Prior to our arrival, our brother and sister had already worked on finding us accommodations in Kingston. A relative’s vacant home provided us a home base for the next seven days. It was simple accommodations with a lot of love. They had made sure that we had a loaf of bread, some muffins, instant coffee and tea, as well as, a propane tank with two burners and a vase of handpicked flowers that were placed so preciously on a little patio table. We were also blessed with a fan from one of their missionary friends, who knew all too well, that if you don’t have air flowing over you at night, while you sleep, you will awake with many mosquito bites, if you sleep at all. We send our sincere appreciation to them. Our next dilemma at hand was our need for a vehicle. Once again, our brother and sister in Christ came to our aid. They asked their Seventh Day Adventist neighbor if he wouldn’t mind driving us around Kingston so we could accomplish our tasks at hand. He graciously accepted and arrived early the next morning to assist us in our need. The next seven days were filled with many challenges, such as, acquiring phones; making the necessary contacts for importing and exporting; finding a vehicle to rent, as well as, finding the proper individual to repair vehicles; and getting through the maze of third world government bureaucracy to get our visa’s set for an extended stay. I personally find it hard to explain how third world governments work to those who have not left the States or have only stayed at resorts. It is truly something that one needs to experience for oneself in order to appreciate the many blessings that our Founding Fathers have given to us in the foundation of America. (Isaiah 33:22) Through the course of the week, Lowel and I grew increasingly fond of our new Seventh Day Adventist Friend and his family. His kindness and encouragement was new and uplifting every morning. God is truly amazing in how he unites people and breaks down barriers to further His Kingdom. An example of this during our trip was how God reunited my husband, Lowel, with a friend that he had not seen in about a decade and how he invited us, as well as, our new Seventh Day Adventist Friend and his family to an all-night prayer vigil at his home. Three different denominations coming together and praising our Lord in an all-night prayer vigil proved to be an amazing night for everyone. God’s presence was radiant throughout the morning hours, an experience that will not be forgotten. It is in these times, that I like to reflect on God’s Word and His desire for us to be one body united in Him. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, NIV “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas ”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I Corinthians 3:5-7 NKJV “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” I Corinthians 12:12-20 NKJV “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.” After acquiring a rented vehicle from a local Jamaican woman in Kingston, we continued our adventure to St. Catherine’s Parish, to attend Mass at St. Helen’s in Linstead.
Following Mass, Lowel and I met with Father Danillo and gifted him a portable amplifier to help him project his soft voice in the three churches that have no audio-systems. He seemed touched by our gesture and was quick to try it out. We were also introduced to a parishioner of many years, Mrs. Lee, who graciously offered to take us around Linstead and help us to find a home.For the next several days we made the commute from Kingston to Linstead in search of a home on the south side of the island which proved to be very challenging and ultimately unsuccessful; however, we do send our sincere appreciation to Mrs. Lee for her initiative and her kindness.
As our first week came to an end, we departed Kingston for the north coast by way of Stony Hill, where we were invited for a quick dinner with our generous brother and sister. While at dinner, a phone call came in from a young lady on the north coast who had heard that we were in town and she asked if we could stay the night with her family in Port Maria. Although we had our lodging established for the night, we graciously accepted and followed our Lord’s prompting.Upon our arrival, we were shown around the grounds and enjoyed a local jerk dinner and basically just got acquainted with one another. The next morning the girls made us a lovely Jamaican breakfast and we escorted them into town for some needed shopping. We returned to the house and had some time to share with the girls the realness of the Lord and His awesome plans for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11), as well as, how the Holy Scriptures are to help guide them in their everyday lives. Upon our departure, we left the girls with some fun Christian music (i.e., Toby Mac and Jamie Grace) and a John Maxwell Leadership Bible to help them to grow in and with the Lord and to become all that He desires for them. May the Lord continue to watch over these precious souls and guide them in the right direction! As Lowel and I headed out for our next destination (Ocho Rios), he smiled at me and asked, “Did you think yesterday when we were leaving Kingston that we would be waking up in Port Maria this morning?”
My response was a smile and that I had no clue how all that we had experienced had transpired but it was obviously God Ordained.Our next goal was to canvas the mountainsides of the north coast for homes near Guys Hill and Donnington. Our days were long and at times disheartening but praising the Lord helped ease our weariness. Throughout our adventure, the Lord continued to help us build ecumenical ties by guiding us to a Baptist Minister who shared the same mindset of bringing the Body of Christ together and putting our religious traditions secondary. (1Cor 1:10-13) We also had divine appointments with a local store owner and a school principal. Though they were reserved at first, the Spirit of God moved in their hearts and they began to share the needs of their communities. Although our plan was to search for a place to call home, God obviously had other plans. Go Figure! “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) In spite of the fact that we were unsuccessful in finding a home in the mountains near our assigned parishes, we did establish a wonderful friendship with a lady who owns a B & B on the north coast, with whom we stayed for a week. Through this new acquired friendship, we plan to move forward and stay at the B & B for our first month while we continue our search for a permanent residence. We departed the north coast on Monday, June 17, 2013, and made our way back to the Archbishops Residence in Kingston for our last night. We accompanied His Grace for lunch and dinner and shared our experiences and God’s Glory Stories in the midst of our daily challenges. The next morning we awoke early and were escorted by the Bishop’s driver to the airport to make our departure flight back home. Although our adventure to Jamaica was marked by feelings of disappointment and abandonment by the institution, we must not live by our feelings but live for God. Therefore, we choose to hold steadfast to God’s Word. (1 Corinthians 2:5 …that our faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) To Him Be the Glory! *Lowel and I would like to take this moment and thank our dear friend that assisted us financially with this scouting mission. We are sincerely grateful! God’s Peace