From Southside to top of the class - Damion Hylton credits God for remarkable journey
DAMION HYLTON is today giving God thanks for helping him navigate his way from the inner-city community of Southside in Parade Gardens, Kingston, to completing his master’s degree in Italy while the COVID-19 pandemic raged.
Now back in Jamaica, he shared his journey on his close relationship with the Lord and how that union has powered one success after another.
Hylton grew up with his mother and three sisters, and although his father lived in close proximity, he said he was not involved in his life and development as he would have wanted him to be.
That, Hylton said, created a wedge which led to him having a fractious relationship with him.
“Growing up in the inner-city, I was exposed to the realities on crime, poverty, and inequality. My mother did her best to ensure that my sisters and I did not get involved in any untoward activities and she made sure we went to school so that we could get a good education,” he shared.
Hylton embraced Jesus as his Lord and Saviour while a student at Wolmer’s Boys’ School, through the ministry of the Inter-Secondary School Christian Fellowship.
He shared that God became real to him at a critical moment of development – at 17 when he was searching for meaning and purpose in his life.
“I was a good student but sensed a deep emptiness within and knew that I needed to connect with my creator. I got baptised in 1999 and have been following the way of Christ ever since. It has not been a journey without mistakes and failures, but God has been good to me, and as His Word says, He is faithful even when we are not faithful,” said Hylton.
Faith in God and relationships formed through church has seen Hylton overcoming ‘father wound’ and ultimately contributed to an improved relationship with him.
Other moments where God showed up big for Hylton during his undergraduate studies at the Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS), something he describes as a lesson in divine providence.
“I did not know how my tuition would be paid. Some days I literally had no lunch money or bus fare to attend school, but I kept pushing and trusting God and each step of the way He provided. I learned to live by trusting God to give me each day my daily bread,” he shared on his route to completing JTS with a Bachelor’s degree in theology and leadership with honours.
God was his source of comfort when his mother died in October 2019. Having a close relationship with her, it was difficult, but he said he felt God’s grace and comfort from the many persons who gave support. While dealing with her death, he was three months into studying for his master’s degree in management of development at the University of Turin, Italy – a joint programme with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization.
“I was in Italy for the face-to-face component of the programme from February 2020 and should have returned in May 2020; however, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Italy became the epicentre of the virus and where I was staying in Turin was on lockdown for 70 days,” he noted.
With no flights leaving Italy, Hylton was stuck there indefinitely. It was his faith in God that once again got him through the mental and emotional challenge.
He also credits his wife Marsha and son Damari, who he said were his greatest inspirations in toughing it out until he could return home COVID- free on June 21, 2020 – in time for Father’s Day.
“I completed the programme at the top of the class amid the challenges I faced. I attribute this success to God’s grace and favour and to my commitment to do my best in spite of the odds. I want to encourage anyone who is reading this to reach out to God and share with Him what is on your heart,” he said.