We arrived safely in TO with mixed emotions we left Jamaica! Sad to leave but happy to see our friends and family and share the things we have learned. Our flight is on schedule we arrive at 8:35 west jet 579! See you soon!
Today was an incredible day!!! Posted below are the testimonies of how The Lord worked in our hearts through the things we saw and experienced!
This morning we joined the YWAM people for a worship and prayer time. We had an amazing chance to go to Lethy the place where we built our Project Serve 2012 home and visit Karren and her family. It was so great to see the people again and to bring them some groceries! We had a great morning of singing, doing skits and visiting with the people. In the afternoon we had a chance to hand over the keys to Kayan (read the post below to hear about it).
We are heading to a Youth Hostel for a day of debrief, we are also going relax on the beach! We are very tired but we are going forth with the strength of the Lord! And excited to talked about how we are going to bring the amazing things we have learnt back home to Saskatchewan!
“When I first signed up for this trip. I thought that I would be serving the people that I met by showing the Lord’s love for them. Instead, I found that the people who were here showed me what his love really looks like. The people here have such a devotion and love for the lord not only in their worship but just in their everyday lives. It was really inspiring for me to see people who literally have devoted their whole lives to serving the Lord. I think that in the end, the people of Jamaica have blessed me for more than I even could have blessed them and I am incredibly thankful to them for that.”
“This trip has been an amazing experience and super inspiring. The most inspiring thing for me though was visiting the first family that project serve built a house for. It was so neat to see how well they are doing and to hear their big plans for their house. They have even started to build on. I just thank God for what he continues to do for those families. I am just happy that I got to be apart of this experience, thank you everyone who helped make this a reality for me. I love you mom and dad and Ill see you soon.”
“Wow, what a great experience. One place we visited that stood out to me was the West Haven Childrens Home. The people I met were some of my best friends when I was in Jamaica. When I walked into West Haven for the first time a kid named Frankie clinged onto me and took me on a walk. I will always remember the people I met and served with.”
“Coming to Jamaica has been an amazing life changing experience. God’s never-ending love and blessings have been so clearly presented before me. West Haven was probably one of the biggest highlights for me. Knowing that those kids are orphans and deal with their disabilities everyday of there lives helped me realize how blessed we are in Canada and the little things we take for granted. Moments I will never forget are just holding some of the little kids hands and smiling at them, taking them for walks in there wheelchairs, singing for them and just pouring out love they so deserved.”
“During this trip my eyes have been opened to just how big my God is. His love exceeds all suffering and misfortune. I’ve been so blessed by this trip by everything I will take away. I will never forget singing “Jesus Loves You” with the children at Blossom Gardens and West Haven. There love for Jesus and all it encompasses will forever be in my heart. I’m leaving Jamaica truly changed by the love of Christ. Isaiah 55.”
“Our past 3 days were spent building the house for Kayan and her family. The construction was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was great to see the entire team working together for a common goal. I was impressed by how eager Kayan was to pitch in on the building process and help get her house up. The thankfulness that Kayan and her family had for us was also incredible to see. The entire trip was an amazing experience and something I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life.”
“When I signed up for this trip I was expecting a lot of things. But during this trip so much more happened then I could have ever thought possible. Today was the most amazing though. We finally got to bless the house and give Kayan the keys. It was amazing to see how incredibly thankful her entire family was. Their joy was overwhelming, and it became such an emotional moment for all of them as well as many of us. It felt so amazing to be able to help her in this way. After we blessed the house, we got to go and worship inside. You could just tell that the room was filled with God’s presence and it was incredible! This trip has definitely changed what I plan to do in my future.”
“Today was such a memorable and impacting day. We blessed Kayan (pronounced Kay-Anne) house and family with our prayers and then handed her the keys. Inside the house we stood in a circle and sang the song Ten Thousand Reasons. Kayan and her family were so thankful and did not expect the extra blessing and surprise that awaited. We furnished her new house with a bed, fridge, table, chairs and stove with the extra money we had. I saw Kayan lie on her bed and sigh happily as her children flopped down beside her. In that moment it was clear that this house is more than a house; it’s a home. A home where they will laugh, cry and grow making memories along the way. Thank You for all the supporters that made this incredible gift a reality.”
These past two days have been wonderful, but a lot of hard work! Many from the team were learning new skills. The team has worked hard and fast on our building project. We have pushed through the heat, blisters, and VERY sore feet, but we are so excited that we where able to complete the project a day before we thought we would. WOW. What a blessing.
Our past few days have also been filled with a prayer walk through the community of MoyHall where we are building the house and playing with the kids from the communities. We have also got to serve at the YWAM base (raking leaves, digging trenches, scrapping paint, and doing some painting).
Last night we where really excited to have Kayan and her family join us for YWAM’S community meeting! We got to sing two songs: one we wrote (in Reggae style) and another worship song. The YWAM staff loved our song, and we have been requested to sing an encore tomorrow.
The team members are currently reading their "secret mail," and we are reminded once again of the amazing support systems we have back home and are extremely grateful for all of you in our lives. Thank you for all of your love and support.
We are going to dedicate the home to Kayan and her family tomorrow. We will write another post before we leave the base tomorrow with a bunch of thoughts from the students.
Pray for us as we are ALL VERY tired! We really want to process and apply all that we have been learning so pray that we would help each other do that as we finish this trip strong!
With much love:
Hannah and Joeline
Oh whatta glorious day. Woke up somewhere around 5:00 breakfast at 6:00 working by 7:30. so a normal day in most of your lives, but certainly not for most of our group. We drove up the treacherously steep hill right behind the YWAM base, and then carried all our equipment through a couple yards to find Kayan and her family. We were welcomed by Gilly, her father, who thought this was very early to be working, but who was very grateful for us to be there. We started by singing a worship song and then 4 students shared testimonies of what God has done in their lives. This will be our routine for the next 3 days and it was such a good "foundation" to start with.
This home is being built for Kayan Anglin and her 3 children! She has been praying, working, and saving for three years for the home we are building! Her immediate family has been as generous and supportive as they can be, taking loans for cinder blocks/cement and helping her lay the foundation. currently they all(10) live in a 3 room house with a small backyard which the house we are building fits into. It is so clear that Kayan is thankful and excited for her new home.
We started right away with the eager help of Kayan, and several community
members, painting and framing the house. Everyone just jumped right in and was
willing to help and learn. By lunch time a majority of the boards where
painted and 2 walls where up and standing. Mrs P (Kayan's Mother) made us
a wonderful lunch of rice and curried chicken that we thankful accepted, it
really beat our PB&J plans! The rest of the afternoon went by like a blur
as the team worked exceptionally well together! Tonight in our meeting the team
members shared this as one of the most common highlights of the day. Another
highlight/lowlight was being VERY dirty! Between sun screen, dirt, saw dust and
paint, we where a great big sweaty mess of goodness!
We came back to enjoy the wonderful pool, eat a great supper, and have an encouraging team meeting!
You can pray that we would be a blessing to the community. Pray for Kayan (single mother of four) That we would keep working well together and that we would be bold but wise as we communicate the goodness of Jesus Christ to Kayan and her community.
Here's a reflection from one of our team members:
"Something that has been really cool to see and be apart of is the value and importance the YWAM staff place on God. Because of this a sweet community has been built. Every time we leave and enter the property we pray. I love how we get a reminder to turn our focus back to God each time. The YWAM staff are awesome and I've enjoyed getting to know people who have incredible amounts of love for God. Their daily actions of faith inspire me to live more boldly for Jesus. How they help each other by cooking meals and doing dishes is a great example of serving with love.
Love you lots Mom, Dad, and Cass. See you soon!"
Thank you for your support and comment towards this trip as a whole, you are instrumental in what God is doing. We are grateful.
From Joel and Hannah.
We had a great day today despite the on and off down pouring of rain. We enjoyed a 3.5 hour church service at the Light House. The worship was filled with just a little more energy than we are used to but it was very exciting to participate in! We ate a delightful lunch at the "Pork Pit." Next we ventured to the Craft Market, where we were met by, "Many Great Deals Mon!"
Tomorrow we are looking forward to an adventure at Dunn's River Falls! We will send our next update on Tuesday Night ( after our first day at our Homes of Hope Project).
Thank you for all of your prayers and support! We are so excited to keep learning and growing from the people of Jamaica!
Check out the Project Serve trips featured in last sundays Star Phoenix news paper.
"Wow! Before the trip I was definitely trying to block (out) all the hard times that were going to happen. I (just) thought (about how) it would be awesome holding the little black babies all the time and building a house. Nothing prepared me for West Haven. The day before they told us we were going to an orphanage that only accepts children with disabilities, both physical and mental. I got terribly nervous and scared. (When) we arrived I saw the kids from inside the bus. I took a deep breath and I was ready to go. God gave me such peace and told me I was ready to go. It was so awesome to know I was ready and I would love these children with all my heart!
The first day was just building the relationships. But the second day we arrived they knew who we were and were so excited to see us again. More of the children came out to sing songs or just hang out. And I made myself a boyfriend! Heheheheh! He loved to walk around and hold hands. Even though most people didn’t understand any of the words he said, I caught a few and that was super cool! By the time we were leaving I had grown quite attached to him and wanted to hang out with him more. But I’ve learned there is a time to say goodbye and sometimes it comes sooner than you want it too.
I will never forget him and his cheerful smile!"
At hope hospice Nicole and I visited with an older gentleman, We were talking about sports and music and then I asked if he had any family that came to see him, there was an awkward silence and then he said “you are my family because you come and visit me”, when I heard this it meant a lot because he was a compete stranger and he was so welcoming to me, I felt a new feeling of confidence.
Psalm 68:6-God sets the lonely in families and leads out prisoners with singing.
From Ya Brada Joel.
After another beautiful, haawwt sunrise, the team was ready for day 3 of serving. We had the amazing opportunity to go back to West Haven's to visit the familiar faces there. Immediately upon arrival, two boys with warm smiles greeted us as we entered their home. It was hard to imagine being able to top a day like our first visit, but returning to see those children had surpassed any expectations that we had on the day. Kids were automatically drawn to the team members who they had made relationships with the previous day. Smiles, hugs and laughter were being passed around the entire playground, and it was great to see everyone so comfortably interacting with each other. It did make leaving a lot harder though, after spending more time building into the new friendships. We sang more songs, helped the workers feed everyone lunch, then were on our way to the Hope Hospice.
The Hope Hospice is a home for about 20 adults who need a lot of care due to different types of diseases and ailments. We were able to spend the afternoon visiting and singing with the patients there, as well as receiving encouragement and advice from them. The team learnt today how to let the Holy Spirit guide them in situations where they are unsure of what to do or say. That He will provide the wisdom and strength for them as they face new challenges. Some were as well encouraged by the fact that even though some of the patients are forced to just lie in bed all day, they remain faithful and in close relationship with the Lord. One man had stated his new occupation became praying for others and the world around him, and our friend Mr. Whitey taught us about God's love. He told us that no matter what this life brings you, it is impossible to have nothing when you have Jesus in your heart. Mr.Whitey and all the patients at the Hope Hospice were living examples of this.
P.S. here are a few short testimonies of what some team members have experienced so far!
Today was an incredible day for the team and myself as we went back to West Haven Children’s Home, and visited the children that we met on Wednesday. Seeing the smiles and joy on the faces of the kids as they saw us again, and the smiles that came to the faces of the team as the kids remembered them was a highlight of my day. The way Christ showed me the value in the lives of everyone, even the most unfortunate, through these two visits to West Haven was more than I could have ever asked for. We also visited Hope Hospice, and the stories of the lives of those elderly people were quite extraordinary. Meeting 62-year-old Mr. White, a man that has been bed-ridden for the last 9 years was an eye opener. The love for Christ that Mr. White had was a lesson for all of us as we listened to him teach us to love all like Christ loved, unconditionally and never-ending. When our trip to the Hope Hospice was coming to a close, we all made a final visit to a little, sweet old lady named Cynthia, who blessed our entire team and prayed for our team as our service here in Jamaica continues. What I learned from both Mr. White and Cynthia, was to love, trust, and obey Christ no matter the circumstance.
My experience with Blossom Garden was super rad. When we got there we didn’t know what to expect. We were soon taken in to where the babies were, and as the team quickly picked up every baby in sight, there weren’t any left for me to hold. It wasn’t until Hannah had placed a baby on me that I realized holding babies could be really cool. I then sat with baby Sarah on the swing until she fell asleep on me, something she hadn’t done with anyone else before. It was awesome! #YOLOswag4Jesus
Today we had the opportunity to visit Blossom Gardens. This is a government ran orphanage with many children, toddlers and babies. Our morning was full of "firsts" for our team. Many of the boys experienced holding babies for the first time, others rocked baby's to sleep, and some learnt that holding a baby while swinging is a very good ab work out. As the morning progressed it was so exciting to watch the smiles and giggles start coming out for these precious little ones. As we would play, sing "Jesus loves you," and pray for these children, the Lord broke many of our heart at the realization that these babies don't always have people there to hug, cuddle and love them. Watching these young babies go down for naps and not being able to sooth or cuddle them as they cried their eyes out was not an easy thing to watch. As we left the babies and toddlers our hearts were heavy with the reality of these children's lives.
As we took our short break before going to hang out with the school aged children, our energy was fading fast. We all walked slowly to the play ground where the kids were. As we turned the corner we were immediately energized. There was a beautiful group of kids waiting to play with us. The moment they saw us it was like a swarm of teenage girls running toward Justin Beiber. All the children came running at us, jumping into our arms, pulling us to the play ground and wanting to play all kinds of games. As you looked around the yard there were kids hanging off all of the team and many were sounds of squealing and laughter. After play time we went in to sing songs, do a craft and show them a skit. Saying good bye was the hardest part of the day. We couldn't imagine being in there shoes, meeting new people each day and knowing that they will not be there to stay. It was sad that all the kids knew the drill. As our time together came to a close the children that were draped all over us moments before became distant and waved good bye as we left. Emotion filled our team, even though our bellies were growling with hunger, our hearts were longing to be able to do more for these beautiful children.
As hard as it was to leave, our eyes were opened to how the Lord values and loves all his children. It is amazing to know that even though these kids may not have earthly parents, they have a father in heaven who will always care for them.
Ephesians 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us."
We arrived to MoBay last night with "no problems mon." From the moment we walked off the plane our skin was instantly moisturized! We had a quick supper, prepared for the next day and quickly fell asleep!
In the morning we drove an hour up the mountain to West Haven Children's Home. This home is for physically and mentally handicapped children from the age 3-37. Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by many friends. There are 80 residents at West Haven with a full range of disabilities. Many are non-verbal and require full assistance for basic needs. These realities where overwhelming as we first arrived and it took some adjusting as we learned how to interact with them. It was amazing to see the team stepping so far out of their comfort zones as they tried to show love to the best of their ability. Here are some of the teams reactions to the day:
-they had so much Joy: smiles, laughter, squeals, and singing
-it was really hard learning how to communicate
-I prayed and God gave me wisdom as I tried different ways to communicate
-it was overwhelming seeing suffering babies who had their whole lives ahead of them.
- I heard a child who couldn't speak, clearly be able to sing "Jesus Loves me"
-it was amazing seeing the whole group singing and dancing together
-having the opportunity to spoon feed a child was humbling and fulfilling.
In the end It was hard to see these orphan's who, not only lack loving parents but have many mentally and physically challenges. But we also had a sense of hope and purpose in what we did today, it was amazing to see the whole team truly love them.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Joel and Hannah.
P.S. a big thank you goes out to the grade 5/6 class at Rendell Park in Lloydminster for your involvement in this adventure!
P.S.S. Shout out to Josie's sister....HAPPY BIRTHDAY! from Josie!
P.S.S.S. Thank you for your comments keep them coming its great for the team!
Stay tuned as we get set to launch the official blog for Project Serve Jamaica 2013!