“Joy, unspeakable, warm,
richly alive, and deeply anointed,” is the words
that describe the ministry of Rev. Howard Ricketts.
I had the privilege of speaking with Rev. Ricketts up
close and personal. The following is the path rod by
Rev. Ricketts as he came to acknowledge the call of
God no his life.
It is a ministry blessed with a steadfast
hunger to reach as many people as possible with the
gospel of Jesus Christ. As Rev. Ricketts states, “We
intend to constantly go into the highways and byways,
seeking to win souls for God’s kingdom. “The
Soul Patrol” was well chosen.
In spite the solidness of my spiritual
convictions and fear of the Lord (which originated from
my childhood days singing gospel music on the Church
of God of Prophecy); I severely strayed from the straight
and narrow path. I started singing Gospel Music at the
very tender age of five back in my homeland of Jamaica.
As Rev. Ricketts explains, “I grew up and went
to live in Kingston where I got a real taste of the
I indulged myself in alcohol, reggae
music, rock & roll and many other temporal pleasures
that I could not bring myself to go back to church.
This brought on a feeling of guilt and betrayal because
I half turned away from the truth. Yet throughout all
of this, the voice of God was there. There was always
that voice that I tried to block out. I tried not to
listen because of the commitment. I was scared because
I knew that once I was baptized, I could never find
out a legitimate excuse to turn back.
In 1970, I went to work for the U.S.
Navy in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I then migrated to New
York in 1972. In 1974, I owned and operated a nightclub.
I gave it up and went to work for Gimbals Dept. Store
as Executive Manager for the maintenance Dept. Then
to Alexander’s Dept. Store and finally to Fordham
University as Executive Assistant Physical Plant Manager.
It was my daughter Marion and my
wife Gwendolyn who first decided to go back to church.
Finally, through their urging and encouragement, I went
back to church and I was convicted by the spirit and
was converted. On October 20th 1985, I received water
baptism. There weeks later, I was baptized with the
divine baptism of the Holy Ghost.
It all started one Friday morning
as I was on my way from the bathroom heading toward
the kitchen. As I entered the foyer, I felt the touch
of a gentle pair of hands on my shoulders, and in that
same instance, I heard a soft whisper unlike the sound
of a human voice say to me, “Go and pray.”
I paused for a few seconds and said
to myself, “Why should I go and pray when I just
got done praying a few minutes ago?” Then I thought
to myself, “The devil would not tell me to go
and pray.” The hands were still on my shoulders.
I looked over to my left and right shoulders and I didn’t
see any hand, yet it was still there.
I was a little afraid, but I was
not frightened. Only a fear came over me. The hand gently
turned me and guided me to the living room and set me
upon my knees in front of the couch nearest the door.
That’s where the Lord purged me until I was sanctified.
I was out matched and out class because I was up against
a superior power.
During my transition, the Lord took
me up to Calvary. There I knelt at the cross with Jesus
hanging there with his head bowed having the crown of
thorns there on in the same manner as it was described
in the Bible. What I saw I find very hard to explain
or describe. He never seemed like a stranger whom I
did not know. He felt like one of my own brothers, some
family member, or close friend.
One thing I knew, it was a human I
saw hanging there. It doesn’t matter whether it
was a family member or not, what I felt was not emotion,
it was beyond human feeling. It was total compassion
coming out of my bowels. My heart melted. I was physically
helpless. I was stricken and paralyzed.
I wept uncontrollably as I cried
out, “Lord, look at what they did to you because
of me. Forgive me Lord for my sins.” The Lord
said, “Forgive all those who you don’t see
and those who you don’t see and those who you
are no longer in touch with?” The Lord said to
me, “Forgive them from your heart and I will do
the rest.” I knew I had to forgive so it was not
hard for me to do.
I knew that I forgave and I was forgiven
that very instant. Finally, I was filled with the Holy
Ghost. During my consecration prayer to the Lord, crying
out on bended knees. I remember asking the Lord to let
some of his blood fall on me. Instantly, with my mouth
opened wide, I spoke in another language that I was
not familiar with. This went on for several hours on
Sometimes it intensifies and sometimes
moderately calm. I was so filled joy and fear. I was
just overwhelmed. My whole being was changed. I felt
strange and completely different. I was happy to know
that my creator had a special interest in me to have
visited me and given me the greatest gift that anyone
could ever imagine. It is indeed a heavenly experience.
One that will stay me for the rest of my natural life,
as it remains fresh in my thoughts. I felt a strange,
unfamiliar feeling of satisfaction. It stimulated and
inspired me. Yes, I felt total relief. I was refreshed.
No more burden of guilt.
How I got there I don’t know,
but I found myself kneeling down with my head bowed.
I saw three people, two sitting and one standing (I
still did not see any face). Meanwhile I saw other people
dancing and clapping their hands while going around
in a circle counterclockwise. It was then that I realized
that I was in the presence of the Lord and his angels.
Then I remembered the scripture that
says, “Angels rejoice over one sinner that repented….”
Again I found myself standing on top pf a mountain covered
with cloud. I looked out over to my left and saw the
Lord Jesus standing a little way off. His feet were
covered with cloud up to his ankle. He was fully clothed
in white, holding a staff as that of a shepherd in his
His hair was as white as milk, shoulder
length and wavy. I could not see his face but I got
a view of his right side and his back. He was tall (close
to seven feet) and had very wide shoulders; this is
an experience I wish that everyone who seeks the Lord
would encounter such vision. All of my life, I have
loved the Lord, but having this personal encounter with
him has caused me to fall in love with him.
The Lord gave me this warning: “DO
NOT DEFILE YOUR BODY OR I WILL DESTROY YOU.” This
voice sent a shockwave throughout my entire body. This
voice was calm, yet so powerful. It brought fear and
quickening all at the same time. Each time I remember
it, I tremble and sometimes cry. I know that this is
a charge that I must keep until death.
I befriended the late Bishop Findley,
(the overseer of Triumphant Church of God), who became
my mentor. He was also the founder and President of
Triumphant Bible College. In as much as I had the opportunity
to become a student at the above named college, I strongly
refused to go because I kept telling myself that God
has all ready anointed me and fully furnished me with
the proper equipment needed to fulfill his divine will.
Bishop Findley, who discovered that I had a direct calling
after hearing me preach, ordained me as a Pastor and
asked me to serve under him.
I turned the offer down and explained
to him that I must wait until the Lord assigns me to
the purpose that I was called to serve. He respected
my decision and was very supportive. I started evangelizing
and preaching in local churches in the New York area.
Finally, one day the Lord said to me, “I call
you to lead and not to be led.”
I spoke to Bishop Findley about it.
Without hesitation, he helped me to establish Mount
Calvary Pentecostal Healing Temple, and ordained me
this as a Bishop. I started the church in the living
room of my home. The church started out with less than
eight people. Today, we are in a bigger place with an
The Soul Patrol started out with three members of my
family; Wife Gwendolyn, daughter Marion and myself.
We struggled and suffered many set backs, discouragement
and everything that the devil could dish out. Through
it all, I maintained a positive attitude. I refused
to surrender to pressure. My faith became stronger day
by day through prayer, fasting and meditation.
Today, the Soul Patrol Gospel Music
Ministry is nine members strong. We travel extensively
to various parts of the U.S. preaching in crusades and
ministering in music.
I have learned a valuable lesson;
God did not call me because of my educational background.
He never asked me for a resume. The Lord said, “Come
unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden. He called
the learned and the unlearned. (Matt. 11: 28-30). I
am sure that God is no respecter of persons. I was a
wretched sinner needed to be saved. I could not trade
in my education for salvation, of a doctorate degree.
The Lord called me not as an educated
or righteous man. He said, “Wash you, make you
clean, put away the evil of your doings form before
mine eyes, and cease to do evil.” (Isaiah 1:16-19).
I admitted my sins. I confessed them because I regretted
and was sorry for them. My mission is rescue and win
souls because, “he that winneth souls is wise.”
(Proverbs.11-30-31). The Lord uses me to win souls through
preaching, music and healing. “I now forget things
that are behind.” (Phillip 3:1-21).
My first experience of healing by
prayer was with my second to last daughter Roxanne,
who was 21/2 year old. My last daughter O’Zelle
came a year later and started talking while Roxanne
could not as much as make a sound. This caused deep
concern in the family. Although I was worried sick,
my faith told me that she would talk. How soon? I did
not know. The human side of me was angry and anxious,
yet I was calm and patient in my spirit. I was silently
grieving and occasionally cried.
Many times I watched Roxanne desperately
trying to speak but not a sound would come. I watched
her closely as the dumb spirit held her prisoner. I
myself felt like a prisoner, but I refused to surrender.
I continued fasting and praying that her condition would
change so she could speak and speak normally. Nothing
was happening. Once again, the human side became frustrated
and disappointed, but the inner man felt strong and
confident. Through this, I was able to remain hopeful.
One day my wife took Roxanne to see
her Doctor. The Doctor told her that Roxanne was mute
and would not be able to talk and that she would have
to go through speech therapy. I angrily replied, “No
way, no Doctor is going to turn my baby into any guinea
pig. No Doctor is going to get any credit.”
I said to her, I trust God to loosen her tongue and
she is going to talk and God will get the glory. It
was about two weeks later, early on a Friday morning:
I went in my prayer room while everyone was fast asleep.
I got on my knees and started to
pray until I was lost out of my physical body (similar
to when I was getting filled with the Holy Ghost.) I
was completely transformed. I received utterance as
the Holy Spirit came upon me. I went into the kids bedroom,
picked up Roxanne, held her a little above my head with
both hands, while I was speaking and praying in tongues
with tears running down my face, I then cradled her
in my left arm.
The Lord had me to use my right index
finger and my thumb. Gently, I held her tongue, (This
went on for close to an hour) still crying and praying
in tongues. Finally, the spirit released me. When I
came back to myself, I put the baby into her bed. Three
days later, Roxanne started talking.
My oldest daughter Marion was the
first to hear her speak. The evening of that faithful
day, I came home. By the time I got through the door,
Marion greeted me with a broad smile on her face. In
an excited tone of voice she said, “Daddy, daddy
guess what?” before I could reply, her next words
were, “Roxanne is talking.”
Marion was beaming with excitement.
I was excited but in a calm way. It took me a little
time to absorb it. Then she said to me that the baby
was speaking with a lisp tongue. I asked her, “What
more do you want from God? She is still a baby, she
will grow it out. It will also go away. God started
it and he will finish it.” I picked Roxanne up
and gave God thanks. I said, “You have answered
my prayer. You came through for me again.
I know that this child’s speech
will be fully restored. In a matter of months, Roxanne
was able to speak clearly. Oh, I remembered telling
Marion, “You have to be careful about what you
say or do now around Roxanne.” We both laughed.
The following day, I went out and came back home in
When I got home and came through
the door Roxanne came running to me. She said, “Daddy,
Mayon fone.” I laughed and picked her up as she
pointed towards the phone. Marion was laughing as well.
I said, “Remember what I told you.” You
have to be careful about what you do from now on.
The gift and calling is really without repentance. (Rom.
11:29). I remember a strange miracle that took place
before I accepted the Lord.
My last baby O’Zelle (who was
under one year old), one morning was struggling to breathe.
She started turning blue. My wife Gwendolyn started
to panic, as she called out to me, “Howard, Howard,
The baby isn’t breathing. I
said, “Don’t panic. Give her to me.”
I took the baby from her and held her up a little above
my head and looked up to heaven and started talking
to God. For some reason, I stopped talking, but within
I was asking God to heal the baby. Then I said to my
wife, “Go and open the bedroom window.”
She then opened the window and I
put the baby through the window as I held her. It was
on May of 1985 and for some reason, that day (as I recall)
was very cold. In less than five seconds, the baby yelled
out and started breathing again normally. There is no
doubt this was God’s doing. I was scared; I was
calm and very grateful for the instant response from
God. Yes, God certainly answered this sinner man’s
I knew all along that know matter
where you go, you would have to come back to the Lord.
Out of all my nine children, you were the one that was
completely different from the rest. You have been blessed
form the womb; I was always hoping and praying to see
the day when you returned to the Lord. Now, I can die
in peace. Then I replied, “You don’t have
to worry because I’m never turning back. You see
the Lord has installed his spirit as a reminder deep
in y heart” (Matt.12:43-45).
In all thy ways acknowledge him and
he will direct thy path. (Proverbs.3:6). The fifth verse
said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart
and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Ps. 119:9-18
& Ps.37: 97-107 & 135). My son, give me thine
heart and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Prov. 23:26).
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which
thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eyes. (Ps.
But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the
father will send in my name, he shall teach you al things
and he shall also remind you. (St. John 14:26)
I walk by faith and not by sight.
(II Cor 5:7). I just don’t trust in my own sight
or ability. All my confidence is in God. (Is, 8:3).
When Jesus asked Peter, whom do men say that I the son
of man am? Peter was the only person that gave the correct
answer. Jesus said to him, flesh and blood did not reveal
it unto you, but my father which is in heaven. (Matt.16:13-20)
& (St. John4:23-24).
The anointing which I have receive
of Christ, abides in me and I need no man to teach me.
(I John 2:27) & (St. John 14:15-17). But grow in
grace and in the knowledge of our lord and savior Jesus
Christ. To him be glory both now and forever, Amen.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before;
beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of
the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. (II Pet.3:17-18)
& (Heb. 2:1-4).
There are several scriptures among
many that inspire and strengthen me. (Job 32:6-22),
(I Tim 1:6-7), (Jer. 1:3-12), (Ezk. 3:8-10), (St. John
15: 1-11), (Matt. 17:14-21), (I Cor. 2:1-14) & (Gal
God did not arm me with titles, diplomas
or doctorate degrees. He armed, certified and sealed
me with the Holy Ghost and fire. (Matt 3:11-122), (II
Tim 2:19), (Eph. 1:13), (Zech. 4:6) & (Eph. 6:10-20).
The Salutation of Rev. Howard Ricketts
and The Soul Patrol
Soul Patrol is the winner of the Gill and Pat Bailey
Caribbean Gospel Music Award; receiving four awards
for the years 2004, 2005 & 2006. Karl Moore, one
of New York’s top gospel D.J.; dubs the Soul Patrol
New York based Caribbean number one gospel group.
The Soul Patrol is a genuine,
original, Christian group that believes in originality
and not formality. We are not about popularity; we are
all about sincerity, inspiring people on a whole in
music, songs and spoken word. We are not about keeping
up appearance. We have a vision and we are guided by
faith in order to fulfill this vision. Wherever we go
to minister, we do it in humility leaving the audience
with a full satisfaction. We are available for Gospel
concerts, Crusades, Revivals, or any gospel related
function 100%. The Soul Patrol strives only for excellence
because God is excellent and awesome. We can be reached
at MSoulPatrol @aol.com. Telephone # (home) 718-601-0809.
P.S. Rev. Ricketts is the executive
director of the group. He is also an accomplished song
writer, composer and producer. We also own our on digital
recording studio located at 3425 Boston Rd (Bet. Fish
and Seymour Ave) Bronx N.Y. 10469. We do our recording
with live music. For booking, please call the above
number. We look forward to hearing from you.
By: Sal Baldino. C.E.O. of Christian
Musician United; March 1990