Jamaica Journey Day 5

Another day is coming to a close here in Jamaica and it has once again been full of the blessing of God. We began with a devotional at Mt Ward Primary School where Jacob, thankfully for my voices sake, was able to lead the singing and Jan 1 and 2 did a great job presenting the parable of the rich fool. The children were all dressed up in the vibrant colours of the Jamaican flag for the special holiday here called “Jamaica Day.”  The college students also decorated the dining hall at Fairview for the occasion and had a special service in the afternoon that the ladies enjoyed.

The men continued the construction project with progress being made as 3 pillars’ foundations were poured and the walls have begun to go up. It is interesting to observe the difference in construction here in Jamaica with everything being made with concrete. It certainly makes for heavy lifting and the guys have gained plenty of experience with a wheelbarrow! I certainly have gained a new appreciation for manual labour and have been impressed with the cheerful diligence of the men.

The ladies also got in on the work this afternoon doing a wonderful job painting part of the ladies dorm. Jan Doull was right in her element and glad to be able to use the paint clothes she brought. The other ladies followed her lead and the job was complete in no time with the lady students glad for a fresh look for their home away from home.

After a team meeting with testimonies and questions answered we are ready for the adventure tomorrow will bring. We are heading out to see Jamaica’s natural beauty and wildlife, possibly having the chance to swim near crocodiles! I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. Be sure to comment and continue to pray for us. Goodnight from Jamaica,

Pastor Joel

 

Jamaica Journey Day 4

Today was filled with the blessings of God upon us and answers to your prayers. Truly there is nothing like doing God’s work and we were all filled with the joy that comes from sharing Christ and serving others. When I presented the purpose for our trip to the church I mentioned those two aspects as the reasons for our coming to Jamaica. Well today we were blessed to be involved in doing both.

First I had the tremendous privilege along with Caleb Curtis to sit with one of the Jamaican men who we have been working with and share Christ. “School boy” as he is affectionately nicknamed (his real name is Clarence but like home everyone has a second name here, others include sledge, shirt and professor) came to ask me a question about Canadian political and religious life. In the course of the conversation we were able to ask him if he was going to heaven. He assured us he would not be because he had never been baptized. We were overjoyed to share with him the truth of scripture that faith alone in Christ saves and after a lengthy time of sharing the gospel he prayed to be saved! What rejoicing we shared as God gave us the blessed privilege of leading this precious soul to Christ.

But that was only the beginning of our blessings. We then travelled into Montego Bay to Blossom Garden orphanage where the whole team was able to visit the fatherless in their affliction. Babies were held, toddlers were fed their lunch and we had an impromptu time of singing gospel lessons and having a Bible story. Jacob Baldwin did an amazing job on very short notice of presenting the truth that God loves us and can help us overcome anything if we will trust him, using the narrative of David and Goliath. Christian Brewer was a great stand in for Goliath and one of the little boys enjoyed being David. We were able to give the gifts many of you generously donated and the manager said she was jumping with joy at all the diapers and supplies that were given. Your kindness made a difference and demonstrated powerfully the love of Christ in a tangible way. Thank you for all who gave so we could be a blessing to this home that cares for over 60 orphans on a daily basis. It was neat to see God stretching people and using them for His glory. Our trip here will not soon be forgotten. Unfortunately, but understandably, we were unable to take pictures of the children so I can’t show you them but they were beautiful and precious. Plenty of hugs and laughs were shared and leaving was difficult as the children clung to friends they had so quickly made.

After returning to campus for supper we laid low, decorating for Jamaica day which is tomorrow and sharing a birthday cake as we celebrated mom’s (Claire’s) birthday today. After a time of singing and sharing we headed off to bed. Our hearts are full and we praise God for His grace to us. Continue to pray (especially if you could for my voice which I lost today and will need to preach on Sunday) and feel free to comment below. Good night from Jamaica,

Pastor Joel

Jamaica Journey Day 3

Our day began at Ferris Primary School where we were able to once again sing gospel songs, interact with the children and share some gifts from home. Tiffany Curtis presented the story of the Samaritan woman with an emphasis on Jesus being the Saviour who loves everyone. A highlight from our time there was hearing the kids sing the Jamaican national anthem and quote their pledge of allegiance for us. We were amazed at how their anthem emphasized their dependence on the Heavenly Father and sounded much like a prayer. With classes starting we headed back to the college to get back to work on the construction

The men changed into work clothes and went back to clearing the rubble and preparing to pour concrete “Jamaican style.” We were hoping for a Lefarge truck to show up but that didn’t happen so it was all done by hand! We were able to pour the foundation for 3 of the main pillars with 6 more to do. We were thankful to be beyond the demolition stage and start to see the building come together.

The end of the day brought a memorable experience as we visited McField Baptist Church for their Wednesday evening service. We just happened to be here on their special harvest service where church members bring produce and give it to the Lord. The many fruits, vegetables and goodies are then sold after the service and the money given to support the church. We were introduced to Jamaican culture by purchasing sugar cane, oranges, plantains, bananas, coconut drops and seeing plenty more local produce. The service itself was a blessing as we worshipped together with fellow believers joined by our common faith in Christ though differentiated by culture. We were reminded of the beauty of the body of Christ that brings unity in the midst of diversity. The people were warm and inviting, especially a deacon of the church who gave us a tour and shared many laughs with us, the worship was lively and beautiful and the preaching was encouraging. We left having met many dear brothers and sisters who we look forward to meeting again in glory if not before.

The day has been full and we are heading to bed with hearts full of praise to God for the richness of being His children. We trust the services back home were a blessing as well. Be sure to leave a comment below and check back again tomorrow. Good night from Jamaica.

Pastor Joel

Jamaica Journey Day 2

Are you from China? That was the question that greeted us this morning at Haddo primary school as the Jamaican school children tried to sort out where all these visitors were from. We assured them that we were from Canada which they found rather amusing. After interacting with the children outside we were able to start their school day with gospel songs and a devotional about the loving forgiveness of God as demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal son. Tara did a wonderful job presenting and the team joined in passing out our gifts. We were all impressed with the school uniforms and how well behaved the children were not to mention the fact that we could so openly share the gospel in a public school!

While the ladies and I were at the school the men were busy starting the construction project. Several Jamaicans have been at work for a week already so the men joined in clearing rubble and working with rebar. After a hard day of labour the demolition and clean up was done with plans for mixing concrete tomorrow to put up the new support posts.

Our other opportunity for ministry was a visit that the team will not soon forget to West Haven Orphanage. This is a home for physically and mentally challenged children and we were able to drop off gifts and interact with them. Each of the team members soon found a “friend” that took them around. These often abandoned precious people were were so happy to share a hug and a smile. We left with plenty to process and thankful to God for the opportunity to share the love of Christ with them.

We have been blessed by the wonderful people, hospitality, culture and weather here in Jamaica and we trust we have been a blessing. Thanks be to God for all His grace and mercy to us. Continue to pray and check back tomorrow. Good night from Jamaica.

Journey to Jamaica

According to the good hand of our God upon us we arrived safe in Jamaica on time and with all our luggage! The only delay we experienced was in the Tim Hortons line at Pearson airport in Toronto. We landed to the warm sunshine of Jamaica along with the warm hospitality of our hosts at Fairview Baptist Bible College. Pastor Black and another man from the college met us in our new ride for the week, a borrowed Awana van. We loaded the suitcases up and after a quick stop at Mega Mart (a Jamaican form of Costco) to load up on water we were off to the college.

After a lovely supper meal of rice and chicken we had a team meeting to get ready for tomorrow and now it is off to bed. A long day that started at 2:45 am for most has come to a close and we are praising God for his goodness in bringing us here. We look forward to how He will use us to share Christ and serve others this week. Thank for praying for us and continue to do so. I’ll do my best to update each night so be sure to check back. Good night from Jamaica,

Pastor Joel

 

ps. I was hoping to put up some pictures but the internet is not cooperating well. Hopefully tomorrow!

Jamaica Missions Trip

It is hard to believe, that after a year of planning, our missions trip to Jamaica is just a few short days away. God has brought the team together and provided abundantly for us to be a blessing to the believers there. I trust you will enjoy following along as I attempt to blog our adventures and keep you informed as to what God is doing through us. Be praying for the team that we would share Christ and serve others well to God’s glory!

Pastor Joel