Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reflections on Jamaica

Before I was ever aware of a coming M.A.P.S. trip to Jamaica, I had been praying to God on my knees each morning that He might guide and direct my thoughts and actions regarding service to Him in missions. Some months had past when one Sunday morning at Sunday School Jodi Wisor told Jaime that there would be a meeting at Evangel Temple about a mission trip that She and Bob were considering going on.
The meeting was to be held that very week. Jaime and I made plans to attend the meeting, expecting to learn much more about this trip.
As the meeting began in a large Sunday School room in Evangel Temple where some fifty people had gathered, the speaker announced that he was circulating a sheet of paper where each person planning to go to Jamaica was to sign up.
I immediately realized that God had placed before me an amazing opportunity. Yet He was not giving me an opportunity go home and think about it, talk myself out of it, or find a reason that I should not go. He was sending the piece of paper across the room person by person and it would soon reach me. God"s question for me was would I sign the paper? Would I put my faith in Him? Would I answer His call to step way out of my comfort zone?
I thought about my prayer that I had been praying each morning on my knees, asking for Him to direct my thoughts and actions regarding mission service to Him.
So in complete trust in God alone, I placed my name on the paper.

I continued to pray for the mission trip. I prayed for the members of the team, that God would keep each one safe during the week. I prayed that all would be filled with the Holy Spirit, that lives would be saved, that God's will be done and His purposes be fulfilled. I'm happy to report that all of my petitions were answered.

The location of our mission was Ocho Rios Jamaica. We left Columbus early on Saturday morningon the Evangel Temple bus. Forty eight persons were on board. We carried not only our own luggage, but that containing medical supplies and construction tools. We arrived in Montego Bay, cleared customs, traveled by bus to Ocho Rios arriving at our quarters at Teen Challenge Jamaica by about 7 pm.

Our quarters afforded little privacy, but our comfort was adequate. Most of the women were In a 12 person bunk room. 12 of the men were in a similar room. The remaining men who were on the construction team were quartered in a motel closer to the construction site.

Teen Challenge Jamaica is affiliated with Assemblies of God. In Ocho Rios, the two are on adjoining properties.

On Sunday morning we attended church next door.
The church service was special. Seemed like God was in the house. God was Blessing Jamaica with his presence. Music seemed to flow throughout the entire service, including the prayers. I was surprised at the selection of music. Most were contemporary standards that could be heard at our9:45 service. The musicians included drums, bass and keyboard . Though it lasted for three hours, it seemed much shorter.

Sunday afternoon, the medical team was to provide for the medical, dental, and reading glasses needs of the church community. Instead of going with the construction team I was asked to work with the medical team. I was asked to receive the Jamaican patients and complete for each one a registration card which contained their name, age, and medical need. I also tracked the number of patients needing either medical, dental, or reading glasses being careful not to admit more than the available slots for each morning and afternoon.

It was significant for me that I had originally signed up for this mission to work on the construction team. It's mission was build a 4200 square foot greenhouse that would provide a means for teen challenge to raise vegetables that would be sold to resorts in the area, providing ongoing funding for it's mission to provide young men with a spiritual treatment method for their drug addictions.
God has a plan for each of us and for me, instead of working with the construction team, His plan was for me was to work with the medical team.

During the five days of the medical mission we ministered to more than 800 persons. We provided people with more than 300 pairs of reading glasses, provided medical examinations for more than 600 people, the dental team extracted more than 500 teeth from more than 120 people. The medical team also performed 2 surgeries.

I wrote in my journal on tuesday February 5th:
The teen Challenge Jamaica praise band is rehearsing in the first floor dining room. Very beautiful. We're having our souls healed and renewed. People are grateful and I believe that the love of Christ is being shown by our work here in Jamaica. We're being blessed. To God be the glory!

Our team leader Jon Connelly spoke to us at breakfast on Wednesday about David and the three smooth stones. The stones that were chosen were smooth, but not perfect. They were imperfect vessels. Jon went on to tell us that we are each called by God to fulfill His purposes. Like the stones we too are imperfect vessels. Yet in His hands the vessels can become great.

I would like to close with a short prayer:
Father teach us to pray. Open our hearts to the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Lead us to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Teach us to follow the example of Jesus. As He taught his disciples, so let us learn and teach others. Amen.

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