We look forward to Brandon and Kendall Byrd coming on staff full-time starting this fall! They will move to the Harmony House to live and serve alongside the people of Harmons. Both Brandon and Kendall have been to Jamaica numerous times for many years now. Brandon is best known in the community as “Sleepy” from his two years on Summer Staff – 2013 and 2014. Both of the Byrds are well-known and widely-loved by community members and will come on board with some strong relationships already in place.
The Byrds live in the San Diego area of California and have been married for two years. Brandon graduated from California Baptist University with a degree in Construction Management. Kendall also attended CBU and graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies and has been working as a first grade teacher. They bring a wide variety of skills and talents, but overarching all of that is their passion for other people.
Brandon and Kendall will be focusing on spiritual formation in the Harmons Valley. They will have responsibilities in programming, mentoring young leaders, tutoring and discipling Jamaicans. Sleepy and Kendall are both dedicated believers and God has called them to live among the people in Harmons. They have a strong desire to serve Christ and reflect His love to others. Their purpose is found in 2 Timothy 4:12 where Paul exhorts Timothy to live a life that sets an example for others in their speech, conduct, in love, and in faith and purity to each other.
Please join us in praying for Brandon and Kendall as they prepare for this exciting transition in their lives.
A Vibrant Transition
When we first brought Clinton O’Connor on staff as the pastor of Grace Community Fellowship, we knew his skills, talents, and experience extended beyond the church walls. Over the years in Harmons, he has served the ministry in an increasing number of ways. He oversees Blessings In Store, serves as a Human Resources liaison for Jamaican staff, finds himself in counseling situations regularly, and leads numerous Bibles Studies and small groups. As a Justice of the Peace, he is also helpful to the ministry as a contact to the Jamaican government.
Won By One To Jamaica brought Paul Blake on staff last summer to lead the youth group in Harmons. As the teens in the community gravitated to him and we saw that group being energized by his leadership, the Ministry Leadership stepped back to evaluate how we could best use these two talented leaders to impact the Harmons community.
In the past month, a transition has occurred. Clinton is now serving as the Director of Economic Development and Staff Development, and Paul is now the lead pastor of Grace Community Fellowship.
Celebrations and recognitions have been prevalent in this change. An appreciation party for Clinton hosted 60 staff, church members, board members, and community leaders. The plaque that was presented to him articulates what we all recognize: “Clinton has successfully earned the respect of many people and has served as an Ambassador for Christ in Harmons, Manchester, and throughout Jamaica. He has set a fine example of reliability, dependability, and commitment. He has built a strong footing for other pastors to follow.”
Paul’s first Sunday as lead pastor brought a standing-room-only crowd to the Education Center, where the church is now meeting. Four people made professions of faith in the midst of the music and preaching. Paul’s father heard him preach for the first time and then took the opportunity to share himself about how proud of Paul he is, which was a meaningful, touching time for all present. Paul’s second week preaching, even more people attended the service! Our Director of Spiritual Formation, Bryan Fellers, works closely with Paul and he said everyone is very fortunate to have Paul in the community, “He is going to do great things.”
If you find yourself in Harmons this year, be sure to take a moment to congratulate Clinton and Paul and ask them about their new positions.
Harmons Hope Outreach Ministry
If you’ve been to Harmons, you’ve most likely met Big Man. Big Man has been working for Won By One to Jamaica for over 10 years and now holds the role of Jamaican Ministry Associate. He is a man who lives by the motto: “Love God, Love People, Make a Difference.” Following this motto led him to start a ministry in April 2017 called Harmons Hope Outreach Ministry. His ministry aims to reach the unreached and provide basic needs to individuals in the community. He and his team of 9 other like minded individuals provide grocery distributions, medical assistance as well as senior and shut-in breakfast supplies. They have created an Education Grant which sponsors children from the two schools in Harmons and provides a one-time financial sponsorship to assist students in their transition to high school. Their newest project is called “Teach One To Fish,” in which they empower members of the community by providing them with a means to provide for themselves. To learn more about Harmons Hope Outreach Ministry, connect with them on social media!
Our new Education Center was dedicated with a grand opening celebration on October 12th, 2018. A big thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising campaign! Since the opening, nearly 30 students are tutored here each week through our tutoring program, and the dedicated classroom space has been a huge blessing.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us -Hebrews 12:1