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Check back in July when our team travels to Jamaica.  Updates will be posted daily (more or less) depending on when the team gets back from the day's activities.

June 24, 2010
We leave one week from tomorrow.  Crafts are prepared & ready to be packed.  On Sunday morning, the team will be commissioned & prayed over at Fairfield Christian Church.  Please keep our whole team in prayer, for safety as we travel to & from Jamaica, safety & health while we're on the Island, hearts tender to the Holy Spirit & the Word of God - for the Jamaican nationals & our team.
Check back on July 1 for our update from Montego Bay Cool!

June 27,2010
Today was packing day.  All of our VBS supplies are packed and ready to go.  We set off for Mo Bay on Thursday morning bright and early.  Keep us in your prayers as we travel, that our ministry will be effective and that we will grow in our faith as much as we hope the children of Jamaica will.

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not pictured: Tammy Poling & Kendra Nead

July 1, 2010
We made it! Twelve of us traveled to the island together today (Toby& Betty flew in yesterday). We met at the airport bright and early and spent a good bit of the day in the air.  But now we're at Toby's and settled in. The team shared a delicious meal together tonight but tomorrow we'll mix a little work with a little play.  Pray for us as we get acclimated to the temperature & humidity changes. Also for the one hour time difference - no daylight savings time here. Pictures will come tomorrow. We're looking forward to ministering here.

Puppet training.
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July 2,2010
Today was a productive day for us. We practiced our songs & skits in the courtyard. Everyone had a chance to work with the puppets - it's harder than it looks! We learned our songs and motions to teach the kids & had fun. After we practiced, we took a walk to the market & got a good drenching on our walk back. Glad there were no cameras around to capture the drowned rat look some of us were sporting Surprised. When the rain passed, the girls decided to play in the pool. It was great to watch some bonding time. Tomorrow is a fun day, off to Dunn's River. Thanks for praying for us! God is so Good! 

 

July 3, 2010

Today's blog is by Carissa Nead, 1st time team member.

We had a great day @ Dunn's River Falls! 3/4 of the team climbed all the way to the top of the falls Cool.  We also went to the craft market in Ocho Rios. There was a lot of stuff there that was Jamaican made & it was great looking @ all the cool things they had to sell. We drove on a beautiful winding road through a rainforest area called Fern Gully. It was a fun day & everyone had a good time!

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Conquered the falls!

July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, America!

Today's blog is written by Lexii Cummings, 1st time team member.

CHURCH!

For my first time away from home & on the mission field, I didn't know what to think of church. But I loved it! The fact is that people may not have the best life but they still come to church to praise God. And even though I didn't always understand everything, it was amazing that I could still praise & worship God here. It doesn't matter where you are or what language it is, you can still enter in together & that blows my mind! Laughing

July 5, 2010

Today's blog written by Alyssa Green, 2nd year team member.

Little girls & boys dressed in pink paraded down the aisle smiling & waving timidly to their parents. Today was their graduation from CTE Basic School. They had completed a major milestone & a big day in their minds.  Parents & loved ones had dressed in their very best attire & were beaming with pride as their sons & daughters walked by. Cameras flashed & the children took their seats of honor (these children are only 6 years old). Sister Joy then led them in a song; my favorite part. I loved to hear their adorable little voices singing about God & His love for them. Speeches, accolades & flashbacks on the school year followed. During this time I realized that this was just as exciting an event for the parents as it was for their children. They'd had to make sacifices in order to send their children to school & had been their encouragers. They were the ones to get the children out of bed & dressed every morning & help them with homework. As I looked around I saw the pride & joy on the faces of the moms & even some of the dads who were standing in the doorway. I thought that someday that would be me smiling for my children. The joy of a parent is in the smiles of their child. It was amazing to be able to share in the kids' graduation today.

The Graduates
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July 6, 2010

WOW! After some relatively relaxing days getting to really know each other as a team, we jumped in with both feet and did Days 1 & 2 of our 3 day VBS twice in one day! This morning we went to the CTE Basic School. Some of these same children graduated just yesterday. But they enjoyed our puppet skits & songs. This afternoon we went to the Jamaica Evangelistic Centre in Norwood. We were packed! Between both locations today we had 145 in attendance! It was a little hectic but God is good and we managed to get everything we needed to accomplished. Tonight we have definitely earned our rest.

Showing off their Salvation necklaces.
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July 7, 2010

Today's post written by Brenda Schumacher, 1st time CTE team member.

Another day of VBS! Today went much smoother. The Salvation necklaces were a hit! I believe between the sweat & the rain we've experienced, the seed has been watered! The Jamaican children are beautiful & loving. Prietan, an 11 yr. old girl, stole my heart. She is absolutely adorable. She is also unable to walk without assistance. She told me a doctor told her she was "knock-kneed". Please pray for her & continue to pray for our team. We were all brought to Jamaica for a common goal: to bring others to know Christ. We are doing exactly that & enjoying the journey. God Bless!

Kendra & new friends =).
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July 8, 2010

Today's blog written by Mindy Elick, 1st time team member.

This morning we were @ the Apostolic Church of Jamaica Ministry Centre - better known to the team as Pastor Syd's church - for our 3rd VBS. We had a small group of children & adults attend. I have to say it was a welcome calm after the past 2 days with 70+ kids twice a day. We were able to talk & play with the children & visit with the adults more than usual. It was a joy. Knowing that God is in the details, down to who attends each VBS, it thrills my soul that He purposed us to have such a blessed time of fellowship this morning. As for this afternoon, most of the team had planned to hit the pool & soak up the sun on our afternoon of downtime, but thunderstorms forced everyone inside. Still I see (& hear) God in the details as the roars of laughter come from the room where the girls are gathered playing Phase 10. I thank God for all things at all times for His ways are perfect. ~Proverbs 3:5-6~

We all love this song!
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July 9, 2010

Today was a different kind of day for us. VBS @ Pastor Syd's left us with few children yesterday because of travel issues, so today we went back to the CTE Basic School where we had another full house. Rather than repeat the skits that the kids have already seen, we did a review of the Bible lessons learned and sang lots of songs.  Coloring pages we didn't have time to do on Tuesday we had plenty of time to complete today. The best part of the day was when we sang & the kids sang along, doing the motions, letting us know that the seeds we were planting were taking root. God is good & gave us a plan to give the kids something outside of what we had originally planned for. Toby always says plans on the mission field are cast in jello; good thing we had some wiggle room. "Blessed are the flexible for they shall bend & not break."

Another blessing for us today was the visit we took to Pastor Syd's home. Sister Joy fixed a delicious lunch for us of curried chicken, callalou & rice & peas. Everyone enjoyed the time to visit with Joy & the family as we experienced Jamaican hospitality.

Tomorrow is a day of rest we're looking forward to Cool! Time to "relax yuhself".

Playing at the beach =).
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July 10, 2010

Today's blog written by Kendra Nead, 3rd year team member.

This week began just like this morning - grey & rainy. But it ended with gorgeous sunshine. Today we were touristy beach bums. After a wonderful week full of VBS, the team walked to Doctors Cave Beach Club to chill & let the sun kiss our skin. While sitting at our team devotion tonight, I looked around & saw rosy faces from the 5 hours we swam & laid out on the beach. It was a very good day of fellowship.

This whole week has been wonderful. The number of kids that showed up even though it's been rainy & we only had 2 days to spend @ each location was truly a miracle. We have all been blessed by these kids & love each & every one of them. I'm really excited to see what God has in store for us & the kids in Hanover Parish this next week!

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The Church @ Great Valley in Hanover Parish.

July 11, 2010

Tomorrow begins our last 2 sessions of VBS for this trip. We will be traveling a good hour up the mountain into Hanover Parish to Great Valley & Chigwell. Though it will be a little easier in that we'll have 3 full days so we don't have to try & cram everything in, these will be our longest days because we won't have any down time except for our transportation from one place to the other & Toby will be doing women's ministry following VBS each evening - out @ 9:00 in the morning, back in around 10:00 or 11:00 at night. Keep us in your prayers as we strive to be as energetic with the children on the mountain as we have been down here in Montego Bay. To God be the glory for all He's done & is yet to do.

Chigwell Holiness Church
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July 12, 2010

Today's blog written by Tammy Poling, 1st year team member.

Day 12 of our trip but our 1st day in Great Valley & Chigwell! The children on the mountain were not as great in number, half or less than @ our other locations, but just as precious. It has not ceased to amaze me that no matter what, whether rich or dirt poor, healthy or ill, young or old, American, Haitian or Jamaican, children still love candy & music & crafts, parents & grandparents stll care for the needs of their children, but most of all, God is still a God of grace & mercy. One of our favorite songs says it all - "deeper than my view of grace, higher than this wordly place, longer than this road I've traveled, wider than the gap You filled" - Praise God!Laughing

Carissa & DJ @ Great Valley
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July 13, 2010

Today's blog written by Sarah Winters, 1st year team member.

This morning we went to Great Valley for Day 2 of VBS. While we were on our way there,  we had a close call with a big truck on a very narrow section of winding mountain road. That part was not fun at all. But once we got to the church, the kids were great & participated more during the songs. Even though we were all hot & nasty it was a lot of fun. In the afternoon we went to Chigwell also for Day 2 of VBS. All of the kids had a great time & loved doing the craft & the songs. The kids today have all been wonderful & I can't wait to see what God has for our last VBS day tomorrow!

Jada & the kids @ Chigwell
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July 14, 2010

Today's blog written by Jada Elick, 1st time team member & youngest team member.

This morning we went to Great Valley. It was fun but sad. It was fun blowing bubbles with the kids but it was sad because it's our last day of VBS & I only got to come here 2 days instead of 3. But the kids were nice & ladies from the church fed us lunch. In the afternoon we went to Chigwell. We had fun there, too. When VBS was over we played ball & frisbee & raced with the kids.

July 15, 2010

Today was our last full day on the island. We picked up last minute souvenirs for the people we love, relaxed by the pool a bit and packed our things for the journey home.  Our wake up call comes early tomorrow morning. It will be a bittersweet day. We came in answer to a call for ministry & we answered with all our hearts. We did our best to sow seeds of faith in the hearts of the chidren but we leave a part of ourselves here as well. Some of us will return again & some of us will not, but we will forever hold Jamaica in our hearts. Each of us has been touched in some way by the people here & if we go home the way we came, we have not allowed God's Holy Spirit to do His mighty work. I would ask that you pray not only for the people we've ministered to here, but also for the seeds God has planted within our hearts as well; that we don't go home & forget what we've learned. Thank you for your prayers & support. God is good!

CJ, Pastor Syd, Sister Joy & Joei-Ann Jeannite.
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Our Jamaican Family!

July 16, 2010

After a few flight delays, holding over Atlanta, waiting in a line with 15 other planes to leave Atlanta, we are all back home. We thank you again for your prayers & ask that you continue to pray for the children we ministered to, CTE Basic School, its staff & students, all the work the Lord did through us there. Sooner than you think, we'll be preparing for next year. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him & He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 

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