GEMS valued and precious for a purpose


Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Wednesday, April 17, 2019


For the eighth consecutive year in East Jamaica Conference, the active female mentorship program known as GEMS (Girls of  Eloquence Morals and Standards), gave thanks to God for leading   their ministry  which has seen significant acceptance and growth since its inception in   2011.  

The anniversary celebration this year was held on a zonal basis for the first time and saw shepherdesses in East Jamaica Conference being the main speakers at the four locations across the Conference.   

On April 13, 2019, the Shortwood and Morant Bay SDA Churches were the venues for the GEMS Anniversary divine service for zones 3 and 4 respectively with Sis. Audrey Bailey, wife of Pastor Paul Bailey and Sis. Paula Bailey-Brown, wife of Pastor Ryandro Brown, being the main speakers.

The GEMS from zone 1 where addressed by Shepherdess Sharon Whyte, wife of Pastor Alanzo Whyte, at the Stadium Community SDA Church in the afternoon of April 13.

Speaking on the theme “GEMS valued and precious for a purpose”, shepherdess Bailey encouraged the Christian young girls to be part of Christ’s crown collection when he returns to earth the second time to make up his jewels.

Noting that a gem is piece of mineral crystal which when cut and polished is used to make something valuable, precious and rear by a gem cutter, Bailey made the analogy that Christ is able to take the rough lives of people and transform them into something precious and valuable for his kingdom through refinement process.

“The intricacies of the process are worthy of the product,” Shepherdess Bailey said in a bid to explain that there is a process to go through in order to be made precious. 

“Yes, you are gems. Girls of Eloquence, Morals and Standards. You have an origin, you are of no mean pedigree.  God the master gem cutter takes responsibility for you being here. He snatched you from different circumstances. He snatched you from different homes, rough situations and challenges    too but God the master gem cutter has chosen you,” Bailey said, conveying the message that all were chosen by God and therefore of great value and precious.

Bailey did not leave the point hanging however but concluded that God has dug out many from among the

rocks but we must allow him to do his transforming work in our lives.

“He gathers you and he wants to work on you but the question is, will you allow him to work on you?”

EJC GEMS Coordinator, Dr. Yvette Castell brought greetings on behalf of Women’s, Children and Adolescents Director, Elder Claudette Genas, who in the morning worshipped with the GEMS in Zone 4 at the Morant Bay SDA Church. Dr. Castell acknowledged and welcomed the mentors of the GEMS, noting that over the years they have done a fine job in assisting the girls reach their full potential.   

“These are the sister and brothers who are charting a course for our ladies, allowing them to be Girls of Eloquence, Morals and Standards and we are really grateful for their contribution,” said.  Dr. Castell during her welcome. She also thanked the parents and Women’s ministries leaders in the various churches for their support for the program.

Shepherdess Sharon Whyte lauded the GEMS program in EJC and the initiative is a good one as it gives our young girls focus and helps them to stand out. 

Disclosing that she has been working in the educational system in Jamaica from she was 20 years old, the former school principal who now works as an education officer in the Ministry of Education   revealed that children in our schools these days are faced with many difficult situations.  She encouraged the young ladies to set high standards for themselves as they move through life.

“What we want for our young people is that they be doers of the word. Be your own authentic self. When you don’t know who you are and you don’t have a standard that you set, anything will go, and that is why we want you to keep your eyes on Jesus, as he is the standard bearer.”

EJC GEMS president, Sherika Campbell who is a member of the Hagley Gap SDA Church, said being a GEMS meant being different and set apart. “It means that I am different in speech and in conduct and I set my eyes on things above and not on things below.”

The Hagley Gap church member went further to say “while others are sitting in eloquence, morals and standards, we should stand up. While others are standing up, we should stand out and while others are standing out we should be outstanding and while others are outstanding in eloquence morals and standard, we should be the standard.”

Ashleigh Onfroy,   from the New Haven SDA Church said “being a GEMS means we exemplify God’s character to the rest of the world in everything that we do or say including our interactions with our parents and the way that we carry our bodies. In the same way that GEMS are precious and the world seeks after them, similarly, we will be that character that Christ expects us to be  so the world will want to look at us and emulate him through us,” Onfroy said.   

 Started in 2011 as the brainchild of  Elder Claudette Genas, the GEMS ministries  falls under the  

umbrella of the Women’s ministry Department of our churches  with the objective of inspiring young girls  to attain a higher  level  of spiritual, emotional and  moral standard  and to be the best they can be  in their Christian walk. Over seventy churches currently have GEMS ministries in opperation in East Jamaica Conference.  

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