Wow, just realized that I have not written anything since March of last year! The second part of last year I was focused on training for a half marathon and accomplishing goals that I had set for myself, that blogging fell to the side. But that is alright because I am back and ready to educate and advocate!
I usually start the first blog of the year talking about my goals for the year, but this year I want to do start off differently. There are so many issues in the news today that I could speak on, but I honestly do not know where to begin. So I am going to start this year off writing about preparing for another year serving the youth of Jamaica on a mission trip.
Today the team met to start preparation for the trip. I am excited about another year meeting new youth and having the opportunity to let God use me in whatever way He sees fit. I have been participating in this trip since my Junior year of undergrad (I refuse to count the years! LOL). We have an amazing team that is forming and we are looking for other people to go, assist financially, or pray. If you are interested in helping in any way, please let me know.
Until next week I leave you with this quote from my Passion Planner: “WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN, OR YOU THINK YOU CAN’T-YOU’RE RIGHT. HENRY FORD”
So things are bunkers in my life right now! I am studying for my licensure exam which is very expensive and I also have to pay for the fees to get licensed. I am moving to a new apartment on my birthday, which everyone knows takes a lot. And my brakes need to be repaired immediately! I determined that this year there was no way I could financially pay to go Jamaica. I had accepted that this year was not meant for me to go, but apparently God had other plans.
I received a call stating that the leaders were not accepting that I was not meant to be there this year due to finances. Then I received an email days later titled “Sending for Pumpkin A.K.A. Dr. Shandra Davis. She is in the middle of a move.” It was an email written by one of the leaders It was filled with pictures of me with campers and staff from previous trips. It also included my words about past trips I have attended. This brought tears to my eyes to know that this team has my back and they are willing to make the impossible, possible.
So I am sending out a SOS! It they can believe God to send the money, so can I! I leave for the trip on April 17th which is only 3 days after I move! The best birthday gift I can get this year is not only to be in a new home, but also to have the privilege to go minister to the children of Jamaica. So I am asking everyone to assist me in raising $1200 so I can go. You can go give online at the DBC website. Here is the link http://www.dbc.org/jamaica Just hit the big blue GIVE NOW button, sign in as a guest, fill in the form and put my name at the bottom box … just that easy!! If you would like to mail in a donation, please contact me directly for directions. If you are unable to share monetarily, please lift me and my team up as we prepare to go minister. Pray for the hearts that will be touched and changed.
Transformed Jamaica Mission Trip 2015
So I got back from this year’s mission trip on Monday night, celebrated my birthday on Tuesday, and rested Wednesday. Today I finally unpacked, am washing, and I am getting things back in order. I still have until Monday before I return to work and I am on my normal schedule.
I wanted to take time to do a full reflection on the mission trip. I was happy to connect two new people to the trip and travel with them from Tampa. This year’s team was filled with multiple first timers and the first time the team was all together was at the airport in Montego Bay. We did not have a chance to do full introductions until that evening once we arrived at camp. I must say that God put a dynamic team together! It was amazing to see how many different talents were available and how each person fit based on their gifting. Everyone pulled their weight and jumped in when needed.
I was happy that I got to teach the boys this year. It was comforting knowing that the girls were in capable hands and to be given the opportunity to return to teaching the boys. I love my girls, but it is something powerful about being able to impact the lives of young men. In in teaching the boys, God stretched me to give parts of my testimony that usually reserved only for women. The young men were so receptive and God used my testimony to address deep rooted issues that the young men struggle with. I am also grateful for all of the male counselors who supported me and backed me up when called on.
I had the pleasure of having the same junior counselor for a second year in a row. This young lady is a part of the scholarship program and has decided to change her major to Social Work. I am so proud of the growth that she has done in a year. She came to camp focused on letting God use her to impact the lives of the young ladies in our group and to learn. Many times we do not get to see how being at camp impacts the youth, but this is one transformation we have had the pleasure of witnessing. I am also grateful for my co-counselor Cherise who allowed me to spend time away from our group with the boys.
The last day of camp, I lost my voice. And it was in that moment that I realized that I gave it all. I gave it all to God and allowed him to use me in whatever way needed during that week. Once at the hotel, Ms. Gwen did a devotional called “It is finished.” She referenced Jesus dying on the cross and talked about how the work that God called us to do at camp was finished. She talked about how we have to rest in God’s assurance that what needed to happen in the lives of the youth that week was done and now the responsibility was on the youth to take what they have learned and apply to their individual lives. I will continue to pray for each youth that was at camp and I am sure I will keep in touch with some. While our work as a team is finished, I know that God’s work has just begun in each of the youth. Until next time.
Transformed Jamaica Mission Trip 2015
Can you say tired! So today was the last full day and it was full of fun. We ended on a high note playing “Steal the bacon” after exercising at 6AM. We then had a wonderful morning session. I ended up spending an hour and a half with the boys. Today I was stretched as I taught the boys. The Holy Spirit led me to give my testimony about the failed marriage. This was the first time I have given that testimony to a group of males. It was hard, but I pushed through it and the boys were receptive. A number of them came up to me and spoke about the struggles they have gone through. They also talked about wanting to treat ladies differently.
The rest of the day was pure fun! The youth engaged in Field Day, we got dressed up, had a banquet, and ended with a great dance. At times the day was bitter sweet knowing it was the last day. A few of the youth have distanced themselves in preparation for goodbye. I am proud of the lives that have been transformed!! I may be horse and exhausted, but it is all worth it!
So the storm has started and it is a good one! Today we had an alter call at the request of the youth. How awesome is that! We had youth who accepted Christ as well as youth who rededicated their life. These youth were so pumped that it happened early in the day allowing for them to absorb so much more. I had the opportunity to continue speaking to the gentlemen, and even had a open forum with them. We addressed respecting women in authority based on issues that counselors have had and we addressed issues with the ladies, in conjunction with the intended curriculum. Throughout the rest of the day, the young men showed improvement in not only how they treated all of the females, but also in expressing themselves appropriately with their emotions. Many of them took great strides towards becoming a man.
In regards to the young ladies, I had the opportunity to share part of my testimony with the young ladies in my group where most of them are haunted by the memories of their past. These young ladies are focused on learning how to move forward and are taking risks by stepping out on faith through their actions at camp.
It was beautiful to walk around campus and observe the transformations taking place. This is turning into a perfect storm leading to lives being rebuilt and changed forever!
So I know that I have been away from the blog for a while. I have been retstructuring my life, which I will discuss later this week or next. So today is the first dayy of the 2015 DBC Jamaica Mission Trip where we conducted a camp for 60 youth under the Child Development Agency and workshops for the workers. Today was filled with travel and preparation. I am happy to finally be with all of the team. I was reunited with past family and friends, and introduced to new family and friends. I am excited about what God has in store. Please continue to life up the team and safe travels for those that will be coming tomorrow.
This year’s theme is “Transformed” with the key verse being Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing andn perfect will.” Please pray that lives will be transformed and the youth and workers will leave different, better than they came.