The Jamaica Association was organized on November 29, 1963. Delegates from the United States included Rev. and Mrs. Marlin Dossett (representing the Foreign Mission Board) and Dr. and Mrs. W. N. Gibson (Board of Religious Education). On September 11 the Jamaica Association formed their articles of Association and was officially recognized as an incorporated religious body, The Jamaica Association of General Baptists Limited. Starting with the annual meeting of the association in August 2016 the Jamaican church is planning a year long celebration in honor of the 50th Anniversary of its articles of incorporation.
Early key players in the Association were Rev. Roger J. Cazziol, a British subject, who came to Jamaica via Ghana, West Africa in 1958 where he began a ministry of missionary evangelism in the rural areas of central Jamaica. The most prominent Jamaicans in the early days were Rev. and Mrs. Alexander DeCosta and Rev. Thomas.
Throughout the years the Association has seen several projects come and go. GBIM also has deep roots in Jamaica. Faith Home had its beginning in Jamaica as did the Mission One (MVP) program. The association also has maintained a camp at Mt. Forest for several years although its campus is currently closed due to asbestos issues.
In 2015 the association reported nine churches, 521 members and 104 conversions. They have an active Brotherhood, Mission Board, National Sunday School Board, Youth department, and Womens Missionary Society. Despite Mt. Forest being unusable due to asbestos issues, the association still has an active camping program and also supports Windsor Lodge Children’s Home.
After the departure of Faith Home to Honduras, GBIM became less involved in Jamaica. Johnny and Teresa Hibbs served as missionaries, but for the most part GBIM has been involved mostly in an official capacity and in short term missions.
Three groups within the General Baptist movement have remained actively involved in Jamaica. The Henderson Church, where Charlie and Lavon Linhart served after their time as missionaries, has been actively involved as has Pastor Terry Howser and his organization Rippling Hope Jamaican Missions Teams have also been heavily involved. More recently the Jamaican Kingdom Partners have been very active with the Jamaica Association.
This year GBIM and the above partners are working in cooperation with Jamaica Association to purchase a new lot along a busy highway for the Heavenly Highway General Baptist Church. Our goal for this offering is $50,000. We hope you will join with us as together we help Heavenly Highway position themselves for greater kingdom impact. Of course we know that kingdom impact requires faithfulness and prayer as well as givers and goers.
So how can you help? Make sure your church in involved at some level with the Ed Stevens Day offering. Give through your church or send gifts directly to GBIM labeled Ed Stevens Day. Pray for the ongoing success of the Heavenly Highway Church, Pastor Phillip Pusey, and Jamaica Association.