Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How did Rob and I get to Jamaica......(post 1 of JMP)

Rob with Petagay - she adores Rob!!
Well since I had such high demand for this topic (okay, it was Tiffany B....LOL) I am finally getting around to writing about our Jamaican Mission Program. Maybe I will do this in several posts. I don't know if you have realized this yet but my posts have a tendency to get rather lengthy.

In 2008 Rob and I were beginning to plan what we would like to do for our 20th anniversary. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. But the more we looked into it the more we realized the prices were insane. One day Becca had a Dr. appt with a new Dr. in town. When we walked into his office I see photos on his wall of beautiful beaches. When I asked him where they were taken he told me it was Jamaica. He then proceeded to tell me that he had a group of people going to Jamaica in January to help with some medical missions. I laughed and explained that my husband and I were far from in the medical field. He said that there were other things to do, such as go to work at an orphanage for disabled children up in the mountains. I was very interested but knew the hard part was going to be convincing Rob. Well to my complete surprise Rob thought it sounded like something he would like to do and so we booked our tickets.

I could do a whole post just on the adventures of our trip but I will give you the condensed version. When we arrived in Montego Bay we went to get our luggage. Well.....No Luggage - not for any of us. And half of our luggage was filled with medical supplies for the work that part of the team was going to do. The story goes that we were the last ones to arrive at the airport that morning and so our luggage was the last to go on the plane. It was horribly cold that morning in Chicago and they weren't able to get one of the luggage compartment doors opened. So our luggage got left behind. So now here is the whole group of us walking along the beach once we arrived at the hotel with our blue jeans and long sleeve shirts on. Well, except Doc and Nichole, they were the smart ones and had a change of clothes. Doc spent most of his time trying to talk to the airport to get our luggage back to us. Now it seemed that once it arrived there were questions about the paperwork for all the medical supplies. FINALLY while we were sitting in the Lounge area watching the most amazing football game between the Packers and New York - Doc arrives with our Luggage - minus the little purple suitcase that had all the liquid medicine that had Exploded because of the cold in Chicago and was oozing out the sides - Doc left that with the people at the Airport...LOL!!

On Sunday (while we were still w/out our luggage) we took our first trip to the orphanage to take a group of the children to church. As the bus pulled up to the gates my stomach dropped a little. I didn't really know what to expect. We pulled through and children began to run up to greet us. Now I know it was Franky saying..."come on, come on..." and waving us in while touching his finger to his lips... along with Beanny Mon and Tony and so many others that I have now fallen in love with. I remember stepping off the bus and being surrounded by children - hanging on to me and pulling me around to show me things. We were the first mission group to arrive for the season. So the children were overly excited to see "white people.." As I walked along I did okay for the most part until I saw one child laying on the concrete of her cottage. As she lay there the flies were swarming her and she just looked at me with her big brown eyes. I smiled at her and I can clearly remember telling God...."okay, God, I can do alot of things - but I can not do that...I can't let me heart go out to a child like that..." I know that sounds mean or rough but I just didn't know how to process the things that I was seeing. So we took some of the children to church and it was Incredible!! Pastor Douglas is On Fire For God!!! I just loved the people! One of the most moving things for me at church was when a lady in front of me let me borrow her Bible when she heard me tell Rob that mine was still in my luggage somewhere between Jamaica in Chicago.  As I looked at that Bible I was speechless. Now I write in my Bible alot..I make notes and put dates and places where I heard someone speak about a verse. But this...This was Amazing. The Bible was years and years old. And I am not exaggerating when I tell you that every open spot in that Bible was filled. All different colors of pens, verses underlined and circled. I just sat staring in awe. When I talked about it later I realize that these people are dependent on God in a way that we here in America don't have to be. All they have is God. We have Ourselves, Our Gov't, The Bank....all kinds of places to turn before we have to go to God. They have none of that and so He is their strength. That was life changing for me.

The next 3 days we returned to the orphanage...(finally wearing our own clothes) I started by doing some laundry and working with some of the women caregivers. Their lives are inspiring. Slowly I began to spend more time with the children and began to "make friends". I worked in the school room helping them color and then I would help in the dining hall and help feed children. I became extremely close to 2 girls. Njoki was in her mid 20's at the time and has Down's Syndrome. She is the mother to the children........my mind is flooding with memories but maybe I will do individual posts about them individually later.....Kerry Ann is the same age and has spinal bifida and is confined to a wheelchair. As I worked with the kids Rob and some others worked on the construction of a new cottage. The days were hard and long and took much more emotional energy than I ever imagined.

The second day while working at the orphanage I was walking into one of the cottages and the little girl that I had seen on the first visit was sitting propped up against the gate. I took a deep breath and walked over to her and knelt down. I began to see closer her misformed feet and the way she moved her head from side to side. I reached down to stroke her soft warm skin and next thing I knew she leaped into my arms and wrapped her arms around my neck and laid her head on my shoulder.....uumm - okay then....so I began to walk around the grounds just singing to her and patting her back. Finally after awhile I was walking by one of the workers and she said in that wonderful Patwa dialect...."Monic - wat you doin up on her?" then she began to explain that for most of her life Monic was unable to walk and she was only carried. But since the therapist has been working with her she has gotten much better at walking. But anytime she gets the chance she hops on someone so she can get a "free ride". She said she thinks it makes her remember when she was younger - sort of comforts her. So now when I'm there walking with some of the kids many times you can find Monic attached to me and I have a smile on my face.

Monic's feet

These are My Girls!!! Njoki and Kerry Ann.............<3
There are so many stories I could share and like I said maybe that is what I will do this week is just fill you in on what we do while we are there and some of the children and their stories. And then share with you some about our Jamaican Mission Program and how we actually started our own local organization.

Well, today my friends....Is there something that is difficult for you to look at...is there something that you keep telling God that he's wrong and "that just isn't for you..." What does he keep putting in front of you that needs your attention and you just feel too overwhelmed to do anything about it....It doesn't have to be something as big as helping a child in an orphanage - it could be something right in your own home, or school, or community....just listen....and when you finally give in and do what he is asking you to do I guarantee you will be glad you did....YOU get the rewards when you obey......Today I dream for you the reward from obedience...........have a blessed day my friend..........


Anonymous said...

Thank you Linda! Very moving! I can't wait to hear more!
-Tiffany B :)

Jocelyn said...

I loved taking that walk down memory lane with you! I have returned to school this fall so we won't be going this year...i will be living vicariously through you this year.