Our plans for a mission team trip in the summer were canceled because of the travel concerns with the unrest in Kingston related to the drug gangster. On that trip, we had hoped to demolish and rebuild a larger basic school in Johnson Mountain, a remote community in the mountains of eastern Jamaica.
The last week of July, after the unrest had subsided, three members of our leadership team traveled there to check on some of the missions we sponsor and to look for other places to serve. On this trip, we carried five suitcases filled mostly with children's shoes and a few clothes. There were in excess of 200 pairs of shoes. Some of this was made possible by a shoe drive conducted by a little boy in our church who asked for shoes for Jamaica in lieu of birthday presents. Another child did the same thing, but asked for donations instead of gifts. We took some of his money and purchased kites which we took to Seaside for the children there.
We again traveled to Johnson Mountain to survey that project and to make more plans (details later). Also, we continued our work with the elderly who have recently become more of a concern for us. We have helped serve them for years through our Christmas giving. We have repaired homes for some, visited some, and fed them. A few years ago, with the help of another mission team, we helped a private nursing home in Port Morant. On a recent trip, we went to visit a blind lady we had helped previously who now resides in the Infirmary, an indigent nursing facility in Morant Bay.
We were in for quite a shock at the Infirmary. It was extremely crowded, they had insufficient laundry equipment, the insect problem was severe, there were no operating fans, and less that one quarter of the residents even had a pillow on their bed. There was no privacy, not even curtains. The good news was that an organization that retains the profits from the Jamaican lottery had used some of its income to begin building a new building that should house about one third of the residents. With insufficient laundry equipment, there were piles of soiled laundry attracting many flies. Many residents were having to do their own laundry by hand in sinks.
Seeing the conditions there, we knew we had to help even though we try to be cautious about getting involved with a government entity. However, we saw suffering and decided to get involved. While we were there, we purchased a commercial washing machine for the facility. We have also purchased 100 pillows for the residents. We are making plans to do more for the residents around the holidays, possibly make gift bags with soap, wash cloths, hygiene products, some snack food, etc.
We are also trying to help a few of the elderly who are living independently, but in very bad situations. This is a little more difficult because in many cases, helping the people would require a move and many of these people would rather stay put even if moving would make their lives more comfortable. Also, their homes are in terrible shape, but we cannot improve the homes because they are rented properties.
Upcoming Team Trips:
January 15-22, 2011
We are planning a mission team trip for January 15-22, 2011. The main building project will be the demolition and construction of Johnson Mountain Basic School. We believe this will be a 3.5 day project. There is a chance that much of the team will stay in a very nice home in Johnson Mountain. This will save over an hour commute each way. This will also allow some bonding with that community. We may show movies at night there and try to do other ministry there as well. We expect there will be some of us at the mission house in Port Morant. We may have to organize the food, liquids, and materials for the work team. If we have enough people, we hope to have another team (not involved with the construction) that will be interacting more with the local community in Port Morant and surrounding area. We may put together gift bags and distribute those to the people in the nursing home as well as the poor, the sick and the elderly in the community. We may also be able to do some work in the Special Needs School and with the Basic Schools. Of course, we will also be working with the poor children in the Seaside area.
Youth Mission Trip
March 12-19, 2011
This is the time for Spring Break for many colleges and high schools in Alabama. We have some young college people (one who has been to Jamaica with us before) who would love to go and help lead a high school youth group. We are still working on the plans for this. Of course, the Jamaican youth will still be in school, so there will be no daily Vacation Bible School, but we could consider doing one in the afternoons and evenings or even work within the schools. The teachers in the Special Needs School would welcome any help. Also, we would probably be allowed to work in the public elementary schools and the basic schools. There is a lot of work that can be done with the elderly during the mornings as well. We can also have programs at night in the various communities.
God is still showing us areas of service and need. We have recent knowledge of some areas where God is working there. We hope to join and help expand His work there. So, please be in prayer for Jamaica, its people, and that God will use us for His purposes there.
If you are interested in one of our trips or supporting our missions in other ways, please contact me: