Today was an exciting day for Trinity’s Mission Jamaica team.
As we gathered in the entryway to load the vans to make our first trip up to Westhaven, our group felt it all: Excitement, eagerness, anticipation, nervousness…you name it.
The drive was smooth and easy. (Sunday always is. It will be a different drive tomorrow when we’re trying to make our way through Montego Bay traffic).
When we unloaded at Westhaven, the kids who live there were still finishing breakfast. So we had a few minutes for Jeff Peterson, the Mission Jamaica director, to give us a bit of a tour, and to tell us how the days would go.
Our group split up into different cottages to help finish up breakfast and to get those who
were heading to worship with us dressed and ready. At 10:30am, we began walking the kids up the hill the quarter-mile to Faith Chapel. Once there, we had to assist them up the short, steep hill into the church, literally carrying the wheel chairs up to the church patio.
I’ve always thought of this as a pretty powerful experience. It reminds me of the story of the man who was paralyzed, and when the house where Jesus was teaching was too crowded for them to get him in to Jesus, his friends lifted him up to the roof, cut a hole and lowered him in. To be honest, some days I’ve felt like the man needing lifting…and some days I’ve felt like one of the friends helping him out. Today our team got to play, really, both roles. We physically lifted. But when we were in worship, we were reminded that we all need the opportunity to experience Jesus’ love.
Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
Worship was wonderful. At Faith Chapel there is always energy and enthusiasm. These people have a passion for their faith, and as a Jamaican Pentecostal Church…well let’s just say that the Holy Spirit is always moving full-throttle here. (And, their sound system goes up to “11.”)
Worship took about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Afterwards, we helped load the Westhaven folks back down to the road and walked back to the kids home.
That was when we had some excitement. About halfway down the road, a woman who lived there came running out of her home, holding a young child who was clearly struggling. The child couldn’t breathe. But in our group, we had 2 nurses (Emere and Amber) and a respiratory therapist (Kris).
Emere held the child facing down in her arm and gave it the infant version of the Heimlich maneuver, and the child was able to cough up a cracker it had been eating. The child then also went into a seizure, because of not being able to breathe. But they tended to the child and it came out of the seizure and was ok.
One of our devotion topics for today was “where did we see God?” It was an amazing experience of God’s grace to be in that moment. Thanks be to God!
It started to rain about the time we got back to Westhaven. So we left shortly after our return.
We had time at the hotel this afternoon to hang out, be outside and enjoy the ocean, or a game of volleyball. We gathered at 6pm tonight for devotions, and then the group went to dinner.
After dinner, we spent some time talking at the dinner tables, but by 9pm, most of the group had returned to their rooms to get ready for tomorrow.
It was a good day, that set the table well for what we will experience in the days to come.
As we talked about in our devotions last night and tonight, we know that God will be with us. Our prayer is that we are able to see the multitude of ways that God will show up that we don’t expect. We are praying for depth of vision.
Please join us in that prayer, as well as prayers for safety, health and amazing experiences.