“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
In the verses above, God mandates that we spread the gospel. How do we spread the gospel? The answer is simple. We can spread the gospel by addressing the needs of individuals, showing them the love of Jesus.
How do we spread the gospel during a pandemic, when most minds are in a state of panic fear and a mixture of emotions? The answer remains: Address the person’s greatest need. During a pandemic, some of the pressing needs would be hope, information, food and protection from infection.
The Braeton Seventh-day Adventist Church sought to address the needs of members and the broader community through its Coronavirus Conference and the provision of protective care in the form of masks, hand soaps and hand sanitizers.
On March 15, 2020, the church held its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Online Conference under the theme, “Fighting to keep the Coronavirus out of Portmore”. Spearheaded by the Health Ministries Department of the Braeton Church, in collaboration with the Central Jamaica Conference, the special forum examined the Novel Coronavirus and how we should protect ourselves, our families and the wider community.
Our first presenter, Dr Michelle Brown, Microbiologist gave background information on the virus, explained its symptoms, possible treatments and how to prevent the spread. She also urged individuals to stay safe by practising proper hygiene and social distancing to combat the effects on society. “Whatever affects one, affects all. If one person is affected, if after a while we are not careful, that one person will transmit the virus to others, and after, a large section of the population could be infected”, Brown noted. She continued, “Whatever you do, keep yourself safe and your family members safe.”
Dr Orville Heslop, Microbiologist, presented the general characteristics of coronaviruses and compared the Novel Coronavirus to others such as SARS and MERS. He also urged individuals to boost their immune systems to minimise the effects of the virus.
Thecia Kelly and Taneka Whyte-Groves, financial accountants, then shared the economic effects that the virus would have on the nation and individuals.
Dr Dudley Hosin, Health Ministries Director, Jamaica Union, admonished individuals to keep the faith under the circumstances. Mrs Deon Henry, Health Ministries Director, Central Jamaica Conference, in her greetings, commended the Braeton Church for hosting the initiative to keep members and the community informed. She urged individuals to stay safe and healthy during this time.
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak in Jamaica, the church also provided 86 care packages, hand sanitizers, hand soaps, disinfectant wipes and over 400 masks to members and community members. The church has also installed hand sanitizers.
You may watch the Coronavirus Conference on the church’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ToT77xyIWU http://youtube.com/c/BraetonSeventhdayAdventistChurch?sub_confirmation=1
*Update. At the time of the Conference, there were 10 cases of Coronavirus on the island. As of April 22, there are 252 cases and six deaths.