Christians help revitalize Jamaican fishing villages.

By March 18, 2005

Jamaica(MNN) — Jamaica’s Prime Minister PJ Patterson is calling for the removal of obstacles to eliminate poverty and disease.

He made his remarks at the opening of the South Africa, African Union, Caribbean Diaspora Conference. Leaders are looking for ways to help the poor find a way to support themselves.

Food for the Poor’s Angel Aloma says that’s at the heart of what they do. They’ve already launched a program that helps rebuild whole fishing villages. “We revitalize a whole community by buying them four larger boats with Yamaha motors on them. We build two sheds where we put freezers so that they can freeze some of their catch. We have met with a tremendous success with this program.”

Not only did FFP help with equipment, but they also taught the crews how to go deep sea, for better catches. It’s a timely move with the country facing environmental issues like heavy deforestation, polluted coastal waters, damaged coral reefs and air pollution.

Aloma says they also teach the trade to the young people. He cites the story of the disciples fishing all night, coming up with an empty net, and being told by Christ to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. As the story goes, when they brought up their nets, they were so full, the boats threatened to sink. Aloma says they’re simply helping the Jamaican fishermen to ‘cast their nets on the other side.’

The project is also partners with the local church, following Christ’s model of teaching people to be ‘fishers of men’. “Maybe it’s a little cliched by now, but it’s so true. You can give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but you can teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime, and that’s precisely what we’re doing with God’s help.”

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