Monday, November 21, 2011
When I began this journey towards $5,000+ for a two month mission trip, I knew the path would not be easy and it hasn't. In the last two months, however, I have been completely overwhelmed. I started out this journey, right at the beginning, needing $300 for my deposit in my mission trip account. The weekend I was accepted I raised $300 from a garage sale that we had. But even though God had provided that, I began to have a lot of doubts. I mean, $5,000 is a lot of money, or at least it seems such without God. I began to worry incessantly about where it would come from, what I would do if I couldn't go, if I really was supposed to go, etc. Then I read a verse in my quiet time from 2 Corinthians 5, which also holds other of my favorite verses. But this was verse 7, "For we will walk by faith, not by sight." That is exactly what I needed because I knew I wanted to be able to see, for sure and certain, that I would have everything all laid out for me to go on this mission trip. Following Christ doesn't mean that I will be able to see the ways He will provide for me before He does it, but rather stepping out in faith is doing something you know will not succeed unless God steps in and that seems to be exactly what I have done. I knew going into this that I would not automatically have all the money I needed but yet I still said 'Yes Lord, I believe that You will do this.' I have been stretched in my faith a lot in the last two months. Though it has been hard, God finally has me at a place where I am beginning to really know what trusting Him for my everything means. That doesn't mean I don't worry anymore, because of course I do but I can be comforted by the truth God has spoken to me. In these past two months God has provided $1,800 and I love talking about it because I know that there is no way I could have ever gotten it by myself. God has blessed my exceedingly and He continues to do so! I continue to press on planning, praying and trusting for the rest of the money. Be encouraged and know that God provides for all of our needs.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:34
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Our journey from the United States to the faraway island of Jamaica began at 2:45 in the morning. We were awoken by the loud music of an alarm blaring, startling us from peaceful sleep. We climbed into the car of our friend, Sandy, who was the leader of our group. Her husband drove us to the church, after stopping to pick up one more person. Once everyone was there and the van was loaded with the piles of luggage everyone had, we circled up to pray.
Climbing into the van, we were off for the airport. Mom and I climbed on a plane headed for Dallas, Texas. The flight was short and hardly felt like flying. It was 6am and those around us that had window seats had closed their windows. It was dark and we were quiet.
After landing in Dallas, we headed to our next gate. After locating where we were headed, we sat at some tables and got some breakfast and coffee and played a card game while waiting for the next group to arrive in Dallas. Once they did, we boarded our plane for Montego Bay, Jamaica and sat through a four hour flight. When we neared our destination, custom cards were passed out. It was easy for me, since my legal guardian (aka my mom) was their and could add me to hers.
The terminal we landed in was very bare and set a precedent for the rest of our expectations. We took a stop at the restroom, which was a little scary. In fact, after all of the bathroom experiences we had there, I don't know if I will ever view public restrooms the same way. The ones in the states are much better. Imagine the worst restroom you have been to in the states. That is what most of them are like in Jamaica, except perhaps at resorts.
Going through customs, it felt as if we were being interrogated. We had to have an abundance of information, and apparently we were not qualified to answer. We asked our leader for where we were staying, relayed the information, and yet still had to go get her and bring her over to where we were being checked in.
It was a huge sigh of relief to get through and head on to retrieve our luggage. Getting out of the airport, we had to get all of our bags checked since we had brought things to give to the kids. But once we did, we went straightaway out of the airport onto the street.
We were soon to meet Wayne, our bus driver. He has been apart of Jamaica VBS for a few years now, after handing his business card to Sandy a few years back. He took us to exchange our money and then get some supper at the Pork Pit. We had Jerk Pork or Chicken and 'rice and peas' (Actually, the peas are beans, but that is still what it is called!) Our meal together cost us nearly $1,000. Their currency is about 84 Jamaican dollars for 1 US dollar.
After dinner (where we saw a huge tree, lizard and large colorful beetle) we climbed into the car. On the way to where we were staying, kids lined the streets to sell fruit and other various things to earn money. This is a reality in their culture. Some boys who were selling some gnips (which are similar to grapes, with a hard skin and larger pit). They would lean against the bus, and one of the boys blew me kisses. It was funny to me, yet I am sure he thought my amusement would cause me to buy some from him. Laughing, I smiled as our bus lurched forward.
We then headed to our 'resort'. When I say resort, it is not what you expect. Hard beds, slightly scary chain fences with locks to keep people out of your room, and bathrooms that could be nicer. But, this was nicer and we were grateful, even if it was not what we were expecting.
I remember when we were exchanging money, a lady with her son was asking us what we were doing in Jamaica. We were telling her about our mission trip and she asked what Church we were apart of. We shared that we were nondenominational, Christian and she lit up with a huge smile and said "We both serve the same Lord God."
After our full day, we were exhausted and fell into bed at 8:30pm. We slept well, awaiting the next day.
I remember my excitement with being there. It was so new and different and I was so excited to experience as much as I could while there. One thing I wrote while journaling was, 'I can't wait to meet the kids!'
Indeed we are very blessed here in the states and you don't even realize just how much until you are submerged even in the best of another culture. On the coast there were many nice resorts, which may be what you picture when you think of Jamaica, but if you get a little further away, you begin to see what reality entails for these people.
I encourage you to continue praying for these people who have so much less than us and so desperately need the hope of Jesus Christ. Also, for those who are our brothers and sisters and have their own ministries.
Acts 2:44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I have so much to process, but thank you everyone for your prayers during this trip. I can't express how much I appreciate it. I know a lot of people were praying, and where two or more come together in prayer, God is there. I will continue to update, detailing each day of the trip, lessons learned, and also talk about the culture. It was a great trip and thank you again for your support!
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
Monday, July 18, 2011
As I always see to mention, I am thrilled. I can hardly believe that we are really leaving this week! But we are and God is so good to provide for us as He has! Please pray for the people and the message we will share with them as well as our team and that God will teach us more than we can imagine through spreading His word.
Thanks so much and I look forward to telling you all how the trip goes!
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
In less than two months, we will be on a plane headed for Jamaica. It's crazy to think that this time has come upon us so soon! It feels as if just yesterday we brought the idea up and now it's full speed ahead!
We found out last week that our plane tickets are being purchased and the dates are set for July 22nd- August 1st. Saying that I am excited would be an understatement. I'm thrilled to see what God's going to do and so glad that I get to be apart of it.
Along with finding out about our plane tickets, we also found out about a couple of scholarships that the church offering funds. For my mom, she is getting money as a short term missionary and I am getting money as a first time student missionary (I believe). All of that, and the plane tickets were less than we expected, equals this: we are going to Jamaica. We have our passports. We are soon to have our tickets. And we have the money needed. Praise God!
We would ask for your continued support and prayer as we continue this journey.
Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Monday, May 16, 2011
We have our passports! Praying for God to provide the money for us to go to Jamaica has been a big part of the whole process, which started a year ago when my mother and I first started talking about going to Jamaica.
When we first discussed the possibility of going to Jamaica, it seemed like a far off idea. A thought that one day, Lord willing, we would go to Jamaica. But now that We are leaving in less than two months, I should be able to grasp the reality of going. I still cannot. I am thrilled, but I don't feel it is actually going to happen. I probably won't until we are sitting on our plane flying to Jamaica!
But back to prayer. Without prayer, we wouldn't be where we are now. One day, a few months ago, I was praying about our trip and asking God to provide all the money that would be needed for us to go. I wanted Him to provide for us so we knew it was not our own strength. After praying about the financial aspect of our trip, I started talking to my mom about our needed passports.
Obviously when you leave the country, you have to have a U.S. Passport. And they are expensive. We started looking for applications to fill out and figuring out how much it would cost. (We had raised some money at that point, and had enough for our passports at the time.) Once we stopped talking about it and got back to school, my grandma came up stairs and asked us if we would need passports for our trip. Without even hearing our conversation! I told her yes, we would need passports. That we were just getting our applications filled out. She responded, "Well, that's what I am going to pay for. I'll pay for your passports. Is that enough support from me?" Wow.
God is good. That's the least I can say!
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
You have probably heard of Vacation Bible School (or VBS) before in your life. Every summer, there are churches all over the United States who host some sort of VBS. But what about VBS in other countries? This summer my mother and I will be traveling on a missions team to Jamaica to host VBS for the kids there.
Jamaica VBS was started many years ago as a means of giving children in the Mt. Pleasant Church of Christ area the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ. The mission has greatly expanded since it’s beginning. For the last several years, VBS was presented to over 500 children in three different churches in Jamaica by a team of about twenty teachers and helpers. Our two-week trip will focus on reaching the children in this area with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jamaica VBS, Inc.’s mission is:
· To reach the children of Jamaica with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
· To present the Good News of Jesus Christ through regular mission trips to Jamaica
· To expand the outreach of the Gospel to the homes of the children attending.
· To train and provide opportunities for people to participate in this mission work.
· To provide the tools necessary to conduct VBS in Jamaica.
I’m thrilled about this opportunity and what we will experience while in Jamaica. I am also thrilled to serve others and see the Good News spread to the children, and people of Jamaica. Through this trip, I will be watching to see if God will be leading me to missions work in the future. I hope you can see the value in this ministry and the fruit it will produce (Mark 4:1-12). We desperately need your prayer support. Because without prayer, how can we expect these children to receive the Gospel? Please pray for the children’s hearts to be opened to Jesus, as well as their parents when they share the news.
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6: 24-26.
For those who haven’t heard the Good News.