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
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 Day 2 is coming to an end. The youth arrived and we have 55 in all. Today has been filled with building relationships and establishing boundaries. We are already seeing transmformations starting to happen. My moment for today was standing in the shade with a young lady who did not want to play net ball (a cross between handball and basketball) because she was scared to try a new game. I ask her how did she learn to write and she responded in school. I pointed out that she had to practice to become efficient in writing. I discussed how if she never tries new things, how will she ever learn something new or meet her goals. She shrugged her shoulders as if to say “you got a point.” A little while later one of the yellow group’s leaders decided to play and had the girls teach her the game. I showed the young lady what was happening and it peaked her interest. Later when the teams changed guess who not only got out to play, but made some major plays!
The other intteresting thing that occured is all of the lovely hustles the youth are trying to make to win the budgeting and savings contest. See we are teaching them budgeting by giving them a certain amount of fake money. They are being charged rent, utilities, and food each day. We have a store where they can buy things, a bank where they can make deposits for savings with interest, and we are even teaching tithing. What has been so amazng is how the youth are taking to the challenge and coming up with ways to make extra money. Girls have plans to have the boys buy them things to save, while the boys are coming up with plans to buy things and try to resell them. The best one was the young lady who took the candy we gave her and tried to resell it to us. LOL This is a new venture we are trying to help them apply the lesson of budgeting. This should be interesting.
I am so amazed at how quick the connection with most of the youth are occuring and how God is already moving in some of the youth’s lives. Some of them were primed and ready to recieve what is in store. The enemy is mad evident by the migraine that is trying to creep in and how quickly some of my fellow team members are getting tired. But God! In our weakness He is giving strength.