Testimony : 'The Holy Spirit taught me to read'
George Riley currently serves as an officer, choir director, Sunday school teacher and minister at the Spaldings New Testament Church of God; but 26 years ago, no one saw him as a person who could ever serve in any of those capacities.
Riley, a past student of the Spalding High School in Clarendon, testified that he has had many challenges in his life from an early age.
"My mother was mentally ill while she was pregnant with me; and at the age of six my father was gunned down in Kingston. I was living in Kingston at the time of my father's killing. I lived between Matthews Lane and Tivoli Gardens; and Coronation Market is where I used to go and help myself," testified Riley.
The church leader told THE STAR's Testimony that after his father's death, he migrated to Spaldings where he started to attend the primary school there in grade 2.
"When I went there they said that I was backward so I had to be placed in grade 1. When I was about to go to grade 6 from grade 5, they said I had to graduate because I was too old, so I could not be sent to grade 6. So I missed grade 6," said Riley.
As if that was not enough, Riley shared that when he went to Spalding High School he had to work and attend school at the same time, causing him to miss out on a lot for the first three years there. He added that when he went to fourth form he was unable to read.
INTIMIDATION AND FRIGHT
"I surrendered my life to God midway fourth form; and that was when I started reading. I got help from a few church people, and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit I was able to read. I must confess that it was the Holy Spirit which taught me to read. When I was asked to serve as a prefect at Spalding High School and run for the position of head boy, because of intimidation and fright I failed to write my speech," said Riley.
He testified that the head boy who was selected at the time gave up that position and he was asked to assist the deputy head boy to spearhead the Prefect body. From there, he said the Lord has been good to him.
"I went on to become the Men's Fellowship secretary, Youth Fellowship president, Sunday school teacher; then district coordinator for the Men's Fellowship; and God is using me now to lead the Spring Ground New Testament Church of God in Manchester, along with another brother in the faith. God has been so good to me. He has taken me from the gutter and placed my feet on a rock. He is still promoting me," testified the young minister.
Riley has attended Bethel Bible College in Mandeville where he has done a few courses. He also said he has done a course in supervisory management at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where he received a distinction. "God has been good to me. He has been blessing me," bragged a proud and happy Riley.