The Organizations for Strategic Development in Jamaica

(OSDJ)

Together With Christ We Will Make Jamaica Better

Our History

President and founder, Wayland Richards, came to the United State in 1986 to pursue a degree in Pastoral Studies at Crown College, Minnesota.  During his first year in college he struggled with the question; "What will you take back to the young people of Jamaica?" He could not be content with simply going back, preaching to them the gospel, and ignore their economic and social hardships being endured by so many in rural Jamaica.  He switched major and graduated in 1990 with a B.Sc. in Business Administration.  He then went on to Browns Institute where I pursued and obtained a certificate in Computer Programming. 

One of the joys he had while attending Crown College was the periodic remembrance and occasional reciting of the Jamaica National Pledge.  Whether he was raking a church members' back yard or walking down the hallway of the college or driving around in car, he had great memories of reciting this pledge as a commitment to God and to his country.   

The Jamaican National Pledge

Before God and all mankind, I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart,

the wisdom and courage of my mind, the strength and vigor of my body,

in the service of my fellow citizens;

I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace,

to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly,

so that Jamaica may under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity,

And play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

In December 1992 he went back to Jamaica with the hope of renewing his student visa and return to continue graduate studies and Metropolitan State University, MN.  His visa renewal request was denied and this resulted in him staying in Jamaica another 1 1/2 year.

While in Jamaica, he was ask by the principal of Alston High School, Clarendon if he could join the staff and help the grade 11 business students finish their preparations for Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations.  Their teacher had just let the classroom for a job in the private sector.   He accepted the invitation and joined the staff on February 1, 1993. Little did he know that this would be the beginning of  the Youth on Fire for Jesus Ministry. 

While teaching at Alston Mr. Richards was reoriented to what life was like for poor Jamaicans and his life was transformed from asking the question; "what will you bring back to the young people of Jamaica?,  Now he was asking himself "What will you do about it?"  He would ask his students what they wanted to become in life and they would share with him their dreams but he knew in his heart that some of them would never achieve their goals because of the poverty and economic hardship in which they found themselves.

Mr. Richards came back to the United States in 1994 to continue graduate studies. While teaching his Sunday School class at Peace Presbyterian Church, Minnesota, he asked his students the same question he asked the Jamaicans and most of them responded; "well I plan to take a year off after high school, enjoy life a little and maybe go on to college.  When asked, Mr. Richards recalls experiencing internal pain triggered by these three concerns;

1)    In Jamaica there are young people wanting to go to College or get a job but they see no way out while here in America there are young people taking the vast array of opportunities for granted.

2)    Young people need to decide where they are going in life. Young people without focus or who are not productive are themselves social drain on any society.  The corporate world is dependent of them and there own future is depending on them to make the right decision and become productive citizens.

3)    The urgency of the gospel requires us to equip our young people with the tools necessary so they can play their part as; "reapers of the field that is ripe and ready for harvest."

In 1995, with the help on Peace Presbyterian Church,  the Youth on Fire for Jesus Ministry was born. The goal of this ministry is to evangelize, educate, and train young Jamaicans with skills to help them secure gainful employment.  With this outreach effort, we have conducted four youth retreats with Jamaican and American young people, 2 of these in Jamaica, in 1995 and 1998, 1 in Minnesota in 1996 and 1 in Grand Cayman 2000.  From these retreats, 16 have been given financial scholarships to attend college and 3 received scholarship to attend vocational school for Computer Technology. Several of these scholarship recipients are gainfully employed in Jamaica.  Thanks to all those who have helped us to accomplished this mile stone.

On one of those retreats there was a physician serving as chaperone for the young people form the United States.  He said, "You know Wayland, I don't mind coming to Jamaica and paint walls and repair desks and chairs, but I am physician and I would love to get opportunities to use my medical skills to help Jamaicans."   This then began the process of restructuring the organization to meet the needs of the young people in Jamaica and providing meaningful service opportunities for those who have a heart for missions and a desire to help Jamaica.

Since then OSDJ has focused its resources on short term mission trip to repair hurricane damaged buildings at Davyton United Church and remodeling buildings for dialysis center.

In 2002 the Organizations for Strategic Development in Jamaica was registered in the State of Minnesota and received IRS 501(c)(3) Status in 2003. OSDJ is also a registered non-profit in Jamaica. The scope of the organization includes:

 

Youth on Fire for Jesus Ministry, promoting the development of young Jamaicans through scholarships, vocational skills training, music, drama and sports.  In 2008 the Board of Directors established the Youth Council the the aim of developing a comprehensive approach to youth outreach.

 

 

The Jamaica Mi' Care Program,  providing short-term missions opportunities to church and Para-church organizations to aid in community development across rural Jamaica.

 

 

 

Medical and Dental Outreach Program, creating network among medical and dental professionals and institutions for the purpose of helping to improve the healthcare delivery system in Jamaica.  In 2008 the Board of Directors established the Medical Advisory Committee to provide strategic leadership for networking with medical and dental institutions in the USA and Jamaica.

 

Our Leadership Structure

A Board of Directors, An Executive Committee and and Executive Board

 

Our Logo

 

Color of the logo reflects the colors of the Jamaican Flag

(Black, Green and Gold)

 

Three green trees symbolizing growth and represents the three programs of OSDJ

(Youth, Medical and Dental, Community Development)

 

 

Our Motto

Together With Christ We Will Make Jamaica Better

 

This organization is deeply committed to helping Jamaicans. Whether through evangelism, education and Training, bringing medical and dental help to remote communities, or helping community leaders to find ways to improve the local communities economically and socially, OSDJ will do it  "..so that Jamaica may, Under God Increase in beauty fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole Human race."  In committing ourselves to the ideals of this organization the leadership of OSDJ affirms again the motto with which we move forward, "Together with Christ we will make Jamaica better."