After almost one year of planning and preparation, I arrived in Jamaica on March 17, 2015. Departure day was bitter-sweet. I was excited to return to Jamaica and serve the Lord, Jamaican people and the short-term mission teams. Yet, that also meant leaving my family, friends, American home, culture and customs. Saying goodbye to my crying mother at the airport wasn’t easy, and staring over in a foreign country can be tough. However, when you believe God has a plan you must trust, obey and follow Him!
Within hours of leaving the USA, I hit the ground running with a short-term mission team that arrived with me in Jamaica. The next few weeks were busy working with that team, unpacking, meeting new people, re-establishing old relationships and adjusting back to life in a developing island nation. I had one month of training with Lisa Lockwood, outgoing missionary, before she departed on April 18th. She spent time educating and training me about the changes that had taken place during my eight year hiatus. During this time we hosted a team from Anderson Hills UMC, Cincinnati, Ohio who built a small home. Like riding a bicycle, things come back and I picked up quickly. Most of the month of May was spent setting-up and preparing for the summer teams that began arriving on May 30th. CSI had short-term mission teams booked every week through August 18th. During that period I work approximately 17 hours a day, seven days per week, hosting, leading and planning for each of the eleven teams (one team every week).
I praise the Lord for sending three volunteers to help with the summer teams! Pete and Ladeana Jones from Peru, IN, served from the end of May through August 18th. And Harold Duvall, Lexington, KY, served from June through mid-July. I cannot thank these great folks for being willing to serve during the busy summer months – I don’t know what we would have done had it not been for their sacrificial help!
It has been a blessing being back home in Jamaica, establishing and re-connecting with many friends who are like family that I have worked with and served alongside of over the years! In the mid to late 1990’s , during my first missionary term of service, I use to conduct Adult Bible Studies and visited in the communities of Bloomfield and Berrydale every week. This year, on Easter Sunday, I returned to Bloomfield Methodist Church for a visit. It was great to see my Jamaican Church family and especially Mrs. Esmie Boyer, who is 93 years young! (See photo above). It was her husband, Mr. Eugue Boyer, who first invited CSI Ministries to work in their Church and community in 1987. Mr. Boyer went to be with the Lord in 2003, but the Boyer family remains pillars of the little Church that sets alongside of the Swift River, in the foothills of the Blue Mountains!
As I look back over the past seven months I must give praise to our great God for His blessings on and over the ministry in Jamaica. Thus far, we have served 15 Teams with over 184 Short-term volunteers – that worked and ministered in the following areas:
- 14 New Homes built for Jamaican individuals and families!
- 4 Great Banquets Held for approximately 71 Jamaican Guests!
- 2 Homes Repaired (Foundations, Roofs, Walls, Etc.)!
- 6 Vacation Bible Schools conducted!
- Construction started on a Store Room for a local ministry!
- Numerous School Devotions!
- A Women’s Bible Study!
- 1 Jamaican Man gave his life to Christ at his House Dedication Service!
I am grateful for the Lord’s hand of protection over our staff and short-term volunteers as we travel the Jamaican roads and work in the heat and high humidity. From time to time someone doesn’t feel well or gets a small cut, but thank God, overall, we have had and accident free season!
Please pray for RAIN! Since August, Jamaica has been in a water crisis and severe drought. We haven’t had water in the “Pipe” (faucet) from the National Water Commission (Water Company) since late August due to the lack of rain. During the month of August we have numerous brush fires around the Mission House neighborhood. In September we received a little rain, but much more is still needed.
In Closing, Thanks to all of my faithful prayer and financial supporters who, by your help, make it possible for me to serve the Lord as a missionary in Jamaica with CSI Ministries! I am grateful!
In His Service,