Happy New Year!
OK. I’m just days away from heading out of my absolute favorite country in the world to another. From the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,’ to the ‘Land of Wood and Water.’ I’ve left the United States many, many times before, however, this time, it seems a bit different. Yes, I am going to Jamaica on a mission trip, so my reasons are not temporary. They are eternal. They are monumental. They are commissioned.
Nonetheless, when this mother of three ponders this adventure, I remember when I went two years ago with my then 17 and 15 year old children. The trip was WON. DER. FUL. And that’s truly an understatement. Jonathan, was then given the opportunity to go last year, without either Bethany or me, and said the same. The trip was WON. DER. FUL. And I expect this year to be just the same, if not better. More knowledge. More experience. More anticipation. More necessity for a break from my normal.
When I think of Jamaica, I remember the people the most. The friendly, unassuming, humble, warm, fun loving, people of God. I remember their smiles. Their hospitality. Oh, goodness, their hospitality. And their worship. WOW! Being Full Gospel, their worship rocked, even though we didn’t attend a Full Gospel church there. The worship leaders were definitely Full Gospel. Like it or not. I’m sure God did. I remember Bethany dancing with the little girls during the service, Jonathan being called up front for an illustration, and the worship. Ah…..
Here's a video from my friend, Heidi Hughes. Heidi has been to Jamaica many times, including with me two years ago, and this is one of her videos.
I also remember the poverty. The little medical center in the middle of Malvern. On a dirt road. A small room for women’s exams.
I remember the elementary school. The hoards of children in clean uniforms studying intently. I remember the Christian posters on the educational walls. The make shift lunch vendors selling candies and soda to the children at lunch, in outside huts, because the school did not have an operational cafeteria.
The dental clinic we held. How we showed absolutely every student how to properly brush their teeth and then gave everyone a toothbrush and toothpaste.
I will never forget Vacation Bible School. Tons of little children lining up, on their way home from school, anxious to just ‘be loved,’ to ‘be touched’ by our hands, the Grace of God, our smiles, everything. The many, many children accepting Christ as their Savior. The hunger of these children was envious. Oh, to be that hungry for the things of God. I remember the respect these youngest of children had for those in authority.
And I remember the weather. The glorious weather. Leaving Ohio in January and going tropical can definitely have it’s advantages. When I used to travel to Hawaii, I would always think, ‘It would be nice to live here,’ and then reality would set in, and I knew that I never could, but I never would really want to. It was just a nice thought. When I think of Jamaica, I sometimes think that same thing. With the United States Government doing absolutely everything in its power to be ungodly and unjust, I have to remind myself that God has placed me here ‘For such a time as this.’ That He is in control.
He also reminds me that if Jamaica were my home instead of the United States, I would…
•be 2.7 times more likely to have HIV/AIDS,
•have a 2.4 times higher chance of dying in infancy,
•earn 82.33% less money,
•use 82.15% less electricity,
•have a 55.91% more chance of being unemployed,
•have 40.78% more babies (because abortion is ILLEGAL),
•die 4.76 years sooner,
These are some sobering statistics.
I personally know people who are intent on moving out of the U.S. because of our political climate. Our ungodly government. Our immoral laws. Our killing of children. Our abandonment of the elderly. Australia is their destination of choice. Although that sounds tempting, too, I know it is not what God has in store for me. Although I would love to visit the country “down under,” I wouldn’t want to live there for many reasons. The main one being, uhhhhh, my entire family lives in the good ole’ U.S. of A. I will miss terribly those in my life that will move down under, but alas, I am staying.
I also know I will miss the Jamaican people the moment I get on the bus. The second I leave Malvern and head to Montego Bay. When I board my flight to Detroit. When I unpack my belongings, and when I anxiously await my future trip in 2014.
I know that many, many people read this blog, and over the years have asked me what they can do to help me. If you read previous posts, you'll realize my daughter was extremely ill a year ago, and still suffers tremendously, and your prayers are not only appreciated, but coveted. I ask that you please lift this mission trip up in prayer. That God's will be accomplished. That everyone is safe. That we will be able to bring God's love to a hurting world. That our hands and feet will act as though they are are the Lord's. And that we have an eternal impact in the lives of many.
I’m looking forward to posting pictures. Soon. Very soon. Much love, blessings and thanks, Shari