Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What God did in Jamaica

So I'm sittin' here in our NYC apartment. Outside fluffy fresh snow covers everything. Such a contrast to where we were at the beginning of the month. We were in the tropical, sunny Caribean Island of Jamaica. More specifically we were in Montego Bay, St. James (the parrish) Jamaica.

We stayed there from Jan. 15th to Feb. 5th. I'd say it was the best part of my time with this base, YWAM-Manhattan. I think I could live in the Carribean;) You might think everything in the Caribbean is really nice, palm trees and sunsets but there is alot of poverty. It's a 3rd world developing country. There are homeless people and people that live in very humble dwellings...we could call alot of the homes shacks.

Jamaica does have alot of social and spiritual issues. Marijauna is a big issue... alot of people smoke it. Also about 75% of the people are born to parents that aren't married. Even though Jamaica "religiously" is more predominately a christian nation it hasn't impacted the hearts and lives enough to transform the nation, to transform the individuals.

We were hosted by an established YWAM base in MoBay. That was great to be part of a bigger community. The people on the base were awesome. I loved that part of being there... and the base had alot of space. They had grass and trees and flowers. They even had a pool and alot of places outside to hang out at!!!

Surrounding the bay is a slooping amphitheater of land. So we could look down on the bay and across at the other side to more of Jamaica. It was very beautiful! And at night it was gorgeous with the dark as a backdrop to the glowing lights of the city and sometimes a cruise ship all lit up like a christmas tree. We could see the stars at night!

Did I mention the weather!? It was wonderful. The sun was always shinning but it wasn't too hot. Because of the location of the base on the side of slooping land there was a regular breeze that kept the air moving! I loved it! and still do!

We had alot of ministry opportunites down there. We did a couple of prayer walks in neighboring communities. The communities were build around upward slooping hills. One was called Moy Hill (the incline on that "hill" was killer!) and Tower Hill. On the walk back down Tower Hill the first time we met up with kids walking home from school. I walked for quite awhile with Kaysha and Terona. I'd say they are about 10 years old. It was neat because we ended up doing some ministry at their school, tutoring and touching up murals(I did some painting with one of my team mates) and so I got to see them again a coupla more times.

We also spent a morning at a boys dentention center. That was special. We thought we were going there from 10-12 but than the schedule changed and we ended up leaving from the base to go around 9! So we had a "devo" time with the boys. We had asked God the night before what to do. We felt to do our skit, on spiritual warfare (shows the battle a girl, myself, goes through with thoughts and lies as demons cover her eyes and ears and mess with her but when her intercessors start to pray the angels of God go kick demon butt:), the skit is set to the Evanescence Song, "Wake me up Inside." Than Lissie explained the skit. Our host with the YWAM base O'Brien gave his testimony after. The boys could identify with O' Brien's past. He challenged them to come up front if they wanted to pray with him to pray for Jesus to come into their lives. About 20-30 boys went up front.

After our presentation we did a drawing project with them. So we passed out our supplies, there were maybe 40 boys that did it with us... they drew on benches, on the chairs and on the cement floor. One of the boys had me draw on the bottom of his paper... so I drew a cross and a sword and talked to him as I drew. We sat on the floor as I drew and we talked. I would say he had a faith in Jesus. I think his name was Richard. After working with him I ended up drawing on another boys paper and talking to him. I dont' think he knew much about God and Jesus so I told him some about how God wants him to be His son. He was more reserved than Richard. Also his leg was injured... and my foot had been injured so I showed him my bandage and he showed me his. We had something in common;)

I had my 26th b-day in Jamaica on the 26th of January. Actually I shared it with Lissie... she turned 28. She's from England and alot of the Jamaicans thought we were related or twins. We both have lighter long hair and -we're both fair. So on our b-day our team went to a Hospice... (actually that day our leaders left and handed the leadership of the rest of the outreach over to LIssie and me... so we were co-leaders for the rest of our time there. That was fun! and good:) Lissie and I worked very well together.) the Hospice used to be called an AIDS Hospice but it's name was changed to Hope Hospice because people were coming and improving.

So we spent the morning there. I ended up in a room with Harvey and Ranson Daley, one of my teammates, Anthony was partnered up with me. Harvey, a big guy had alot of trouble breathing. I helped him take a nebuliser (I think that's what it's called), he kept wanting to take it off, so my job was to keep moving his hand away. He hardly had any fight though... not much energy. His eyesight wasn't very good either and he couldn't hear well. It was also very hard to understand what he was saying. He wasn't doin' too well:(

The real story is with Ranson. Ranson is in his 60's. I don't know fully what his problem is but I know he had had a stroke so his left side was messed up. He laid on his right side the whole time we spent time with him. We ended up sharing the gospel with him. He kept saying he wanted to go to heaven. I would ask him very pointed questions as I was explaining the gospel to him, like do you believe this, "I believe" he'd answer back. He told me he didn't know how to read. I'm not sure how much he knew about God... but I ended up saying John 3:16 with him and he ended repeating each phrase after me... it was almost like he knew it from before. So as I'd review we'd say it together again. I had a hard time getting him to agree that he had sin... so I went out for awhile and asked Anthony to talk to him. At first Anthony said no, but when I came back Anthony had in fact talked with him and Ranson was ready to pray.

Even before going to Jamaica my roommate in NYC and I had prayed that I would lead someone to Jesus. So I got a neat birthday present. I prayed with Ranson Dalley to ask Jesus into his life. I will see him in heaven. I hope he goes there soon, the quality of his life wasn't very good. He told me at the end of our time with him that God was all around him. It was like he knew and had an understanding of spiritual things more than he was able to communicate. I don't know how clear his mind was. I remember looking into his eyes... his intent eyes and just talking with him. That was a really neat experience for me.

God did alot in us as a team and there was some really neat growth in individuals. I felt God met me in ways in personal struggles down there different than maybe any time in my life. He gave me alot of grace for a hard personal situation I had to deal with. I was surprised at how easily, after struggling through it for a awhile, I was able to get over it. It was definately God's blessing.

As a team one of the neat things God did was bring us together in unity. It's been something as a team we haven't been very strong on. We also had the chance to seek God together specifically on things and hear what He was saying. There were times that what we heard from God was very complimentary to each other! That was cool!

God led us to really having a serving heart for the base down there, they are short staffed... and they comented about the way we served. It was God opening our eyes to how we needed to change and also that that was a big part of our ministry as well to serve their base.

I love Jamaica... it wasn't always easy... it was outreach not a vacation:) The weather felt like vacation...
I know God did some neat stuff in us and through us. Thank you all for your support and prayers.

Please drop me a line. Share with me some of what you've been up to! I'd love to hear from ya'll.

So now I'm back in NYC and we're here until March 19th... doin' outreach in the city.