Jamaica 2014 Day 7 The End

So right now I am in the airport in Fort Lauderdale with a long layover reflecting back over the trip. This trip was extremely special because I was returning home. In 2011, I had to cancel going on the trip because my mother went into the hospital. She was later diagnosed with Non – Hodgkins Lymphoma. So I have not gone for the last three years due to focusing on her health. She is in remission and completed maintenance chemotherapy this past August. So going on this trip felt like closer to that chapter in our lives.

Twelve days before the trip I was admitted to the hospital and six days before I had to have an outpatient procedure done. Four days before I had issues at work and I am returning to a different position. Also had a financial hit that day, not to mention my medical bills. I was not able to complete all of my school work, so I had two papers to write while gone. The morning of the trip I arrive at the airport to be told that I have to pay $95 for my bags (side note not a fan of Spirit Airlines). Oh and by the way I am moving two days after I get back. There were so many things stacked against me, but I refused to let it stop me!

This past week I have seen God use a group of people ranging from 18 to 80 years old. I have seen young people’s lives changed. I have seen former campers emerge as leaders. I have seen what seemed like hopeless situations turn into triumphant situations. I have seen a person sick come back and make an impact in a short amount of time. I have seen the power of prayer. I have seen God in every situation!

I cannot wait until next year. As we debriefed and started getting ready to return to our normal lives, I saw a group of people turn into family. I believe I was blessed more than I was used. There will be stories that emerge as the weeks go by. I am truly honored to have been selected to be a part of the 2014 team!

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Jamaica 2014 Day 5 & 6

So Day 5 started off crazy rocky. We had to send one camper home, restrict 5 from the dance,  and deal with a major theft. But God sent Grandma Osie! She stood up and initiated an alter call. A number of youth accepted Christ, rededicated their life, and/or asked for prayer. It was a beautiful site to see all the counselors laying hands and praying for the youth.  The enemy attended to block the blessings, but ended up making them more powerful. We were able to minister and pray for all the children who got in trouble showing them love despite their negative choice. The night ended with a dinner and dance. The children were so beautiful and handsome. I stayed behind with those that could not go and I got to have some great conversations with some of the Jamaican CDA staff.

Day 6, the last day of camp, is always a bittersweet day. It is filled with laughter and joy as we celebrate the youth and acknowledge all the people that made camp possible.  It is also filled with tears as the realization is here that camp is over. I am so proud to have been apart of this great team that was used to enrich the lives of 60 youth throughout Jamaica. There are so many stories to tell that will come out with time. Now it is time to relax, debrief,  and start the transition back to regular life.

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Jamaica 2014 Day 4

Today’s theme became about forgiveness. I started off the girls’ sessions with an open discussion allowing the girls and counselors to bring up any issues on their mind. This allowed me to address issues regarding self-management,  reiterating yesterday’s message. We than transitioned to completing the knot exercise, which helped the young ladies put aside their differences in order to accomplish a common goal.

I then brought the groups back together where we discussed managing emotions, specifically anger towards people who have hurt them in some way from the past. This lead to the discussion on forgiveness. What a powerful discussion! I gave my testimony about being sexually molested by a cousin and my journey to forgiveness. The young ladies responded positively to the discussion and asked questions. My fellow counselors expressed their thoughts assisted with answering questions. God started the healing process in the young ladies’ lives!

I love how the trip also changes us counselors. I spent a good portion of my day speaking encouragement into some of our counselors who are a part of the scholarship program. I also received encouragement from my fellow team members who supported the process during the morning sessions. It was a beautiful day!

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The “Limeades” and “Mellow Yellow” doing Zumba!

Jamaica Day 4 2014

Today’s theme became about forgiveness. I started off the girls’ sessions with an open discussion allowing the girls and counselors to bring up any issues on their mind. This allowed me to address issues regarding self-management,  reiterating yesterday’s message. We than transitioned to completing the knot exercise, which helped the young ladies put aside their differences in order to accomplish a common goal.

I then brought the groups back together where we discussed managing emotions, specifically anger towards people who have hurt them in some way from the past. This lead to the discussion on forgiveness. What a powerful discussion! I gave my testimony about being sexually molested by a cousin and my journey to forgiveness. The young ladies responded positively to the discussion and asked questions. My fellow counselors expressed their thoughts assisted with answering questions. God started the healing process in the young ladies’ lives!

I love how the trip also changes us counselors. I spent a good portion of my day speaking encouragement into some of our counselors who are a part of the scholarship program. I also received encouragement from my fellow team members who supported the process during the morning sessions. It was a beautiful day!

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The “Limeades” and “Mellow Yellow” doing Zumba!

Jamaica 2014 Day 3

As Day 3 comes to an end I am reflecting on the day. This was my first day teaching and the start of youth reflecting on their life and starting to contemplate making decisions. I witnessed a young man stepping up to assist another young man in talking to a staff member about not returning to the facility he came from and he was excited to hear that he would not. This was the same young man reunited with his sister.

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I listened to another scholarship student give her testimony about struggling with her behavior and then making the decision to change her life. She attended camp last year and is now in school for culinary arts. We then transitioned to the gender specific groups. I had the young ladies present creative ways to express how they honor themselves. We then had a open discussion about self-management and how they present themselves to males. Throughout the day I have spoken with and counseled various young ladies about issues they are experiencing. It is beautiful to see how God is moving! I even did two hours of Zumba with the girls while monitoring all the youth’s movement through their activity. The stories are pouring in and I can’t wait to see the continued transformation!

Jamaica 2014 Day 2

Day 2 has been filled with meeting new faces and hugging old faces. It started with hearing stories of how God provided for youth to come when it seemed like they would not make it. I got to view two siblings, a brother and sister, who have not seen each other in two years being reunited. Healing started from the first moments. We were visited by the CEO of the Child Development Agency who got a brief overview of what the camp will be like for the youth as well as the workers.

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The biggest highlight of the day for me was seeing a former camper from 2009 who can tell me things he learned from my teachings and the pastor’s teachings from that year. He is currently a part of the college scholarship program in school of architecture. I am extremely proud if this young man who was facing a crossroad in his life and opened up to strangers changing his life.

I am so excited for what is to come tomorrow. Let my sessions with the young ladies begin!

Jamaica 2014

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Well I am headed out for a mission trip to Jamaica. Every year Dunwoody Baptist Church out of Atlanta, Georgia goes to Jamaica to conduct a camp for 30 boys and 30 girls between the ages of 15 and 18. Workshops are also conducted to educate the workers of the Child Development Agency. I have the honor of leading the girls’ sessions in the morning teaching young ladies leadership skills. This year’s theme is Born 2 Lead and the evening sessions will focus on Moses. I will definitely come back with posts, but while I am gone you can follow our travels on the team blog at http://dbcjamaicamission.blogspot.com