So the morning of the last day of camp we held the baptism at 6:30AM. The Lord answered our prayers as it was the warmest morning we had all week. It was a beautiful ceremony with one adult and five campers being baptized. We held our closing ceremony and said our tearful goodbyes.
We arrived at the hotel and my focus was on relaxation as I was flying back home on Sunday. Out of all of the years I have taken this mission trip this was the first time I flew back early. I will not do that again! The extra day to rest is much needed and I have struggled all day even with trying to take a nap.
On Saturday we always have a debriefing meeting where each person says something about the trip. It can be a story of something that happened or how the trip has affected you. For me this year’s trip has been about coming full circle. Five years ago (with the days of the week lining up exactly) I had to pull out of the trip last minute due to my mother going into the hospital and later being diagnosed with cancer. I missed the following year also. I feel like I came full circle with this trip and it is causing me to reflect on the things that I was in the middle of completing then that has not gotten completed. It is as if in many ways I have been stagnate for the past five years because my focus has been on my mother’s health despite her being in remission for a couple of years. This trip for me represents me needing to come back and complete those things in order to move forward. God showed me a glimpse of where he wants to take me but these things have to be completed before I can do that.
Before I left yesterday I was able to sit down and have a conversation with my mentor who is also one of my spiritual parents. She caused me to reflect back beyond the five years and identify how a major mistake I made is still holding me back. She made me realize that going forward I have to do a better job of listening to those around me and not allowing my pride to get in the way when I am rebuked.
This trip was not just about God using me to help the campers and others, but it was also about God showing me what I need to do next. Until next year Jamaica!
Today was the last full day of camp. This is also the day filled with excitement because we have the banquet and dance. It is also a bittersweet day because we know we have to say goodbye tomorrow. Today’s mission moment came from one of the Jamaican counselors. She informed how she was called last minute to volunteer and had no clue what the camp was about. She shared how hearing the children and counselors’ stories stirred her soul. She stated that she realizes she needs to make changes in her life and asked to be baptized. So tomorrow morning we are offering to baptize any camper or adult who has accepted Christ or rededicated their life to Christ.
I am worn out, but in a good way! Our morning workout was interrupted by rain so we moved in doors and started quiet time early. God spoke and we prayed over each youth. The day progressed with God using me to assist with a camper who is severe mental health issues and had an outburst. This lead to an amazing moment where God used me to show him compassion and understanding. Throughout the day God has presented amazing moments with youth and even with other counselors.
The mission moment of today is the guest speaker that came to discuss a new program where the Child Development Agency has partnered with a school to create a transitional living program to include residential housing. This has been a prayer for ten years! When camp changed from ender specific to coed, I was in graduate school for my doctorate degree. I was at the point where I started working on my dissertation and I wanted to do something to benefit the Jamaica Mission Trip. I spoke to Nana Kay who is one of the leaders and she informed me that they wanted to change the format of the camp. She stated that they want to teach the youth indepenent living skills because they are finding that the youth are struggling to survive once they age out of the system. So I researched and created the curriculum that we use at camp. As we started doing the new format for camp we realized that we are not able to teach everything we need to in 4-5 days. We prayed for a solution to this issue and today that prayer was answered. I hope to partner with this program and assist in its further development.