Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Red Hills, that is. That's a little church in the hills just outside Kingston, Jamaica.

We first went there in 1992 on a mission trip from FBC Pelham. They were starting an Education and Community Service Building, and needed help. At the time, there was an SBC missionary in Jamaica and he recommended we go help them.

We did, taking about 40 people to put on VBS Bible Clubs at Red Hills, and at Cypress Hall Baptist, a "mission" of Red Hills. We've been back 4 times since on other mission trips, and another 4 times on vacations. We have a lot of friends there.

A few months ago, Pastor Calvin Matthews asked if I could come down for the dedication of their new building, now complete. He asked if others might want to come along and so 4 of us regulars are headed that way shortly. He also asked if I could bring greetings from FBC Pelham, and I agreed. I think I know what I'll tell them, in addition to expressing our love for them and our honor at being there.

One thing is that there's never been a day when they were able to complete the building, right up until the day God enabled it. When FBC Pelham needed a new building, we drew the plans, talked to the bank, and then called the contractor. Red Hills had to depend on the Lord to provide the funds before they could complete it, and it took 14 years. Truly, unless the Lord builds a house, the laborers work in vain who build it. Their work was not in vain.

Another thing is that God does not dwell in buildings made by hand. If they want the Holy Spirit to use the building, they're going to have to fill up and take Him on in there. I have no doubt that they will.

Last, Paul told the Hebrews that they were to prompt one another to love and good works, assembling together in the process. They're going to have a tough time prompting each other to more than they've already prompted in some of us from FBC. That, alone, will be a tough act to follow.

Look around this coming Sunday. Trust me .. if you only knew, you'd wish you were where I'm going to be.

Lord willing.


At 9:04 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Gary Snowden said...


Have a wonderful trip and I'm sure your greetings and "charge" from the church will be well received. It sounds like you all have a very special relationship with the Jamaican church. Those kinds of ongoing partnerships are a wonderful blessing.

At 9:12 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Have a great trip. That has to be exciting.

At 9:43 PM, November 20, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Gary ... and Kevin.

It was a terrific celebration. Peg and I were asked to ceremoniously open the main doors into the new building, and our friends Neal and Debbie Blackwelder were asked to do the same for the door and the window connecting the sanctuary into the new building. It was a real honor and privilege, if also humbling, to do that.

The charge went well. I said "Unless the Lord builds a house" .... then I looked back at the pastor and repeated it and the people started speaking up ... I repeated it to the ladies in the choir and they jumped in .. and the whole place said the rest of the verse.

The did the same thing when I said "The Lord does NOT live .... " ... and then repeated that. It was SOOOO invigorating.

A new thought struck me that I began with .. this little church sits atop a 50' hill that's so steep the driveway has 2 switchbacks in it. I told them they were to be a light on a hill ... and about 50 folks started shouting "That's right!!!". Then I said I knew they would be, for the reasons I mentioned in the last post.

I also mentioned that, because they had to wait on the Lord ... they started this in 1991 ... that the Lord says they WILL mount up with wings and they WILL renew their strength and they WILL run and not be weary and they WILL walk and not faint.

If you guys could preach at Red Hills, you'd cancel your return flight.

But the best reaction .. when I got to the mike I turned to the pastor and said "Brother Matthews .. I'm going to have to say it .. " then I said that to the ladies in the choir and then to Alfonso, the drummer .. they all said "Go ahead". So I said to the crowd "Some of you may not know .. I'm Bob Cleveland, from Red Hills Baptist Church ... they started shouting and clapping and I said "and I'm your missionary to First Baptist Church of Pelham". Corny, sure, but they love that to death.

I'll do a post about the time there (terrific) and the trip there (think missing THREE flights in ONE DAY in ONE AIRPORT).

At 10:26 PM, November 20, 2006, Blogger Benji Ramsaur said...

Hey Bob,

I just read your comment on my blog. It was good to hear from you. I hope I did not embarass you at all. I thought that if I made things concrete that I would communicate what I was trying to say better.

Also, thank you for the compliment and I think your belief that God punishes "sinners" is right on.

God bless you brother.

Benji Ramsaur

At 7:38 PM, November 21, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Benji: No embarrassment at all. I was humbled, frankly, that you seemed to indicate that I am a solid Baptist but still outside the "mold" on many issues that the Bible does not seem to describe a "mold" for.

In fact, it's ironic you commented on this string of posts. It was the Red Hills Pastor, Calvin Matthews, who said to me some years ago "Why do WE think that God's allowing lost sinners to go to hell, which was their choice, is not ALSO an expression of His love for man?"

I recall being speechless when he said that.

Still am.


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