and master of your lives." The inspiring words were interspersed with prayer and foot-stomping choruses. Counsellors from various churches met with boys who either wanted to commit to God or recommit their lives. Other boys asked for prayer and counselling to deal with issues in their personal lives. Matthew Thomas, a second-former, was experiencing the crusade for the second time.
"It's a very good thing, I enjoy it," he said. "But I would have loved to see more boys participating (in the sessions)." For those who did stick around though, they pledged to make changes to their lives.
"I've learned that the enemy is trying to use popular music to persuade young people's hearts," said Matthew White, a first former. "I'm going to stop listening to certain types of music and I will certainly be praying hard."
The crusade continues on Thursday with third- and fourth-form students, while on Friday, the fifth- and sixth-formers participate.