Brother Smichael

Mr. Smichael

An excerpt from “A Lamb Among Wolves”

(Missionary experiences in Jamaica and the Caribbean)

 “Mr. Smichael,” a brother respectfully called among the brethren of the church.

He was the community drunk and paroled convict.  I met him in the quaint little village known as Silent Hill. And the talk was he had spent 21 years in prison for possession of an illegal firearm. I was told he wouldn’t harm anyone. His father abandoned him as a baby and as many other deadbeat fathers left him to be raised by their baby mothers & grandparents.    

Mr. Smichael lived in a little shack made of blocks, the mortar had fallen down to the ground below, and sunlight had shown through the cracks & crevice. At night raindrops blew in by the trade winds while dampness filled the darkened room.  The cold air was dubbed the undertaker breeze by the ancient inhabitants. The firefly’s lit up the ceiling shack creeping critters like an alien attack. In Jamaican patois ” Ku pan  di peenie wallie dem / Look at the fireflies Mr. Smichael, lived across the ball field where I was about to place a tent for a revival. I gave him a large print bible provided by my supporters and prayer warriors back home. I was to hire someone to keep guard from vandalism, and something divine said Mr. Smichael would fit the job fine. 

As was the custom, you waited out on the road & sought permission to enter the home. Brother Dwen, (my Jamaican Apollos)  hollered and Mr. Smichael followed with a hearty  “Inna mi yard pastor. Inna mi yard.” The makeshift shack was a one room dirt floor, the sodden mattress still wet from the dew of the morning. Signs of rat droppings flies swarming, and the stench of ganja (marijuana) filled the dampened room. Tin roof leaks were evident everywhere. Windows were broken, another token of his poverty, and  I could tell it was a sad place of depression and non-sobriety.

 I came back the next day with more brethren having been saved & baptized, surprised I was helping such a man as he. We poured him a concrete floor repaired his windows and replaced the roof. I brought him a bed board & a mattress from my Jamaican apartment sent with a blanket and pillow to rest as best as he could. I said, to my brethren Jesus did not have as such to rest his head. Mr. Smichael was jubilant and thanked us with excitement.

The tent meeting started the next week, he was there to help the brethren raise the tent and I spent time inviting him to the effort meeting. I hired him as a security guard and he worked hard to please us. He attended the revival and spent several nights on the altar. He cried his eyes out as much as he poured out his heart to God. His heart was broken and his spirit contrite. This the prototype of sinners ripe and ready to be saved. The psalmist said so in Psalms 38:14. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. The night he mourned he was very sorry for his sins, as he prayed through to the throne of grace to become born again. The Lord took him back to that time and place,  the very spot to where he sought the Lord with a whole heart. A man of God preached to him as a young prisoner.

He later joined the church, a backslider made right with the Lord, sharing a testimony of salvation, as the Spirit gave him utterance. Mr. Smichael became the song-leader, and this toothless lovely man, it was wonderful he had become a fan of all the young folk, and they respected this God-made gentle new creature in Christ. He had the voice of an opera singer. His lively choruses accompanied by Jamaican voices resonated across the hills and through ragged crevices of limestone while his joyful noise reverberated the sounds of being carefree. I baptized him in the “bapty” located in the bush country. It was a small waterhole fed by a spring from something of a ragged mountain side that flowed downward spiraling into the mysterious watery pool on the Lord’s day. Then quietly the little fountain fades away into the depth of the mountain. The Seventh-day Adventists left their work in the yam hills to look on as I  buried (baptized) Mr. Smichael in this unusual watery grave (he who had been saved). 

The community was astounded at the change in his countenance and behavior whom he credited his change to his Savior. He stayed with us about four years and was cursed with prostate cancer with no finances for treatment, he succumbed rather quickly. He was such a sickly man in the end. But in those years after he joined the church I gave him money to travel to the prison again. His son was now there. Kingston was 70 miles, few smiles did Mr. Smichael wear as he traveled there by bus. He felt sadness that his fatherhood was not all that good. But he did his best to point his kid to the Lord. He took him food and clothing and told me to pray for his soul. Recently, Brother Dwen saw his lost son on the street in Christiana. This was about five years after his fathers’ death. I preached his funeral under the same tent he has spent his time on the altar. His son had been released from prison and came home. He inquired of Dwen about his white friend and my whereabouts. He said, “My daddy spoke of him often and I would like to meet him.”

I was touched very much by Dwen’s encounter with the son of my dear brother Mr. Smichael. I hope to meet him during my next Missionary trip and I plan to ask the young man (whose father I found who left this world heaven bound,) to come to Craighead and go to the church where his dad worshiped the Lord. I ask for your prayers as I soon go there to preach in the open-air, I hope he will be there, as one of the lost that Christ paid the cost to cleanse his soul from sin, which could unite him and his dad together for eternity.  

Sister Brittany Miller had this photo of Brother Smichael and wrote: I remember him well. He cut these flowers and gave them to me. When I asked him to take a photo with me, he ran and got his shirt (he was working shirtless) and buttoned it and so proudly took this picture with me. Thank you for sharing his experience. It’s so nice to know his story. God bless you, Bro Rick. Your labors for our Heavenly Father are making a true difference in people’s lives.

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One Response to “Brother Smichael”

  1. Linda March 31, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    Sister Brittany, thank you so much for sharing this pic of you & Bro Smichael!! He was such a kind man that loved God, his church/church family & singing praises. He’s truly missed but no doubt, greatly rejoicing in his new home. 💟

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