Living in Jamaica

A lot of people want to go to Jamaica. I know several people who have gone and loved it. I’m not one of them. When we lived there we were not in a lovely all inclusive vacation spot.

I probably shouldn’t have started this post that way and really thought about changing it. But on second thought I do believe in being honest . A ministry asked us to run a mission house in High Gate, Jamaica for several weeks until the full time couple could get there. We said we would before really thinking it through. I don’t like hot weather and Jamaica is considered warm, well actually hot, all of the time. Not only that it is extremely humid.

The mission house
The mission house

I called the ministry headquarters to find out if just possibly the mission house was air conditioned. I was told it didn’t need to be because it was up in the mountains. Our job was really very easy. Each week a different ministry team would come stay at the mission house and they would build a home for a family who needed one. A pastor would tell the headquarters who needed a home and different teams would come to build it. We had a cook for all the meals and a couple of maids to make sure the rooms were cleaned before a new team would come in on Sunday.

So what was our job? I had to get up very early and put the coffee on and set it up so people would have coffee when they got up. The cook came in and fixed breakfast. After breakfast we had devotions with the team before they left to go out to work. We also had to do the shopping. The cook would give us a list of what was needed and how much. We would go to town and buy what she said to get. That sounds easy but up in the mountains it is more like a third world country. So we went from place to place to buy what was needed.

All meals were eaten in the dining hall
All meals were eaten in the dining hall

Going to church was also quite an adventure. We went to a church in Berrydale. It was one of the churches the ministry worked with. The first thing we had to do was get to the river, then get on the rafts. Yes, we had to take a raft to church. But when we got off the raft we had to walk a half mile to the church. Remember it is summer and the weather is not only hot but with one hundred per cent humidity. We went to a different church each week but there was not one this exciting to get to.

Going to church
Going to church
still going to church
still going to church

Next week I will tell you about the houses that were built and show you the joy of the people receiving the houses. But I will tell you they are not houses as we think of houses.

Still traveling for the Lord,
Jan

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Music the universal languagepart 3

When you have music playing in Palestine you are going to have dancing. I can’t tell you how many birthday parties I went to where the radio was playing and every one was dancing and that included little kids too. It is just a part of the culture.Image_00125

On Saturday morning after we had finished passing out the guitars we had our regular Bible Study. Now we had guitars so we had music and we could sing. On Saturday we started singing and one of our dear saints got up and started dancing. It wasn’t long before several of the ladies joined her. Before long I had joined, Karen had joined and even Terry McIntosh, who founded the Jesus House, joined in the dancing. Continue reading

Music is the universal language part 2

I told you we had a miracle getting the guitars into Jericho. The next thing we did was go to the home groups and tell them we had guitars and Karen was willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn. We wanted at least one person from each home group. We also told them if they finished then we would give the home group a guitar. They were excited.

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guitar lessons

The next thing that had to be done was scheduling lessons. It seemed the people could not agree on a day that all of them were free. We set up several different lessons to accommodate the people. We had afternoon lessons most days of the week and we had evening lessons. There were some men who had guitars who wanted to come for lessons or just to play with someone else who knew the guitar. Those lessons had to be at night.

I don’t play an instrument so I just stayed in the room and prayed for those who were taking the lessons. There was a young girl who was about eleven or twelve. We had a mother and her two teen age daughters and we had a few older women who had raised their family.

One day toward the end of the lessons our friend Fotma and her sister were there for lessons. Karen had taught a simple song that had one chord change. They decided to play together and sing. The two students started playing and singing but Karen was the only one who changed chords. They just kept playing and singing and the smiles on their faces were amazing. This went on for a time and you could feel the Holy Spirit in our midst. I truly found out what it is to make a joyful noise to the Lord. When they finally quit playing we were all laughing with the joy of the Lord. When they left, Karen and I were still laughing and she told me the music was terrible but the joy of the Lord was amazing.

Fotma receiving a ribbon for completing the lessons
Fotma receiving a ribbon for completing the lessons

When the month was coming to an end we handed out ribbons to those who had completed lessons and gave a guitar to the person from that home group who had finished the lessons. They felt a sense of accomplishment and that was good.

Reham, the youngest student receiving her ribbon and guitar.
Reham, the youngest student receiving her ribbon and guitar.

There is more to this story but I will have to tell it next time.

Continue to Praise our Lord,
Jan

Music the universal language

No matter where you go around the world the one thing we all have in common is music. It may not sound like music to you and you may not like it but it is music to them. For those of us working in Jericho we discovered they had no worship music.

Now I’m not really musically inclined at all and cannot play an instrument. But Susan McIntosh could play the guitar so she taught them a few simple worship songs. At most meetings they wanted to sing these few songs. That went just fine but they said when someone wasn’t there that could play the guitar they didn’t feel comfortable singing. Continue reading