May 30, 2014
By no means in-depth, below are the first few lines I’d written in the aftermath of the funeral of Kawayne McAnuff, age 12, who’d been gunned down in an attack that left 13 people wounded and two dead in Denham Town in April, 2014. I’d traveled to Jamaica to attend his funeral on May 18th and was responding by e-mail to the inquiries of a friend over in the Bahamas.

The Late Kawayne McAnuff

“Yes, I trust I've been of some help to the family. In the company of the mother of the deceased, I walked to the church from the family home and had the privilege along the way of saying hello to people I hadn't seen in quite a while. The funeral service itself was quite long. After at least two hours inside the church (during which time I sat and then stood with the grandmother, Joney) I went outside to mingle with the overflow crowd on the street. There I had the privilege of being interviewed on camera by one of the local television stations and explaining what drew me from Florida to attend this funeral. I think they played the clip on the news that night but I wasn't looking. I'm trying to get a copy of it and if successful will put it up on YouTube a.s.a.p. 

“Shortly after the interview I noticed the police started coming in fairly large numbers and felt it best to leave. (Police and Denham Town residents don't usually mingle too well). Sure enough, after the young man was buried shots rang out (probably fired into the air as a salute) and the police promptly dispersed the crowd. I, of course, was nowhere to be seen. Once again I believe it is the Lord who removed me from danger.” 

Hardly a day went by over the next two weeks that didn’t see me somewhere on Denham Town’s streets. The police presence was obvious. Whether on foot patrol, or standing on the side of the road beside their marked vehicles – with bullet-proof vests on and guns already drawn – they were everywhere.

Driving through Hannah Town at night was particularly unnerving. Still standing – but barely visible in the pitch black night – was the shell of the police station that had been gutted by fire during another highly controversial shootout in 2010. That one had left close to 70 people dead.

One of the policemen whom I’d met on patrol on a previous trip actually told me that two rival gangs operated right where we were standing and that the day previous a member of one of those gangs had been murdered. On this recently concluded trip for Kawayne’s funeral (I only returned to Florida yesterday) I’d drive over that ground every night on my way home. Sometimes I’d see the police, at other times only the burned out station.  

At any rate, a week after Kawayne’s funeral I had the privilege of taking Grandma Joney and nine year old Kevon (Kawayne’s brother who’d been shot in the leg during the attack that killed his brother) on a ride to visit medical missionary friends of mine who lived in the country. There we fellowshipped and prayed. I believe the trip did us all good.

What this entire visit to Jamaica did for me was remind me of two passages that I’d like to share with you now. The first is a poem written by John Donne. It is entitled “No Man Is an Island.”


The second quote is from The Desire of Ages. After reading it again just now, I hesitated using it, for the last thing I want to do is to be perceived as judgmental. What I was looking for was the second-to-last paragraph, but after reading the context in which it is found, I thought the whole thing just too sacred for me to dissect.

The angels of heaven are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. We know not now who they are; it is not yet made manifest who shall overcome, and share the inheritance of the saints in light; but angels of heaven are passing throughout the length and breadth of the earth, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the imperiled, to win the hearts of men to Christ. Not one is neglected or passed by. God is no respecter of persons, and He has an equal care for all the souls He has created.

As you open your door to Christ’s needy and suffering ones, you are welcoming unseen angels. You invite the companionship of heavenly beings. They bring a sacred atmosphere of joy and peace. They come with praises upon their lips, and an answering strain is heard in heaven. Every deed of mercy makes music there. The Father from His throne numbers the unselfish workers among His most precious treasures.

Those on the left hand of Christ, those who had neglected Him in the person of the poor and the suffering, were unconscious of their guilt. Satan had blinded them; they had not perceived what they owed to their brethren. They had been self-absorbed, and cared not for others’ needs.

To the rich, God has given wealth that they may relieve and comfort His suffering children; but too often they are indifferent to the wants of others. They feel themselves superior to their poor brethren. They do not put themselves in the poor man’s place. They do not understand the temptations and struggles of the poor, and mercy dies out of their hearts. In costly dwellings and splendid churches, the rich shut themselves away from the poor; the means that God has given to bless the needy is spent in pampering pride and selfishness. The poor are robbed daily of the education they should have concerning the tender mercies of God; for He has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life. They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings. Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.

But Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison.

When you doled out the pittance of bread to the starving poor, when you gave those flimsy garments to shield them from the biting frost, did you remember that you were giving to the Lord of glory? All the days of your life I was near you in the person of these afflicted ones, but you did not seek Me. You would not enter into fellowship with Me. I know you not.

Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ’s life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.

All may find something to do. “The poor always ye have with you,” (John 12:8), Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ’s love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ’s rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12.

The Desire of Ages, pages 639, 640.


Recurring gifts are deeply appreciated.

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