Jamaica update #2

My latest email update …

This week has been intense but incredible! I’ll try to give you some brief highlights. I’ve also added another 90 photos to the online photo album; you can find it here.

On Sunday we enjoyed a two and half hour worship service at a local Jamaican church. The regular pastor was away, and his replacement didn’t preach as long as he would have – typically the service last more than three hours! It was definitely different than we are used to; the music, the dancing, the interaction, the sermon … but it was also an incredibly good experience and we’re looking forward to church again this coming Sunday.

On Monday we went to Hope Hospice, a local ministry dedicated to assisting the dying. We met men and women who have lost limbs, unable to talk, paralyzed and more. We spent the time singing, sharing testimonies and spending time listening and talking with them. You’ll have to ask us about Mr. White when we get back – we went there to bless them, but this man – in spite of being paralyzed from the waist down, limited use of his arms, and stuck in his bed for years – blessed us more than we can communicate. He preached to us, prayed for us, touched each of us. We all came away knowing without a doubt that he was a man of God like none we had met before.

On Tuesday we started our day at a food pantry serving a late breakfast to the homeless people living on the streets of St. James. It was a tough crowd; several of the students shared a devotional and testimonies, as well as all of us singing, but there were a lot of interuptions. It was rough exposure to some of the harder elements of Jamaica. After that we went to Night Runners Homeless Shelter, a facility much like our town’s Sunday Breakfast Mission. Several dozen homeless men and women live there, raise crops, receive training, and are equipped to reenter life on their own over the months they spend there. Once again we sang, shared testimonies, and also shared a drama, in addition to spending time speaking with them and getting to know them. After that we went to St. James’ Infirmary to minister to those there. The conditions were so rough and so sparse it would be impossible to compare the facility to even one of our simplest and smallest clinics. We are so blessed in America. Once again we spent time caring for the patients, singing to them, listening to them, and trying to demonstrate God’s love to them. It was not an easy day.

Today (Wednesday) we went to West Haven Home for Disabled Children for the morning and afternoon. Easily the most challenging day of our trip. Basically, it is a home dedicated to raising children with disabilities who are abandoned in the streets of Jamaica. It is under funded, and has limited resources. Children brought there will most likely spend their lives there, so they currently care for individuals birth through their twenties (it was started about twenty years ago). I believe there around 30-40 residents and a handful of staff. Our team sang, played soccer, pushed their wheelchairs, held their hands, fed them lunch one spoonful at a time, and entertained them with puppets. It was way out of any of our comfort zones, but the team demonstrated incredible love and grace, finding ways to communicate with each person we encountered.

Hannah Glavin summed it up tonight accurately; last week was incredibly physically exhausting with building the house while this week has been incredibly emotionally exhausting.

Tomorrow we will spend the day working around the YWAM base, while on Friday we will put together a one day VBS for a local orphange with around 50 children birth through eight years old. Pray for us!

The days are winding down, we will be returning home soon. It has been incredible to see all that we have learned through our service and through our ongoing study of Christ’s prayer life. We can’t wait to share it with all of you in person!

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