An inspired activist group has joined in the fight against social violence.
With an extensive rate of sex, drugs and violence, the Movement Association, headed by noted Youth Pastor Keith Evans and Evangelist Anthony Gilbert is seeking to mentor and promote Christianity in the High schools and Junior High schools of Grand Bahama.
During the month of April, the intent is to to focus on stopping the acts of violence, and lesser negative happenings in the lives of young women and men.
Pastor Keith Evans and Evangelist Anthony Gilbert, expressed their aims during an exclusive interview at The Freeport News on Wednesday,(April 10) projecting, their ‘Jesus for the Schools’ theme. Evans and Gilbert said the youth of today’s era are looking for guidance and love in misleading areas.
“I think a lot of times these young people tend to be plugged into the wrong source, bad company. The Bible says that evil communication corrupts good manners.
“If the electrical socket is faulty, then you are going to burn up the appliances that are plugged in, or the breaker is going to trip, and if the breaker is not working, then you are going to mess up your appliances.
“Young people find themselves messed up, because they are simply plugged into the wrong source, bad company, bad relationships, and they just make bad decisions.
“A lot of our young people just want to be cool. They want to be accepted. They want people to like them, but not everybody is going to like you and not everyone is going to accept you.
“You can be the nicest person, but you will have someone who doesn’t like you and that’s just the way it is.
“We want to plant the Word inside the young generation. We want to make sure they are a part of a youth department and get with their (respective) youth leader.
“We are trying to form a big brother/ big sister mentorship, and teach them to make responsible and intelligent decisions going forward. The core of violence can be prevented, if students realize there are solutions to their problems such as seeking the gospel.
“The concern of gun violence, anger and bullying is very high. We want these students to know that we are here not just from a spiritual aspect, but to try and help them conquer the battles they are facing. We are going to present the gospel to them, but we are going to deal with other areas that we believe they are struggling with, like peer pressure, sex outside of marriage and explain to them why not to do these things,” said pastor Evans.
He had some advice for parents/guardians as well.
“A lot of times, parents/guardians are saying ‘hey don’t do this’, but you have to let them know why they should not do it and be real with them. You should be able to say to them ‘hey I have been down that road before.’
“A lot of parents have made mistakes, and they fail to be real with their kids.
“Forty or 50 years ago, there were parents who now have children on every island, due to lack of responsibility, and they know it, so they should be able to talk to their youth and explain to them what experiences they went through and try to prevent them from making the same mistakes.
“I believe we speak an English language in which our young people don’t really understand. You can speak the same language, but that don’t really mean, the kids understand.
“Kids have a proclivity where they want to be able to feel you. They like for us to be real, and we have to keep it real with them,”
continued Pastor Evans.
Evans and Gilbert along with other members, Pastor Omeko Glinton, Pastor Brian Carey, Minister Carvan Ferguson in Abaco, PJ Roberts, Evangelist Harvette McIntosh, have all pastored and fostered in many church and business establishments. However, the claim an obligation of due diligence and to spread the gospel to other islands in The Bahamas as well.
Evans also noted the organization is seeking to recruit other young leaders, but there must be a training ground.
“We are going to forge a relationship and see to it that they are involved in positive activities.
“We are trying to teach them manners, respect, leadership and other important principals that are vital to bringing up our young people in today’s culture.
“We call them the Y Generation. Yes we have social media, but even though the youth are electronically inclined, they are becoming less sociable.
“Phrases like ‘good morning mam, good morning sir, excuse me,” are lacking.
“Back in the day it was always ‘good morning sir or mam, and back then we were so sociable. Now today, it is grossly lacking amongst our young people.
“The movement is something which we will be preaching the Word of God, but we are also going to teach them why learning is so important.
“You can have all the talent, you can have all the education, and you can have all these things which will carry you places, but it is not going to keep you there.
“The movement is real and we do not just want to be prisoners of the moment where we react to certain things that happen in one day or happened for a period of time. We want to be continuous.
“We do not have any ulterior motives or any hidden agendas, we just want to make an impact. We have to go out there and do something. I do not think persons should have to wait on the government or their pastor to go out there and make a difference, because you would be amazed by how many young people would come and sit down and listen to what you have to say.
“We call it the movement, but the theme is ‘Jesus for the Schools’ which is a means to evangelize, execute and enlighten. We just don’t want to go to the schools for one day and leave them like that, we want to reach out to them on a continual basis,” he said.
With other male mentorships and organization evolving, the Movement is set to have continuity.
Gilbert who has been an activist for years against violence, disclosed he has sent petitions to schools many times, but they were left on file.
“For about two to three years now, I have petitioned some schools. I have written letters specifically and dropped them off myself to these various schools.
“The letters entailed a request to come into the schools and allow us to speak with the kids, but sadly nobody ever saw the need to respond. They told me they will leave them on file for the Ministry of Education.
“Just recently we heard about the 15-year-old that was stabbed to death because of bullying, and because bullying is so real in our school. What these kids are faced with today is unbelievable compared to our time in school.
“We have our children being preyed upon by homosexual teachers, and this is so real. You would honestly be surprised by how many kids have been introduced to lesbianism, and homosexuality by these teachers,” he ventured.
Gilbert voiced his concerns for the youth and expressed that their livelihood at home, may be the reason for their broken behavior.
“So many of our children come from broken homes, so it is our intent to reach them, because seeing that some of them were brought up in a single parent home, they are not being taught the principles and morals of life. So when they get out there, they are introduced to all sorts of things, and there is nobody to turn to.
“Everything starts with home, even though the kids graduate and they get out into the world, they still must have that inner peace and that surety as to who they are.
“The Bible says we are to go into the highways, the byways, the streets, the hedges and compel them to come in, so we are going into the schools to reach out to these students.
“Many of these females get involved with relationships with older men. Why? It’s because they are looking for that father figure. We need to reach out to them and let them know we are here for them. A lot of them want to be loved, but they are finding love in the wrong places.
“There is hope for our children, but we just need to reach out to them and say there is hope, and that hope is in Christ Jesus.
“I truly believe that you cannot go into an institution once and then not do a follow up, because our whole intention is believing in Christ Jesus, who is the salvation and the keeper.
“We have to stay in contact with them and periodically communicate with them. We want to keep a consistent record of what is going on, and I believe that our follow-up with these children will make our association different from others,” said Gilbert.
“I have a 12-year-old daughter, and several months ago, she was being bullied in school. One day I picked her up from school, and I saw her facial expression looking entirely different, so I asked her what happened and she replied ‘daddy someone is bullying me in school.’
“Bullying brought a spirit of depression upon her”.
“There is an importance of you really being involved in your children’s life, because it gives them surety.
“Anyone can have a child, but not everyone can be a responsible parent. You need to be actively involved in your children’s lives to be able to hear their concerns.”