There’s a better way
No matter how hard your life is, God has the final say.
That's the inspirational message behind next month's play at the New Testament Church of God, The Helper.
Samantha and Azre Smith, Jermaine Jeffers, Jaden-Alex Walrond and Dominic Lambe star in novice writer Merline Daley's venture.
“It actually started out as a book six years ago,” she said. “Then one day I was at church cleaning and told one of the ladies about the story and she encouraged me to put it in a play format.
“It's about the role of the Holy Spirit. It's actually a story of a young woman who's met by tragedy in her life and with that she has to change the pathway of how she intends to reach her goal.
“She's a medical student, but ends up having to play the role of a domestic helper to reach her destination. It's a big shift.”
Ms Daley said she was inspired to write it after reflecting on all that God had done in her own life.
She was an avid reader as an elementary student in St Ann, Jamaica. She came first in her class but whenever it came time to write an exam she'd always choke.
“I couldn't understand why I was succeeding in one area, but failing in another,” she said. “By God's grace I was able to pass the very last exam that I had to take to get into high school. Looking back now, I can see how He was directing my steps. Had I passed it earlier I wouldn't have learnt about patience and how to call upon God and wait upon Him.
“It's the life lessons He teaches us along our journey that are more important than us reaching our actual destination. The process is more important than the major goal itself. That process is actually what builds your character.”
She worked closely on the project with Winsome Lambe, wife of New Testament pastor David Lambe.
Mrs Lambe's play Trapped was well received when it was performed a few years ago.
“It was an overwhelming response. It blew our minds,” she said. “The first time we did it we didn't anticipate such a positive response, but that was just a one-off thing for me.
“At the time I was praying and saying ‘What can we do as a ministry to get the message out to a wider cross-section of the community?'
“When we looked around and saw everything that was going on with the Island we wanted to offer something that people could relate to. The performing arts is an easy way to do that. Everyone likes a play and goes to the movies, especially young people, so we decided to do something that would reach that demographic as well.”
Mrs Lambe understands that not everyone feels comfortable going to a church.
“But you can receive the same message through the performing arts,” she said. “People come out and they're laughing and having fun. It's a different environment and they don't even realise they're receiving the same message and they leave inspired.
“That's our main goal, that people would be inspired and refocus and see there's a better way.”
She believes the message is particularly timely considering how many families are struggling emotionally and financially. She dealt with her own challenges while growing up.
Her mother died when she was quite young, while her father remarried and then divorced. By the time she was a teenager she was on a hunt for love and fulfillment.
“So at that point, going through high school and peer pressure, I came to the realisation that there had to be something more,” Mrs Lambe said.
“I went to a meeting one day and Dr Cindy Trimm was speaking. Her message really reached my heart and so from that point on I was impacted and haven't looked back since.”
Both Mrs Lambe and Ms Daley want people to leave from the play with a sense of hope and deeper faith.
“No matter what people are going through, how grim things might look or how dark it might be, there's a light at the end of the tunnel,” Mrs Lambe said. “We have to hang in there, hold on and keep the faith.
“Some people might not believe in God — because we know not everyone believes — but everyone has some source of inner strength, whether that's their inner voice or a higher spirit that's leading or guiding them.
“This play isn't just for only people of faith, but for everyone.”
General admission to the October 2 and 3 event at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts is $25; patron tickets are $40. Tickets are available from Music Box and People's Pharmacy. The show starts at 7pm; doors open at 6pm.