After many months of preparation and anticipating my mission trip to Jamaica, I am now back home. It's all over. Or is it?
Only God knows the far-reaching effects this trip had.
I wasn't ready to return to the states. I cried my last two days in disbelief that my visit was coming to an end. The memories, however, will linger forever as I bless the Lord for sending me on this anointed adventure for His glory.
Already, I am homesick for Jamaica. I fell in love with many people there who have become significant others in my life.
Many Haitians reside in Jamaica while they attend Bible school. After returning home, I received an e-mail from Charles, one of my Haitian friends who is attending the Jamaica Bible School.
He has a beautiful way with words as he described to me how nothing is too much of a sacrifice for him as he serves the Lord who sacrificed so much for him. He is studying to become a pastor.
Marjorie, also a Haitian, has become a treasure to me. I met her on a previous trip and really didn't expect to see her again. When she heard I was back, she inquired to see me.
While visiting with Marjorie, I met another Jamaician lady with whom I instantly connected, Delrose. It was as if we had always known each other. The more we talked and shared together, the more excited we became for we truly felt a spiritual bond. I know in my heart that this meeting was of no coincidence.
Marjorie and Delrose quickly went to work preparing a meal just for me -- spaghetti. Learning to enjoy Jamaican food was not a hard task for me, but how thoughtful of them to prepare an Italian-American dish for me!
Marjorie and Delrose direct a ministry in Jamaica called Restoration Ministry. I was amazed at the progress Marjorie had made since last year with the building she had erected to house Haitian boys who are literally dumped off at Montego Bay with nowhere to go. She is educating them and has also opened a dynamic chuch in the community of Linten Park, touching and making a difference in many lives.
When our day together came to an end, Marjorie squeezed me tight and we squealed with love for each other. Delrose came running over, exclaiming, "Let me in on the love!"
We currently e-mail each other. My heart was enlarged on this trip as it now contains many Haitian friends.
Isn't it grand to love and to be loved?! I dream of visiting Haiti one day, Lord willing.
While in Jamaica, I stayed in the home of Pastor Nathan and his lovely wife Gail, along with their two small sons. They offered me a position to serve with them as an executive board member of People Need the Lord Ministries, Inc. After prayer, I gladly accepted to serve my wonderful Lord in this ministry. I am excited to be chosen to serve the Lord, not only at home, but also in Jamaica.
The Lord really "stretched" me as I ministered on this beautiful Caribbean island. Jamaica is much more than the gorgeous resort that is pictured on TV commercials and in travel agencies. Once you move out of the resort area, which isn't far, you see the "real" Jamaica, which consists of much poverty and gang-controlled areas.
Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is a middle ground in drug trafficking to the states. I read recently that Kingston is one of the most dangerous places in the world.
While there, the Lord allowed me to minister from His Word as I preached, shared with youth groups, sang, and held a leadership seminar at a Baptist church. I also shared my personal testimony and counseled with high school girls after leading morning devotions with 800 high school students.
So, when I say that the Lord "streched" me, I mean that He really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d me! I was amazed at the ease with which it all came. I felt like "I was born for this." I found my comfort zone, my niche, my place in this world!
I fully acquired "God-confidence." It wasn't confidence in myself at all, but total and complete confidence in my amazing Lord.
Each time I had the privilege to speak, the Lord put the exact words in my mouth. I had no anxiety, no nervousness whatsoever, but total peace.
This is what I mean by God-confidence. I had prepared many hours for this trip, studying and reading my Bible. Once there, all I had to do was yield to the One who created me and placed me where He intended me to be at that time in my life.
Many memories are written on the walls of my heart. I have been adopted by Jamaicians and Haitians alike. I love them all to death and anticipate my next trip.
When I look at who I am and who He is, I can't help but wonder why He would ever choose me for such an awesome ministry. But He says to me in that still, small voice, "Why not you?"
At 57, life is just beginning for me. That's how life is when you yield to the Lord. Everyday is a "trip," be it at home or abroad.
Many obstacles and distractions come up each time I prepare for a mission trip, including personal injury. But these do not have to stop or hinder my dreams unless I allow them.
Don't allow them to hinder your God-given dreams. Buckle up and keep your eyes on the "Prize" that awaits you at the end of your life's journey.
I plan to enjoy the ride! You're all invited to join me.