Hey, y’all!

As many of you know, Jamaica has been on my mind a lot lately.  I went on a two week mission trip in June-July 2013 (I was fifteen), and it changed my life.  I could go on and on about what went on in my mind and heart before, during, and after my Jamaica trip – God used it mightily and is still working in me through that experience.  For now, though, I want to share the summary I wrote shortly after returning home.  This is the raw report – no changes, edits, or additions.  🙂  Enjoy your raw taste of Jamaica!

Our mission team was pretty small.  Dave and Louise Street organized this trip, and Mr. Street has been there 8 times.  Neena Wilson is a VBS teacher and has been to Jamaica 9 times.  I, the youngest member of the team, am your friend (hopefully) and have now been to Jamaica once.

We stayed for two weeks, doing mission work in various schools, Vacation Bible School, churches, and wherever we got the opportunity.  It was definitely a new experience for me, traveling without any other family members and living primitively for two weeks.  But we could all sense God’s guidance the whole stay there, which was a real blessing.

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Sister Street and I giving the Bible lesson

Because of a modification in plans once we got there (Jamaican plans change almost every day), we were able to get into 15-20 different public schools in the area.  We did the same presentation at each school, sometimes dividing the students up into groups and doing it for each group.  Mr. Street would do some magic tricks and a little show with his puppet, Sister Street would lead in a couple songs, and then she and I would do a flannel graph story about Elijah.  Neena would come in with some review questions and a memory verse.   The kids loved it, and we loved them!  I made quite a few sweet little friends at one of the schools!

In Jamaica, the motto is “No Problem!”  They are much more laid back than Americans, never in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere.  We worked with the Jamaican Holiness churches down there, teaching Sunday School at one and VBS at the other.  Due to the school year being extended a week longer than expected, we decided to have VBS both Saturdays (two sessions each) and the first Sunday we were there.  We got a pretty good turnout, considering the late and lack of advertisement. 

Rabbit Ears

Pastor Simmonds giving Neena and I “bunny ears!” :)

Mr. Street told us about several young people who truly gave their hearts to Jesus last year.  They loved the Lord and were sincerely trying to follow Him.  However, partly because of the lack of discipleship and follow-up, they have backslidden since then.  A couple will openly admit that they are not Christians anymore.

If we look at it from man’s perspective, the spiritual future of Jamaica does not look encouraging.  There are many people “serving Jesus,” but their spiritual lives are built on emotions or what others think of them.  However, we serve a living God who is all-powerful and has a plan for Jamaica.  He has several true servants in that country, people who are TRULY loving Him and willing to follow Him, no matter what the cost.

I feel that God led me to Jamaica so that I can come back here and pray.  Prayer is so powerful!  It is easier to pray specifically now that I have been there and understand the needs better.  I am also very thankful for all the opportunities I got there to witness and serve.  I know that God used this trip to show me that only He can fully satisfy.  Praise the Lord for being with me through all and giving me the privilege to serve Him.

In the email I sent out before I left, I asked for specific prayer for myself and the team.  Thank you so much for praying and for letting me know you would!  While I was down there, the thought came to me that I should have asked you all to pray for the Jamaicans instead!  I would greatly appreciate it if you would continue to pray—not only for me, but for those who don’t know Christ.

And as an added bonus, here is a short description of our living habits that I wrote to a friend soon after our return:

We stayed in a four-room mission house (two bedrooms, bathroom, and living/dining room.  All the kitchen we had was a refridgerator/freezer and a small table area to put food on.  
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A glimpse of the “kitchen” and living room

It was challenging, as there were ants everywhere.  One morning I poured some cereal into my bowl and was about to go on preparing it when I saw it was moving!  There were ants ALL over it and in the rest of the box!  That was a little disapointing!  Another time they got into the peanut butter jar…yuck.  🙂 
Pretty much all we lived on there (besides little things here and there) was peanut butter and tropical fruit!  The mangos were delicious, but they turned my blue braces green.  We also took cold bucket baths each day because the shower head didn’t work.  
Hannah with kids

This was during one of our school presentations…my favorite school for obvious reasons!

To be continued…