It is our fourth full day in Jamaica and our third time visiting the river. The first day, most of the Jamaicans just stared at us. They let us play football (soccer) with them, but they mostly just laughed at us as we attempted to swing off the tree. Today, I think they were more accepting of us. They didn’t stare as much and they continued to play soccer with us. They even jumped off the tree with us, gave us tips and helped us climb the tree. Today, I saw friendship in a place where I wondered if it would ever exist. – Grant Runyan
We ran our 2nd day of VBS and the number grew from 80 to 120 from Monday to Tuesday. There’s a buzz around the community about our presence and people are interested to see what we’re doing. The kids are picking up on the songs, memorizing Scripture and warming up to us. It’s been incredible to see our teens stepping up and leading. I know they are being challenged physically, emotionally and spiritually through this trip. I pray that God continues to move among them and through this community in Jamaica. – Pastor Jamin
We’ve had a packed 2 days and haven’t had the opportunity to post yet, but here’s some of what we’ve experienced:
Jamaica has been relentless in drawing us in since our arrival. The heat sticks you to the ground. The sweat weighs your skin down. The air coats your lungs. The shovel buries a part of you to replace the ground you just dug up. Everything hits you in the gut: the language, the poverty, the mountains, the people. Yet there is joy. There is peace. There is hope. There is an ache that no doubt Jamaica is our home and we will take Jamaica wherever we go. – Ben Riley
I can remember going to maybe 3 other churches other than TCC in my life. Burnt Savannah Church of the Nazarene makes the list at number 4. It was really cool getting to experience a different way of worship. The people here are very vocal during the services whether it’s singing or shouting out praises between songs and during the sermons. You can hear the passion and love they have for God in their voices. It was a bit intimidating when they started shouting and singing really loud and when the speakers would shout into the microphone, but I’m thankful to have been able to be in the services. The global church is standing strong and is in good hands. It was great to worship the same God in a different location in the midst of brothers and sisters that shared the same beliefs. – Elizabeth Sims
Today was a work day for the team and the heat was intense! Check out some of the stories from the morning:
I moved a lot of dirt today, but what impacted me today was talking to the Jamaicans…even though I couldn’t understand their dialect! It was nice to meet people from another culture. I look forward to the rest of the week. -Dillon Knight
This whole morning was a great experience for me, making new friends and learning more about their culture. When we got water, there were several of us from our group, me included, who were upset that the water was warm. I mean, being out in the heat, who wouldn’t want cold water? But then as I was looking around the Jamaicans weren’t complaining, they didn’t say anything about the water. That for me was a humbling moment. They were just grateful for water after working for a while. I pray that God continues to show me more moments like that and I pray that he opens my eyes and the eyes of the others on this trip to see what else He’s doing in the world and in the lives of the people here.” -Erica Sims
Today I worked in the church courtyard digging trenches in which we will use to assist the Jamaicans in the construction of a wall. The work was hard, but it was definitely work worth doing because it will separate the playground from the rest of the courtyard. I find myself wondering about the extended reach of the Nazarene church because of the work that is being done in this community by the Burnt Savannah church, and I am even more in awe of God’s growing kingdom all around the world. Because of the people I have met, I am realizing that being a Nazarene is a very broad term for a very diverse group of wonderful people. I can’t wait to see how God will work through the rest of this week, and I am loving this trip so far! -Matthew Hatton
It really was a great first full day. We look forward to another work day tomorrow and a chance to further get to know our Jamaica brothers and sisters in Christ.
Waking up for a 4:00 am airport call can be tough. And most people aren’t awake enough to look forward to anything. But not these kids… Here’s what they’re thinking about this morning…
My mind is racing through all the projects we will be a part of. I am looking forward to serving God and these people. The fact that we are able to give, teach, reach out, and minister to others is the absolutely amazing. My heart desires to make a difference in and for others. This mission trip is giving me the chance to work humbly and fulfill God’s call to us all. -Sarah McMillan
This is my first experience outside of the country. I am looking forward to seeing another culture and how the church is working in other parts of the world. I am excited to work with my friends and enjoy this experience with them. -Grant Runyan
I was worried about not helping the kids enough while we’re there until a friend told me that God would give me the strength and knowledge I needed to do what He wants. He’ll save them and make a difference through me. So, I’m excited to see what God’s going to do! -Anneliese Dance
Based on previous mission trips, I can’t wait to spend time playing with kids, getting to know them, and seeing how much of an impact it makes on their lives. -Emily Pullen
Stay tuned for more updates as we wake up!
We’re in the air folks! This is the 3rd international trip Trevecca Community Church has taken with high school students in the last 7 years. We’ve provided 56 students the opportunity to experience their church, their clan, the Church of the Nazarene in another culture as they serve and build relationships with our global church. I look forward to leading and watching this group of 20 as they serve together.
My excitement for this particular trip is seeing our students step out and share their stories of faith. They will be running a VBS, engaging with other youth their age and loving on kids in a foreign context. It’s always a journey and I look forward in how they wrestle with God through this experience. Please be in prayer as we step out of our comfort zones and witness God’s hand around the world.
Here we go! – Pastor Jamin