Rev Aaron Dumas withstanding the test of time
The beard is much whiter than it used to be, but Father Time has not stopped the passion of popular author of the 'Tell Me Pastor' feature, Rev Aaron Dumas.
Dumas noted he always loved the ministry and admired members of the clergy.
"I would go home and preach up a storm and use the bed as the platform," he said laughingly. "So the desire was always there. I just thought it was a childish thing."
However, the feeling never died. After giving his life to the Lord years later, he felt there was a calling. A friend, who was a salvationist, asked him why he didn't go to Bible school and dedicate his life to Christian service.
"He said, you're going to be like Jonah, running away from the work God called you to do," he said.
Knowing the Jonah story well, Dumas wanted no part of that and started training to become a pastor.
"While I was in school, I had that desire to become a marriage counsellor, because I saw so many marriages break up," he said.
So Dumas went to the Jamaica Theological Seminary where he majored in counselling after completing his four years of Bible school.
"Nothing, apart from preaching, beats counselling," he said. He said his type of counselling is different because he doesn't just quote from the Bible.
When he left the seminary, he got a call from the Daily News newspaper with the option to write a column in The Sunday Sun, its flagship product.
After the paper folded, Hector Wynter, then editor of The Gleaner, asked him to write his column for THE STAR.
The rest is history.
Dumas has literally dealt with thousands of issues via his radio show, his counselling service, and in letters and emails. But he's not tired of it.
"It's my life. It's what I love. I have learnt to handle this thing professionally, so when I leave my office and the door is closed, I go home," he said.
He said he thinks of the thousands of people who are being helped, including teenagers who aren't comfortable talking to just anyone.
"They want someone who will listen. They want someone in whom they can confide, so they come to me," he said.
Dumas also revealed that some people tell him they learnt to read by perusing his columns. He is literally known across the world for his column.
"I once talked to a lady who worked at our high commission in Russia, and she said 'Pastor, you should see how the Russians run to read your column'," he said. "So I feel very happy about it."
Despite his tremendous popularity, he reveals that his column wasn't originally a 'hit' with some people.
"When I started to write, people cursed me," he said, laughing. "They say I couldn't be a pastor writing about these things. But who stood with me? My family and my church!"
He notes that persons always tell him some of the stories are made up, but he is adamant they are true.
"I just have fun and laugh," he said with a shrug.
And he has no plans to retire soon either, vowing he will do Tell Me Pastor for as long as he can.
"I don't know how long that will be because the good Lord has given me very good health," he said, smiling.