"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dont Worry. Be Happy.







Don’t Worry. 

Be Happy

 


 I can’t believe I am back in the U.S. Stateside. NW Ohio to be exact. It was only a few days ago that I was sunbathing on a beach in the Caribbean.  Well, not exactly. It was cloudy, and then rainy, and the sun didn’t really allow us to bathe. But, nonetheless, I was on a beach in the Caribbean.






 To top it off, today’s high is -9° here in sunny Northwest Ohio.


Like we really needed to come home to that.


But more importantly, Joy, Jonathan and I were with our second family in Malvern, Jamaica. Insert a bright, warm and sunny +84° and a little sarcasm.

Joy and Me in Montego Bay

Memories of making new friends and renewing lasting friendships.

Our favorite girls (and boy) holding their new dresses from Joy & Bethany
Of working hard 

video
 Here's a video of Jonathan demolishing a building

And then hardly working. 

Joy & I sipping from coconuts at the Primary School
Of eating
Here's some produce delivered on the Vegetable Truck

And then eating some more
A fabulous dinner made by our cooks, Ed and Dave
Of great Praise and Worship and great Prayer.

video
Here's Pastor Scott leading, "I Am Blessed!"

 Of  fabulous and life-changing encounters with children and students, and of hard, physical labor. 
video
Here's a video Joy leading the children at VBS, "Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes."

Of changing people’s lives, and of our lives being forever altered.

Scott and Nicardo. Last year, Scott, gave this boy a gold dollar and said that if he held onto it for the whole year until we returned, he would give him 5 more gold dollars. The boy did this and received his 5 new gold dollars! His older sister told us that Nicardo has slept with that gold dollar under his pillow every night since last year. Scott made this promise again this year. He says he's teaching the boy to invest/save. Scott has truly made a Kingdom investment. 

Yes, our Jamaica, 2014, trip has ended, and I am truly grateful that Joy, Jonathan and I had the opportunity to live and experience it. 22 team members.
The last day as we were about to board our bus to Montego Bay
Two fearless leaders—Scott and Marvin.  
Scott and Marvin (and Jonathan)
Men and women.

Young and old.

Unknown adventures looming ahead. 

Great fun!
video
Pastor Scott is interviewing Joy after she won the "Spoons" Championship Game

Great anticipation.

Great expectation.

Great joy and Divine Providence.

Yes, God’s hand was evident in everything.

 From Scott and Marvin’s phenomenal organization and preparation, to recovering my missing iPad. 

From demolishing a concrete structure, without any injuries, to painting a huge building.



From trimming hedges and brush to constructing tables, benches and bunk beds from pieces of wood.  
 
Leah, Mona and Joy trimming
Some of the newly constructed tables drying in the Jamaican sun
From sitting with a woman who owned nothing, by the world’s standards, but who had Jesus in her heart and who was in Jesus’ palm, to looking at her pictures of a life past, and looking forward to her heavenly future.


Miss Beverly


Beverly's modest home
From playing in a Jamaican Regional soccer game, to singing with the little children at vacation bible school. 
Getting ready to watch the game

Jamaican football (soccer) player
video
Here's the children reciting, "The Lord's Prayer," as they had earlier that day in school.
From gutting and cleaning 80 chickens, to rejoicing with many during a team led community dinner.

Louise and I helping to prep the 80 chickens for the grill
Cooking the chicken for dinner
video
Here's Scott and Marlin wranging around.

From passing out little stuffed animals, to seeing a grown man clutch one as if it were the only thing he owned.
At the Community dinner

From staying at a hotel without any water, to watching the hotel manager valiantly manage the situation. 
The Hotel Glorianna
From barely making our connecting flight in Houston, to arriving safely in Detroit. 
Waiting at the Airport in Montego Bay

From our luggage not arriving on time, to having it delivered in the wee hours of the morning, to my home.

Yes, God was evident in virtually every facet of our trip. Before. During. And after.

 
Mercy Me Performing, "Word of God Speak"

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

[CHORUS]
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

[REPEAT CHORUS 2x]

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
Yes, it truly is okay.

As Joy and I were trimming the hedges in front of the small United Brethren church, we talked.

We talked with each other.

And we talked with the many morning passerby’s.

People walking to work or to school, or just walking.

Everyone would speak to us, and we would speak with everyone.

A friendly “Good Morning,” and “Have a great day!” are the norm in Jamaica.

Joy and I both decided, then and there, that the Jamaican way of life is what we prefer.  I’m sure you remember the proverbial, “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”

Yes.

That.


That “Don’t Worry. Be Happy,” can sometimes be annoying to these type A personality Americans, but it really should be our Christian life style. The Jamaicans have got it going. They know that peace that passes all understanding.  In the midst of vast unemployment and minimal worldly opportunities, they have their priorities in order. They don’t worry, and they are just that.

Happy.

When we went to the Primary School to speak to the young girls about safety, we asked each girl to write a question, or many questions, that they may want to ask us. 


It could be about absolutely anything, and no one would know who asked the questions.

I thought the majority of the questions would be about boys and sex, and many were. 

But, funny enough, the most prevalent question was, “Why do so many Americans get tattoos?”  Great question.

I was particularly taken by a few girls who asked if it were true that boys were not allowed to do devotions in America. When I repeated the question, the girls clarified, “Is it true that Americans are not allowed to devote time to God (pray) in school?” When I answered, “Yes, unfortunately, it was true.” I explained the difference between public/government run schools and private schools.

The young Jamaican girls were astounded and adamantly said that they would not want to even visit the United States. Wow. Until this information, they couldn’t wait to leave the Caribbean for  North America, but not any longer. Talk about having your priorities in order. Sure, America seems intriguing and almost magical to them, but not a place to visit if you are not even allowed to pray in school. I assured them that God will never be totally taken out of schools because God is in our hearts, and many can and do pray silently. That seemed to calm their nervous hearts.

As I look back on our time in Malvern, I long for many things.

Of late, I long, covet and pray for the tropical climate. 


At Montego Bay

The warmth of Jamaica.

The 70° and 80°. 

Ahhhh. 

I long for the life of servant hood.

I know that I am meant….

No, I am called,

To be in full ministry.

When it Jamaica, it seemed so natural.

Serving usually does. Even in the states.

To wake up and serve.

In my ‘real’ life, I wake up, put the coffee on (currently Jamaican Mountain Blend), and get ready to go to work.

I clean the snow and ice off my van, shovel the driveway (if I didn’t do it the night before) and drag myself to my office—which, by the way, I love.

Yeah. It's this bad.
I work 8 hours and drive home just to either do things that a mom does or to whittle away the evening hours, just to rise the next morning and repeat it all.

Five days a week.

50 weeks a year. A girl’s gotta have 2 weeks vaca, ya know.

But Serving…….

Ahhhhh.

I know I am serving when I make a meal for my elderly neighbor

Or for a friend who just delivered a baby.

Or shovel the neighbor’s driveway.

Or encourage a friend.

Or visit a shut in……….

I know. I know.

But sometimes, I just yearn to physically serve on a full time basis.

To wake up knowing that I am not bound to a job that will allow me to pay my bills.

Oh, to be independently wealthy.

Anyway, I digress.

Over the next week, I’ll post pictures and tell ya some about my friends and family in Jamaica.

And the impact they had on me.

And on Joy.

And on Jonathan.

And what the Lord said to me, while I was in Malvern.

Sitting at a breakfast table.

Listening to a devotion by Pastor Terry.

Yes….

I’ll do just that.

But until then.....


Don’t Worry. Be Happy