Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America, is a beautiful land of waterfalls, rivers, and creeks. Its spectacular Kaieteur Falls, five times higher than Niagara, is one of the natural wonders of the world. Tropical forests, vast sugar plantations, bauxite mines, and many picturesque towns characterize the 83,000 square miles of this tropical country. People of Amer-Indian, African, East Indian, Chinese, and European origins live here, of whom the majority (57 percent) are Christians. Hinduism (33 percent) and Islam (9 per cent) are significant religious groups as well. Georgetown, the capital, is home to 190,000 persons.
During the Scaleses' stay in Guyana, the terrible tragedy of Jonestown shocked the world, claiming more than 900 lives. In spite of the adverse reaction produced by this regrettable incident, the proclamation of God's truth still triumphed. Two hundred and twenty-six were baptized during the Real Truth Bible Crusade in Georgetown, including the telephone operator at the hotel where the Scaleses stayed. On the closing night 37 more indicated their desire to be baptized soon.
Seating capacity in the large tent was 1,000, but on opening night an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 persons appeared. Many people had to stand also on succeeding nights. Not a few of these had already walked several miles to attend the meeting. During the six weeks of nightly services, the power of the Holy Spirit was manifested in a marked way through the spoken word and the ministry of song.
The success of the crusade was due to the combined cooperation of many individuals uniting under the Holy Spirit's power.
Roy I. McGarrell, president of the Guyana Conference; Gordon Martinborough, local pastor and coordinator; and Hilton Garnett, lay activities director and assistant coordinator for the meetings, did much of the initial planning. Harper Esmond, treasurer, and Deryck Williams, secretary, provided help and encouragement.
The Shepherdess Club, a group of ministers' wives under the direction of Mrs. Shirley McGarrell, helped pave the way for the crusade through contacts with public officials and their wives. Thirteen pastors and Bible instructors assisted in the crusade—Howard W. Cush, R. S. Caesar, Sr., Winston Patterson, Colin Parkinson, Leon C. Wilson, Frank Enniss, Lynden George, Philbert Ramotar, Clifford Ishmael, Joyce Carmichael, Olga Richards, Balrajh Kewallal, and Gloria Robertson. The Crusaders, a group of dedicated laymen, assisted as volunteers in the visitation program, and many other committees and loyal church members worked diligently to ensure a smooth, well-regulated program. Gordon Martinborough is conducting follow-up meetings to continue reaping the harvest of the seed that has been sown.
To much of the world, the name Guyana evokes recollections of Jonestown's horrors. But for the Scaleses, precious memories of God's blessings in Georgetown linger still.