He stepped up to the church podium, the congregation of over 100 –– made up of Government officials, educators, teachers and peers –– looked up, waiting to hear his message.
What will this teenager have to say in his sermon? Such was the question written across most eager faces.
For the next 12 minutes, Jeuel Franklyn would deliver on his homily, keeping his listeners riveted to his word, as the service marked the start of Education Month.
In booming voice, Jeuel began: “Allow me to sincerely thank all of those who were involved in giving me this opportunity to speak to you on behalf our heavenly Father. I do not take these opportunities for granted!”
That opening declaration would cause a ripple of a murmur across the room, straightening some congregants in their seats, but it fazed not the young preacher as he smoothly transitioned into prayer.
Following that, and a few scriptural quotes tied to the theme of his sermon, Charting A Course, the teen went: “One of the most profound statements I have heard in my short but interesting lifetime was in the book Alice In Wonderland.
“When Alice met the Cheshire cat and asked for directions, the cat asked her where was her destination . . . to which Alice responded that she did not know. The Cheshire cat responded with a profound statement, ‘If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there. Ladies and gentlemen, fellow students, to chart a course, one must first understand where we have come from, to whom we belong, where we are, and how we are going to get there?”
. . . A set of questions Jeuel already had an answer for.
“I want to win souls for Christ.”
The journey along that road for the 13-year-old preacher began four years ago.
“I was preaching from the age of eight –– the first sermon was in Guyana; I preached a sermon called the Place Of Power, The Place Of Obedience, to a church congregation,” he said shyly after the service –– in a much softer tone than that when he had delivered his sermon minutes before.
That calling is just one of a few for the teenager who is a third form student of the Seventh-Day Adventist School. He knew he wanted to serve God from a very early age from watching one of his older brothers in the pulpit.
“My older brother Jamal Franklyn inspired me. I saw Jamal preaching and winning souls for God, and I decided that I wanted to do the same. He is a pastor in Mexico. When my brother was preaching, he brought tears to my eyes; and I got baptized when he was preaching. So I decided to give my life to God at the age of seven in Jamaica,” he said.
Ministering is a passion Jeuel has witnessed from the age of two in his family, who have been spreading the Word all over the Caribbean
“. . . All over the world – St Vincent, St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, Jamaica, London, Belize, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago.”
But in spite of this special anointing, Jeuel says he is still one of the boys.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Play the drums; I’m a sports coordinator; play football; I play the steel pan and guitar,” he revealed, adding that he still spent quality time with his friends who dealt with him no differently.
“My friends treat me with respect, which I deserve, and I give them respect as well, because they know this is what I do, and that I love doing it for God,” the young preacher explained.
In charting his course for life, Jeuel first wanted to be lawyer; but “I changed it to a computer engineer because I am fascinated with technology”. That aside, he reiterates that winning souls for God is his number one priority.
“It gives a sense of self-worth to know that you are doing this for God; not for yourself; and that people are receiving the message and you’re actually making a change in somebody’s life.”
His advice to his peers as they try to figure their course in life is simple.
“You are not too young to do anything for God. Just leave yourself behind and put God in front of you; and just follow his footsteps, and everything will go according to God’s plans.”