Author Archives: Jamaica Team

Jamaica – 2017 – Here Comes the Rain

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This morning in Jamaica started with a light mist and turned into a full fledge down pour at breakfast time.  After another yummy breakfast from Pinto this morning, I led the devotion for our group. We were treated by worship songs from Brad where he sang “Live for Jesus” and “The Dream”. The lyrics are very powerful and really make you take stake of how you are living your life.  The rain stopped just before we headed out in the morning to finish the house.  We were able to get the roof on, the window louvres installed, finish the trim, hang the doors, and get the stairs installed. Marie’s home is now finished.  We will be doing the house dedication tomorrow in the afternoon. It is great to see the ownership and pride that she takes in her new home.

After finishing the home we headed back to the mission house.  A few of us headed for a short walk to RAISE to check out the animals.  The kids checked out the goat pen and met Mary the donkey, who they had heard a lot about.  Then we headed out to VBS for another great day.  The kids led worship, and had an opportunity to have the Jamaican’s lead a few songs too.  Kathy taught the kids about how Jesus fixed it.  Joe helped the kids decorate the large cross that a local Jamaica made for us.  We were able to play games in the front yard of the church today with the kids.  Parker entertained the kids while playing games with them.

At dinner time our group had the opportunity to serve the staff for CSI and their families.  Chad and Jodi took family photos of the staff as a special gift for them in the back yard of the mission home. After an enjoyable dinner of fellowship, our group did our happy and crappy where we share our highs and lows from the day.  Our group tends to drag these out as there is much laughter and teasing involved throughout these team sessions.

We are looking forward to a great day tomorrow where we will have breakfast, a team devotion lead by Madison, local elementary school devotion, a trip to the local beach to take in the scenery before we head to the house dedication and our final day of VBS.

In Christ,

Kristi Jackson

 


Jamaica – June 2017

We have had a busy time while here and it somehow is already Tuesday. I am going to backtrack just a bit to give you an idea of our journey thus far. It all started Saturday morning when we arrived at the airport at 5:00am. We were excited to get to our destination and you could feel the energy in the air.
As we moved through the line at the airport and got to the ticket counter we found out that our flight had already left. Long story short, we were able to get a flight out at 8:00pm that same evening, but once in Charlotte we would not be flying to Jamaica until early the next morning.
We left on time (8:00pm that is) and had an uneventful flight to Charlotte. After landing, needless to say, we were all tired (13 team members; 5 kids and 8 adults) and so we looked for a place to rest until morning. It ended up being in the international arrival section of the airport on the floor below the stairs leading to the departure gates. We slept for about 4 hours and then got up and went through security and up to our departure gate.
We had an uneventful flight to Jamaica and were thrilled to touch down and meet our hosts for the week. We stopped about one hour into our drive to the CSI house for jerk chicken and then drove the remaining 2 hours to the house. After unpacking and an orientation we went to the Pringle Girls home where they ranged in age from 8 to 18.
We took indoor and outdoor games and played with the girls at the home for a little over an hour and then went back to the CSI house for dinner. Although exhausted we sat up and visited with one another, talked about our adventure so far and the day ahead.
Monday morning we were up bright and early, loaded up the truck with lumber, tools and paint for the work site and had an early breakfast. Following breakfast we had devotionals out at the chapel and then headed out to the site to start our day.
This year we are building a house for a lovely lady with 7 children, 6 of which live with her. Right now she lives with her brother. We are here to provide her with her own living space and a home to call her own. Our ‘mission’ is to build her a new 10’ x 20’ house with two doors, 4 windows and a divider down the center. Currently she and her 6 children sleep in her brother’s kitchen on a bed smaller than a twin. The kitchen itself is so tiny and 7 sleep there!!
When we finish at the site we return to the CSI house and those that are continuing on to have Vacation Bible School with some of the local children shower and prepare for the lesson of the day. They then load up their materials, travel to Clonmel Baptist Church, and play for a couple of hours with the children. They teach them about the gospel, sing and worship together. Once they return we have dinner and gather for our “happy / crappy” hour to share our experiences of the day.
Tuesday is much of the same, but after dinner this evening we went to the local potter’s home and gift shop. The potter does a demonstration of creating pottery using a mold and creating pottery with a potter’s wheel. We get to see the finished products in their gift shop and purchase items for ourselves and our family and friends back home. Afterward we went into the town of Highgate and had ice cream. After day 2 of hard work and loving on the locals, our team is turning in early. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
I must say that the 5 kids on the trip this year are amazing! Their resilience, their willingness to try all things new, their love and their faith fills me with such happiness and joy.
Soon I will turn in and let the night sounds lull me to sleep. The tree frogs sing and the crickets add their rhythm to the song and it is most pleasant to hear as our day comes to a close.
We are so blessed.
In His name,
Sandy


Jamaica – Last Work Day

What a day! We changed things up a little today.

After breakfast, we started off in two different places: the majority of the team headed down to RAISE Jamaica to continue helping on their current infrastructure project, which is a produce storage building. They’re working on finishing the interior and exterior walls, which means putting coatings of mortar over top of the block walls to make them more pest/weather-resistant, and to look nicer too. Before starting work for the day, Patrick showed us around his farm where he discussed what he’s growing, why he’s growing it, and how what he’s doing fits into the bigger picture of RAISE and the surrounding community. That man’s passion for what he’s doing and who he’s doing it for is inspiring to say the least. Also, a few team members stayed behind at CSI to help sort through all the wonderful donations (750 pounds of donations!) the Team collected from friends and family, before we departed, and brought with us to Highgate. The clothes, shoes, school supplies, tools, and more are now organized and will be heading out to local churches and organizations to get them to folks very much in need of those supplies.

After lunch we all got cleaned up and headed down to Stacey Ann’s new house for the official dedication. We talked a lot, prayed a lot, sang a little, and helped get some things set up inside her new home. It’s amazing to see the culmination and impact of our time with Stacey and her family; and it’s awesome to think about this young single mother raising her children in their new home. I don’t feel as though I can adequately describe it, you can only see it. (And by “see it,” I mean, I highly encourage you to consider getting involved in a short-term mission trip!)

Our final event of the day was VBS over in Clonmel. The whole team got to go today, which was wonderful! It was the last day for VBS. We got to play soccer, and a couple of other games which may have been made up right there on the spot, prior to starting the evening’s program. We finished up our lesson about creation and got to do some fun activities. The evening came to a close when the kiddos sang us a few songs to show their appreciation for the VBS team.

Tonight we’re packing up so that we can make our way back towards MoBay tomorrow. We have to say goodbye to our Jamaican friends for now, and eagerly anticipate returning next year. This week has been life-changing for so many people. The Team has morphed into a little family.

Leaving Highgate, and Jamaica, is sad; but we’re looking forward to returning to our families at home and getting to share stories of our time here. Thank you for following our adventures in Jamaica!_MG_6299
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Jamaica – How Did This Go So Fast?

Hello again from Jamaica!

Today was our third work day, and another wonderful day. It’s amazing how fast our time here is going, but we’re not done yet! Liz is back to tell you a little bit about our day…

We finished the house everybody! We worked hard all day while still being able to build close relationships with the Jamaicans. God is using us to speak through Him and amazing things are happening because of it! Some people were able to go to RAISE in the afternoon. We are mixing cement near pro status, but the workers down there continue to show us how talented they truly are and how much time it will take to meet pro status. During VBS Elizabeth taught VBS with ants in her pants – literally! So if you weren’t sure if there are biting ants that like pants here, they are most definitely are!

After dinner, we got to hear some of the extraordinarily talented CSI Staff sing; and they showed us how to do a couple of Jamaican dances too.

We’re looking forward to wrapping up our time in Highgate tomorrow, and will be back to tell you all about it tomorrow!



Jamaica – Another Great Day!

Hi Guys!

We had another great day today. Amanda is back to fill you in on what our day looked like…

Last night (Monday) there was the rumble of thunder, lightning in the sky and a storm passing by and we were thankful that the rain did not come during the work day. The cool breeze and fresh air made sleep pleasant; but, we woke to no electricity. All team members remained positive and we were thankful for hot coffee and hot breakfast of oatmeal, blueberry muffins, watermelon and the sweetest pineapple.

Following breakfast, we loaded into the back of the work truck and we were off to the work site. It is an experience riding over the potholes, around the curves and ducking under flying tree branches. Everyone was thankful for the cloud coverage and cooler temperature for work today. The team and Stacey and her family quickly got to work on the house. Three more walls were put up and painted, windows and doors were cut out, and the rafters were put on the roof. We are amazed at how quickly the house is going up and the relationships that are being formed between our team as well as with the Jamaicans on the build site.

After lunch, part of the team returned to RAISE and continued to work on the walls of the produce storage building. The team mixed concrete and learned the proper technique to fling it on the wall. (We’re working on finishing some concrete walls.) There was lots of laughter and relationships formed with the RAISE workers on site. At the end of the day, Vacation Bible School continued. Some of the children from the first day invited their friends and there was a larger turnout. The children are a joy to be around and really enjoy the singing, coloring, teaching and interaction with the team.

The entire team returned to the Mission Guest House and enjoyed a traditional Jamaican dinner of fried chicken, red beans and rice with red sauce, cooked cabbage with cheese and homemade rolls. Following dinner, we loaded back into the van and went into town. The first stop was visiting local artists who create and paint pottery. We then ventured into downtown Highgate where everyone got to enjoy ice cream which was a sweet ending to a beautiful day.

We are so thankful that God has provided this opportunity for us to come together and share this experience. When our team met in January for the first time, we were a mixed group of people unsure of what we had in common: married and single, with children and without children, full time workers and stay at home moms. It is so amazing to see the friendships forming as we are doing God’s work here in Jamaica!

In Christ,
Amanda

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Jamaica – First Work Day

We had a great start to our work week!  Liz wanted to update you on what the Team got started on today:

First work day! Today we were able to meet the family that we were building a house for. The family we are building a house for is a single mom and she has two very little kids. We built the base of the house, were able to get up one of the walls, and shape the door for the house. Some people spent the second half of the day on RAISE. They were able to learn about the progress of the produce building to store the crops before they are taken to the market. It is getting closer to being done! Yes! Later, some team members went to a local church to teach VBS. The kids are incredibly caring and loving. They taught us so much in just the first day!

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Jamaica – First Full Day

Greetings from Jamaica!

We made it to, and across, Jamaica safely! After we spent most of Saturday traveling, we spent that last few hours getting settled in, and then went to bed early. Today, Sunday, was spent getting to know our surroundings better, then going to church and visiting a nursing home in Highgate. Here’s what Sandy and Amanda had to say about their experiences today:

We all woke this morning to a beautiful, sunny day in Jamaica with breezes off the bay and mist over the mountains to the south of the mission house. We had a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and delicious cinnamon rolls prepared by the loving hands of our cook, Pinto. It is also Father’s Day and being Sunday, we had the privilege of attending Clonmel Baptist Church for services.
The church service was what touched many of our hearts today. Being Father’s Day, the leaders and the congregation recognized and celebrated the Father’s in every way. They were all called to the front so that we could applaud them and lift them up to the Lord. Each Father was given a gift and the love of the guests and the people from this community.

The sermon was Luke 15:1-32 “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”. One of the Elder’s, Ricardo, whom I remember from last year, preached today and it was very moving. Ricardo’s voice is one that draws you in and captures your undivided attention. He is inspiring and you walk away feeling fed by the Word and with a feeling of such joy.

Following the service everyone was served cake and ice cream to continue the celebration of our Father’s here on this earth, as well as our Heavenly Father above. We took a picture of our group next to the Clonmel Baptist Church sign and thanked our host, Patrick, as we climbed into the van to head back to the mission house. God is so good.

In Christ, Sandy

What a blessing it is to be in such a beautiful place that God has created. We are stepping away from our responsibilities at home and transitioning to our time here in Jamaica. It is so nice to return back to the peaceful Mission Guest House to a homemade lunch made by Pinto. We had chicken salad sandwiches, chips, chocolate chip cookies
and the sweetest fresh mango ever tasted.

This afternoon the team went to see the town of Highgate for the first time. We went to visit the residents of the Highgate nursing home and staff. There were a few residents enjoying the beautiful afternoon on the front porch and other residents were spending time relaxing in their beds. Our team split up and ensured that each resident was visited. It was obvious that all of the residents were longing for attention and their faces glowed with smiles from our interaction and touch. The love that was shared through conversations, foot rubs, hand massages, hugs and songs impacted the residents, staff and each team member. The time spent at the nursing home flew by and it was time to go before we knew it. As we were leaving, some of the residents were crying and had to be consoled by staff. We know we truly made a difference in the lives of these residents today.

We returned to the Mission Guest House and spent time in fellowship over another wonderful meal prepared by Pinto. We are so thankful that God has provided safe flights and van travels for all of our team members who are now safely under one roof. We ended the evening with a team meeting with Mike who outlined our work for the week. We will be working at three sites: working with CSI to build a house for a single mother of two who is currently in trade school, working with RAISE to continue the started work on the produce storage facility, and facilitating a Vacation Bible School at the Clonmel Baptist Church. We are so excited to be the hands and feet of God serving the people of Jamaica!

In Christ, Amanda

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Jamaica – June 2015 – Day 3

What a blessed day we have had today! Our luggage arrived late last night (around 11 pm) and we were all ecstatic to change out of our sweaty, green shirts. After stuffing ourselves with pancakes, the team headed out to work on RAISE. Our project is to build a produce storage facility for the RAISE farm. The day was absolutely beautiful and the sun was definitely shining. Luckily, all of us brought a significant amount of sunscreen for protection. DSC02623

Even though the work was challenging with the hotness of the sun, we all remained positive with the physical limitations. It is a blessing that we were all able to remain hydrated. We worked for about three hours in the morning, stopped for lunch, and then returned back to RAISE for another 2 hours where we made a lot of progress. DSC02629 2015-06-15 - Jamaica STM - FieldPostedSmall-1

Four members of the team left for Vacation Bible School at Clonmel Baptist Church while the rest continued to aid in the project at RAISE. We started with about 15 kids and by the end of service, we ended with about 30. Our goal was to teach the children the first 5 books of the Old Testament and to pose questions about the Bible itself. The kids enjoyed singing the Bible songs, especially Father Abraham. After our lesson, the team and children went outside to play soccer and to socialize. It was so nice running around and playing with the children- their smiles are contagious. DSC02652 DSC02648

Lastly, we ended our night with entertainment!! Some of the staff here at CSI Ministries were able to share some of their culture with us by singing. The melodies and sounds were amazing, and we all felt the presence of God as encouraging music flowed through our ears. It was a beautiful way to end the night. – Nikki

(P.S. – Sorry, internet has been a little spotty, so we’re running behind on our posts. Should be caught up tomorrow!)


Jamaica – June 2015 – Days 1 & 2

Hello!
We’ve had an exciting first couple of days! Our travel day (Saturday) was full of those situations that add character to your travel experience. This rookie team handled our character-building travel experiences like old pros! We finally made it safely to the mission house super-early Sunday morning, but sadly we’re still waiting on our luggage to catch up. Thankfully, it has made it to the island, and is theoretically on its way.

Regardless of the trials we had on Saturday, we were blessed with opportunities to share with airport workers and patiently-waiting displaced passengers about what we’ll be doing on our journey. Kathleen, thank you for all of your help and hard work yesterday, and I pray that you do get to take your family on a mission trip someday.

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Sunday provided a new day. We awoke to an absolutely beautiful day in Jamaica, and got to show the team all of the cool stuff they missed when we arrived in the dark early hours of the morning. Later in the morning, we were blessed to worship with new friends at Clonmel Baptist Church, where we get to help teach vacation bible school this week. In the afternoon, we got to celebrate birthdays with the girls over at Pringle Girls Home, and then play games outside until dinner time.

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All-in-all, it has been a fantastic weekend, and we’re looking forward to getting started over at RAISE – Jamaica tomorrow morning. Please stay tuned for daily updates from the field, and thanks for following our adventures!

(Last-minute update: our luggage just arrived, while I was finishing this post, so all of our gear and supplies made it! That will make tomorrow a little easier!)


The Lost Goat

It is amazing the revelations that come to me as I spend time outdoors in nature. Growing up, my family developed a golf course in the rolling hills of Ohio. I had hundreds of acres to roam and explore right outside my back door. Climbing trees, jumping in the pond, picking apples, chasing chickens, petting the cow, and mowing grass was an everyday event. I always felt God’s presence while surrounded by His creation. This week I have reconnected with the beauty and awe of God’s creation that I knew as a child growing up in the country. From day one walking the Raise land I could feel a stirring within me that God was going to speak to me through this work project. My first assignment was to help herd the goats with Jamie. Jamie and I laughed, we cried and also thought maybe possibly we were being filmed for a Jamaican reality TV show as we attempted to keep the herd of goats together. I had my spiritual revelation that day while listening to a lost goat crying out. He couldn’t find the rest of the herd and was making the loudest and most pathetic cry ever. Finally Jason, the real shepherd of the flock, came running to the rescue of the lost goat and helped him reunite with the herd. Truly as simple as it sounds I had a moment of “WOW” I’m seeing in the natural a spiritual principle lived out. Luke 15:4 what man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it. Well today I was herding the goats again when in the far off distance a lost goat could be heard crying out trying to find the rest of his people… Mia, Jamie and I were commissioned to find the lost little goat and bring him back. As we trudged through the brush, marched up hills, listened for the cry of the lost goat, battled doubts of ever finding the goat, I once again thought maybe just maybe we were being filmed for a reality TV show. BUT we were persistent and didn’t give up. We searched high and low and finally found the little lost goat. We were able to guide him back to the goat pen with many snack stops. As you can see from the pic posted our joy at being able to find the lost goat was quite exuberant!!! Luke 15:6 and when he comes home, he calls together his friends, and neighbors, and says to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” There was such a sense of accomplishment and relief when we were able to reunite the goat with his friends. How much more does our God and Savior rejoice when one who is lost becomes found?
It has been such a joy serving here in Jamaica in whatever way needed. I’ve danced, I’ve carried buckets of cement, I’ve herded goats, made bracelets with children, prayed with people, shoveled dirt, choreographed dances with a local dance team, but the most important thing I’ve done this week is make myself available for God to use. I encourage everyone to reach beyond your comfort zone and go on a short term mission trip! God will speak to you in unexpected ways!!!
parTAY on!
Peace,

April J

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