A Great Week Closes

It’s amazing how fast something goes by. You plan for a year and it seems like it will never get here and then 2 weeks before you go the flurry begins and you blink your eyes and it’s over.

Instead of trying to give you some clever synopsis of the day, I’ll just let some of the pictures do the talking.

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Relationships are Built, While Building

The last time we came, we built some lockers for the local infirmary. When we got back to states we did some brainstorming and thought we could do better. Why not take some of the local boys who had an interest and teach them to do something.

This year the local infirmary asked us if we could do some tile work. I was ready to get my trowel in hand and then I learned that the area they wanted tiled was about 1500 sq. ft. Well wait a minute. That was a full week’s work for an experienced crew; so we said, “how about some more lockers?

So we took a couple of days to build the aforementioned step stools (that we used quite successfully for the planet viewing night) and the table. Then with those that were interested, we took them back to the infirmary to build more lockers.

3 young men were interested and they accompanied us. It was a fabulous time of building relationships while building something that would serve others. It is our prayer that these relationships will last a lifetime and produce fruit in the future. Please pray for Bobby, Sheldon and Renaldo. These young men are hard workers and really solid guys but they are tasked with rising above a culture that lacks the understanding of application of God’s word. They learned well the lesson of having a plan, and sticking to it, and for that I am grateful and praise God for the time spent with them.

On a side note, I am always impressed at the ingenuity of this culture and how they can make something out of thing that you and I would throw away. Take a look at the toy truck that one of the kids made out of an orange juice carton and water bottle caps.

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Thorough

adjective: extremely attentive to accuracy and detail; painstaking:

NO, wait a minute. Cross that off.

Ingenious

adjectivecharacterized by cleverness or originality of invention or construction:   Yah That’s it.

I have been writing about God’s planning and how we are discussing His thoroughness and yes, ingenious plans. Our teammate Elaine is a shining example of this. Just before her trip to Jamaica she went out on her balcony and felt a pop in her knee. There were not symptoms really other than a pain that confined her to crutches for the trip. This meant she could not come down to the beach daily with the kids as the trail is a bit tricky under the best of circumstances. To be sure at the beginning of the trip she was beginning to feel quite useless. But then God shows up and reveals His plans.

elaine

We have never been able to establish much of a relationship with the adults of the community. We are too busy trying to corral their kids. But, as Elaine has not been able to do much corralling, she has had some time on her hands in the late mornings. Time that has been used to, guess what!, spend with the adults that we have never been able to reach.

I am once again humbled and in awe as I see Him working yet again in a way that was completely unexpected. I can ask myself why I didn’t think of that all day long, but we all know the answer to that question don’t we, so let’s just not go there.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Is 55:9

 

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The Most Amazing Day Ever

part 3

I will never be able to describe the thoroughness of God. One of the themes of the week is how God is a planner. We know where the planets and stars will be at any moment in time and can tell what the night sky holds on any location on the planet because God is so thorough that the orbits and rotations of Earth and the planets are precise. So with a little math that none of us thought we would ever need, we can determine the night sky from anywhere at any point in time.

For I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

As amazing as that is however, it is nothing compared to the fact that this infinite God steps down from His lofty place and reaches out to this world, through His people. As many of you know we have been trying on several occasions to show a movie. This was to be the final attempt. We had purchased all of our own technology (speaker, projector, etc) so we wouldn’t have to worry about the local technology or someone remembering to bring it.

It was all there. It all worked. And the local kids and some adults for the FIRST time in their lives were able to see a portrayal of the life and death of Jesus. The impact was astounding, and just when you thought a perfect day could not get better; it did.

One of my roles in God’s plan is to be a sower of seeds. Then as the reaper brings in the harvest we both rejoice together. But on this night, God reversed the roles as the sower’s seed grew to fruition and these 4 precious young ladies came forward to receive Jesus as their savior.

Even now as I type this it is difficult to see the monitor through the misty skies of Jamaica. (there isn’t a cloud anywhere)

God is in the habit of fixing broken things. It is only a Creator God that can take a broken useless day, and step by step as we follow and trust Him, turn it into the Most Amazing Day Ever.

Please pray for Daniellya, Orionna, Sanakay, and Selena and their new walk with Jesus, and wisdom as we try to make sure they are mentored and nurtured on this new adventure.

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The Most Amazing Day Ever

part 2

Meanwhile as the VBS was riding their inward spiral, the construction began at the infirmary and it was a very good day.

We set out to build a bank of lockers for some of the staff members at the infirmary. They are very short of lockers and several people are actually sharing one. So as Curt Yoder and I began showing the boys (only 3 of which decided to come with us to the infirmary) we reflected on how at the end of this week, these guys will know how to build a small staircase (step stool), a picnic table, and a bank of lockers.

We got through with a good part of the project by end of the day and I was pleased that this project that I thought would take 3 days, was only going to take two.

The ladies texted me asking me if they shouldn’t skip the infirmary as they didn’t want to cut us short and make us leave too early. Not a chance. We would be ready to leave and that was not the answer they were hoping for. It’s amazing how, when we get beyond ourselves and just follow God’s lead, no matter how unfathomable it seems, we find that God meets us every time.

God showed up in a big way at the infirmary as the visitations went well despite the construction distraction. The residents even started singing while they were there and several of the ladies commented on the spirited worship, even from a particular woman with cerebral palsy.

The day finished on a very high note and everyone felt encouraged and rejuvenated and we all thought about how God took a terrible day and made it great, and isn’t that just the kind of thing that God does?

What we didn’t know was that God was anything but finished. Not even close.

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The Most Amazing Day Ever

part 1

As my wife will attest, I am generally a man of very few words. Every once in a while something happens that fills me with too many words; most of which I then have to take back or wish I could. It is very rare however that I see something that completely strips me of any words at all. I sit here this morning in that state. I have no idea how to explain, describe, relate, convey, or any other synonym you can think of, the events of Wednesday; day 3 of this trip.

So since I unable to explain the length and width, height and depth of God’s love (Eph 3:18) I will have to do my best to describe it and let you come to your own conclusions. The awe in which I sit will allow me nothing more and demands nothing less.

I realize I’m being a bit cryptic here, but that is what happens when there are no words left. I will have to break this up into more than one blog less I write a book in my efforts. But how can you write a book when you have no words?

The Worst Day Ever

So it begins with a day that should have been like any other day. It was the day after the telescope viewings that had everyone so excited as they learned of the immenseness of God. It ended in utter chaos as these hordes of lovely children showed up like the mobs of Atila the Hun.

With the exception of the teen girls (Ashley and Alex had them reigned in nicely) the kids showed their lack of real parental discipline and attempted mutiny. Things were taken, requests ignored, no one was where they were supposed to be. It was as I mentioned, chaos.

Usually everyone goes down to the beach but because it was so crazy it was determined that there was no beach today. Consequences of actions are not what these kids are used to so this was a good lesson for them. You know, ‘spare the rod spoil the child kind of stuff.’

Ashley and some of her teens. Remember these faces because there is story here too.

teen girls

Everyone left the church as per the daily routine but they needed to go grocery shopping for the next day. We have been feeding lunch to the kids who normally don’t get much in the middle of the day and they are so hungry after the beach.

The first store was closed; at 12:30 pm!  The next store had cheese but not ham. Across the street to store #3. No ham or meat at all for sandwiches. They searched the whole area and could find nothing.

Is there no meat on the whole island? 

In the midst of a very discouraging day they resolved to give the kids cheese sandwiches and considered not visiting the infirmary today as they were so tired, and so discouraged and it seemed a visit to the infirmary which had some other construction going on making it difficult to visit with the residents, was just going to be an exercise in futility.

But God had other plans.

More to follow…. (I love a cliffhanger, don’t you?)

 

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Unless the Lord Builds the House…

Yesterday was a fabulous day for all at the Jamaica Project. I cannot even count the ways that God showed up and allowed us all to experience His unfathomable grace.

The young men (6 of them today!) began a new project. A picnic table for the community center so the kids would have a place to sit. It was a joy to see them so engaged and enthusiastic. It was also a joy to see them stick to the plan. They noticed the difference. Once of the ladies asked one of the young men what the difference was today, and response was amazing, “well, we stuck to the plan this time.” YES!

the project

So now we pray that the visual symbol will remain with them as they live in a world that wanders without a plan.

The proud builders and the result.

Star Night a Huge Success

We couldn’t have asked for anything more at the star night. It was cloudy in the late afternoon sparking a bit of concern but the Lord of the weather moved those clouds out right on time.

It was everything we hoped as the kids were just so enthusiastic and you should have seen the looks on their faces (and even the adults that wandered over) as they looked through a telescope for the first time.

globe

One adult could not get over the craters on the moon which prompted a little astronomy lesson right on the spot. The technology performed flawless as the telescopes followed Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Moon with perfection. The whole day was just priceless.

Thanks to all for your prayers and support. The stories that will come from this day will last a lifetime.

I don’t really have pictures of the stargazing but Noelle got some great interviews with some of the kids which I will post on Facebook later on today.

This evening, The Jesus film.

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