A BRIEF TOUR
Soon after the campaign at Victoria Park, during the Christmas holidays of 1967, a group of the young men (most of whom had attended during the training week) decided to go on a preaching tour through three villages. They planned to preach in Troumaca, Rose Hall and Sandy Bay. The group consisted of Sam Soleyn, Olaremon London, Elliot Glasgow, Ephraim France, Jimmy Bracken and Clayton Soleyn. Terry Thomas yearned to go along but was unable to obtain leave from his job. The group gathered in Kingstown at the Wharton's house before departing for the village of Troumaca. Ralph provided the group with enough money for food during the entire tour.
They arrived in Troumaca by bus from Kingstown and soon secured the keys to the public school building in that village. They had been previously granted permission to use the school buildings in both Troumaca and Rose Hall. They busied themselves in arranging the benches for the expected audience. They set up their public address system and were ready to begin their evangelism of Troumaca.
The school house had no individual class rooms but had two floors (the meetings were held each night on the upper floor). It was equipped with electric lights and had a kitchen. The young men were thankful for the kitchen because they had to cook for themselves that week. For public address system, the young men used an old amplifier and two speakers which were frequently used by Ralph. However, it was necessary for them to use a transformer to step-down the local 220 volts to the 110 volts needed for the amplifier (that transformer proved to be the undoing of the public address system in the village of Rose Hall). Thus two years after Ralph had first preached in Troumaca, a group of his converts on their own initiative were there preaching in the same building where he preached.
Each night they preached the gospel as they understood it. However, as it was in 1965, so was it again in 1967. The majority of those who attended were young people. There were no direct converts due to the actual preaching done each night. However, during the time spent in Troumaca, Jimmy Bracken persuaded Alvin Lewis, a young boy of that village, to become a Christian. Alvin was baptized before the group left Troumaca. After the meeting had ended in Troumaca, two boys from Rose Bank, Noel Soleyn and Junior Henry, were baptized. Noel had attended the meeting in Troumaca. He, in turn, talked to his friend, Junior Henry, about becoming a Christian. They were both baptized the same day.
Apart from the conversion of these three young men, one other memorable incident occurred during those few days in Troumaca. One night that week as the invitation was being given and as the audience was singing, a young lady from the village of Rose Bank walked up to the preacher desiring to become a Christian. When the meeting was over and the people had departed, the group of young men talked about the night's meeting. They were delighted that someone had decided to become a Christian. Their efforts had not been wasted, they thought. They made plans to go down to Rose Bank the following day and baptize the young lady. Little did they know what awaited them the next day.
They went to Rose Bank the following day and arrived at the young lady's house; As they stood at the gate they heard what seemed to be an argument going on inside the house. They soon discovered that the young lady's mother was trying to prevent her from being baptized. The young lady seemed resolute in her decision to become a Christian and protested her mother's refusal to allow her to be baptized. The young men standing at the gate did not know exactly what course of action to follow. However, sensing the hostile atmosphere, they remained in the street. The girl went out to meet them, but her mother pursued her, trying all the while to dissuade her. The girl could not be easily dissuaded, she was determined to be baptized. By that time the girl's father joined the fray, spurred on by his wife. When the girl's parents saw that she would not heed their words, but that she was set on being baptized, they tried to stop her bodily. They held on to her arms and tried to turn her around toward the house. They were then in the street in front of the house. As she struggled to get free, she fell on the ground. While she was lying on the sandy street, her mother began to beat her with a stick. The young men stood and looked on, overcome by a hollow, helpless feeling. The young lady's parents then held her by the arms, helped her to her feet and took her back to the house. She was never baptized. It is sad to relate that she died about three years after that incident occurred.
The young men's efforts in Troumaca came to an end on Friday night of that week. However, before that night, Terry Thomas managed to join the others for one night. He would have gone on the entire tour with the other boys but was hindered by his job. All the north Leeward buses left Kingstown at about 2:00 P.M. daily, at which time Terry was still occupied by his work. Late on Tuesday afternoon of that week, he succeeded in finding a ride on a truck (that transported bananas). He arrived in Troumaca a short while before the meeting for that night began. He spent the night and went back to Kingstown early the next morning.
On the Saturday morning after the meeting ended, the group was temporarily disbanded. The young men went back to their respective areas so that they might be able to fill their preaching appointments. On the following Monday the young men regrouped and headed for the village of Rose Hall. Again they were allowed to use the primary school building. They installed themselves and prepared for the night's meeting. In Rose Hall they were forced to preach without their public address system due to a mishap. One of the young men in setting up the public address system, stepped up the current rather than stepping it down, consequently the amplifier was burned up. They preached for two nights in Rose Hall but made no converts. Although they made no converts in that village, they were gaining in experience. They were learning how to organize themselves, and to preach in public. They were not prompted nor advised by the missionary (although he provided them with money for food), they acted on their own initiative.
The year was almost ended and although they had planned to go on to Sandy Bay, they changed their plans and decided to go to Sandy Bay early in the new year. Accordingly the group again disbanded, after having agreed to meet in Kingstown soon after New Year's day. They went back to their separate homes for Christmas. A few days after New Year's Day, the group reassembled in Kingstown, then departed for Sandy Bay. They rode the bus to that village and found Jimmy Bracken eagerly awaiting their arrival. They were directed to the house where Jimmy lived and having deposited their belongings, they proceeded to arrange for the night's meeting. However, before darkness fell, Jimmy took the other young men to a river on the side of the village toward Owia where they refreshed themselves in the cool, clear water. The news was spread around that a gospel meeting was about to begin in the village that night.
Sandy Bay had no electric lights at that time (and still does not have even today). When it was dark, they lighted their hurricane lamps and went out on the main street. They began to sing and as they did so, the people began to gather around. One of the young men preached a simple lesson on the great truth of forgiveness of sin through Christ. When the invitation to become a Christian was given, no one accepted it.
On the second day of their stay in Sandy Bay, Jimmy suggested that they should be divided into two groups. He further suggested that one group should go to Owia while the other group remained in Sandy Bay. According to his plan, that night Jimmy, Clayton and one or two of the young converts from Sandy Bay rode a truck to Owia while the rest of the group continued Preaching in Sandy Bay. In Owia Jimmy and the others who went to that village conducted a brief meeting on the public school ground. Clayton Soleyn preached on that occasion. No converts were made in either village that night.
On the third night Sam Soleyn and a few others went to Owia while those who went to that village on the previous night remained in Sandy Bay. Again there were no converts that night. The group that remained in Sandy Bay that night returned to Jimmy's house first. They discovered to their dismay that all their belongings had been stolen. Later when the rest of the young men returned from Owia, they were also dismayed at the news that their belongings were lost. The theft of their clothing and money put a strain on the young men (almost all their clothing and money was stolen). They were, therefore, forced to curtail their stay in Sandy Bay. So they returned to their homes leaving Jimmy to continue his work in Sandy Bay. Their campaigning as a group was temporarily discontinued.