Truth Corps 2023
Truth Corps is all about preparing young brothers and sisters to spread the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom, and putting it into practice.
We’ve got good news of the Kingdom of God.
We’ve got good news of the Kingdom of God.
We will reign with Jesus
as a kingdom of priests!
We will teach the nations!
We will all be serving in the Kingdom of God.
It’s the last day as Truth Corps team leaders this summer, and the walls of the little May Pen Ecclesial meeting room reverberate with exuberant voices singing Bre. James DiLiberto and Phil Rosser’s upbeat song. The lyrics express vivid descriptions from the Scriptures about what life will be like for us when Christ returns.
Lines about the desert blooming like the rose and the lame leaping like a deer never fail to move me, and overall, the lyrics seem a perfect fit for our efforts over the previous weeks. Truth Corps is all about preparing young brothers and sisters to spread the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom, and putting it into practice. It’s also about being servants to ecclesias who want help with efforts they hope will fuel growth in their membership.
On this day, our small group is just nine or ten Jamaicans, six team members, and three leaders. It could easily have been a discouraging start to the little vacation Bible school that was beginning that day. Still, it’s impossible not to find a bit of optimism after feeling the energy our closing singing round brought. With only three students on the first day, our expectations were low, but on Tuesday, participation had quadrupled and stayed steady to the end of the week. On Friday, even a few community members showed up for a public lecture! We were glad some results came from our canvassing around the neighborhood the previous week.
Due to some snags getting Truth Corps up and running after our long COVID hiatus, a promising contingent of volunteers dwindled away while plans were in limbo. In the end, we only had two team members available to travel to Jamaica for two weeks and another two joining us during the second week, so spreading the word about upcoming events was left in the hands of just a few of us, with the help of ecclesial members.
Thankfully, we had time to do some preparation for canvassing before we left the US. Sis. Sydney Pittman and Bro. Judah Lange are members of Norfolk, our home ecclesia, and we were blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with them the week before we traveled, practicing how to approach strangers and try to engage them in conversation about our upcoming Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Seminar.
With the help of two other CYC members, we visited a few parks in the area and were pleasantly surprised with how many people responded positively to being approached. At least as many people accepted a flyer as rejected it, and it left us feeling inspired to carry on with canvassing activities as an ecclesia in the future. Hanging around outdoors in Virginia’s summer humidity also felt like good preparation for the climate in Jamaica!
Then, it was time to apply what we’d practiced far from home. Once we’d picked up our rental car, we drove the long boulder-lined causeway that links the airport to Kingston proper, skirted Kingston and went to Free Town, where Bro. Leroy and Sis. Loraine Johnson live. We were exhausted but thrilled to see how comfortably things were arranged for us.
Between sleep deprivation and the heat, most of us headed right to bed for a nap before supper so that we’d be reasonably recovered by the Memorial Service the next day. Being tired and overheated was something of a theme for our first week, as even by the standards of our local brethren, the weather was hot. Thankfully, we were only scheduled to canvas in the morning heat one day, and everything else was done in the late afternoon when the sun was a bit less fierce.
With ecclesial assistance, we distributed all the fliers we brought with us by Wednesday and filled the rest of our time enjoying Bible readings, devotions, and first principles workshops with the Johnson family. Bro. Lorenzo and Bro. Okeimo Johnson were able to participate as full team members with us during these activities and presented workshops and devotions for us as well, providing mutual benefit for all involved.
Our remaining team members began arriving that Saturday, and by Sunday night, we had a team of four, plus three team leaders. What a difference in energy that made! Sis. Loraine made us a phenomenal supper that evening, and we had eleven people sitting around a table feasting on chicken, rice and peas, potato salad, pasta salad, pear (avocado to us), and more.
The conversation barely let up through cleanup and carried right on into the Bible readings, and we finished the evening with my favorite activity once again: singing together. The extra voices made such a difference, and I couldn’t help but reflect on the integral part that singing played in the three other Truth Corps teams we’ve worked with as leaders and my own two trips as a team member many years ago.
The years may pass, but the joy of singing and speaking about God’s word never fades for me. It felt like the right way to end our time in May Pen. In the morning, we had one more chance to raise our voices together at the VBS, and then it was time to say goodbye, with the words “We’ve got good news” still ringing in my head. After all, bringing that good news is what it’s all about, on Truth Corps and every day in our lives.
Norfolk Ecclesia, VA,
Truth Corps Leader Team