Jeannine A. Cook

Love Letter from Trinidad

By Jeannine A. Cook

Psalms 77:16-19

16 The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.

17 The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.

18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.

19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, hough your footprints were not seen.

The psalms of the Bible are its songs, in the same way that scriptures are its poems. What are sermons, if not letters? What are preachers if not storybringers and soothsayers, the ultimate channelers of love?


The psalms of the Bible are its songs, in the same way that scriptures are its poems. What are sermons, if not letters? What are preachers if not storybringers and soothsayers, the ultimate channelers of love?


In this particular song, Psalms 77, the writer starts off by crying out to his God. He cannot understand the social ills that he is seeing in the world and begs to his creator for a sign that better days are to come. And at that moment in the psalm, the writer’s request is met; the waters start to move and the heavens start to thunder and lightning races across the sky. The writer has two choices, continue to wail and complain or rejoice and see the signs as symbols of God’s love. 


Dr. Jasmin “Jazz” Sculark, affectionately named “The Daughter of Thunder” sees the signs of God’s love and then gets on stages, pulpits, and podiums around the globe to shower that love on anyone who will listen. “People started noticing that thunder would come when I was preaching and they started calling me that, The Daughter of Thunder.” Almost every time she preaches, the sky’s cumulonimbus clouds crash in on themselves and let out a mighty roar. Thunder is a reminder to stop, to listen, to take heed. 


“They also call me the Daughter of Thunder because of my voice,” she shares overlooking the hilltops of the Trinidadian village, Levantille, where she was born. Dr. Jazz is in town to support the new school in the village for 142 children, The Victory Academy. She donated money and school supplies to kick off the school year. 


“My mouth used to always get me in trouble,” she grins. “I had a filthy mouth. One day when I was a little girl, a nun heard me cursing up a storm and she said, ‘I hope someday God gets a hold of that mouth.’ And I replied sarcastically, ‘I wish he would’ and lo and behold look what has happened. The mouth that was destructive has become constructive.” 


For the last 31 years, Dr. Jazz has been sending constructive shock waves through communities from Africa to Europe, from the Caribbean to the Deep South. She’s preached alongside the most famous of spiritual influencers from Bishop T.D. Jakes to Bishop Noel Jones. 


Laventille is a small village on this small island. With a population of only about 21,000 people, Laventille is known among Trinidadians for its problems–high crime, high poverty, high drugs. The name Levantile harkens back to a time when the French occupied Trinidad, it translates to “La Ventaille” meaning the vent, because it is an area known for catching the first winds to hit the island. In the late 1700s enslaved Trinidadians would escape to the tops of mountains to vent, to avoid being caught by plantation owners. 


Dr. Jazz was raised at the top of the steepest of hills and is the descendent of enslaved survivors. “That hill taught me endurance. It taught me perseverance. Growing up, we didn’t have much. No money, no mansion, but we knew we were loved unconditionally. We bathed outside. We shared meals. But we knew we came from love and we knew we would return to love.”


“I think the only solution to the problems in Laventille is to pour gasoline and light a match,” said one of the former residents, who asked to remain anonymous. “It just keeps getting worse,” he lamented. 


But while some people wail, Dr. Jazz declares victory. “We are here to shine light,” she counters. “The most light is needed in the darkest of places. But we are shining still.” Dressed in the bold colors of the Trinidad flag, she is red, white, and black from head to toe–she is ”Trini to d’ bone,” as locals say.


And instead of abandoning the village she left as a teenager, she keeps coming back. During this visit, she’s spending three days leading a mission with ten Americans from her church family. She finally grabs a few minutes break for hot tea between giving out sandwiches and bookbags in an old steel pan factory. In just minutes it will be time to do her next zoom call. Her voice is raspy from having just preached down thunder at Deliverance Temple’s Revival Church Service  and then a sermon of gratitude to families as she passed out water in the 90 degree tropical heat.


“God is love,” she says over and over again to people who run up  for pictures, many recognizing her from a 100,000+ social media following and others from her grassroots giveaways. “God is divine connection. God is the energy force connecting you to me right now. I am here to show children and families that good things can come out of Laventille. That God’s things come out of Laventille.”


Dr. Jazz is not a typical preacher, as it is still atypical in some religions to even see a woman preacher at all. In addition, she is far from the collar-wearing, Bible-thumper seen in her childhood; instead you might catch her in a pair of high top sneakers or ripped jeans or a colorful two piece suit. A child of the Seventies, she has loads of style and rhythm to accompany her electrifying personality which often breaks out in bouts of joy-filled dance at unexpected moments. 


“I realize I was called back here to help people,” she says as the setting sun turns the sky above Laventille purple and pink. Though a lot has changed in her village since she was a girl, what hasn’t changed is the poverty. Yet she sees beauty. 

 “When I tried to leave Trinidad, my Visa was denied seven times,” she says getting ready to leave for her zoom. “When it was finally approved, I left with $32.00 for the United States that my entire village of Levantille helped to raise.” 


And now Dr. Jazz is the lead pastor of Victory Grace Center and the Founder and President of Dr. Jazz Ministries in Maryland. She is a globetrotting preacher and teacher, literally and figuratively using her thunderous voice to invite people to look to the hills from which cometh their help.


As she walks away, the sky rumbles a little; she turns around, waves, winks and keeps right on walking. 


Dr. Jazz will return to The Victory Academy in December for a holiday giveaway. To support her work and/or attend the next trip to Trinidad, visit: 

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