And here I sit in Montego Bay, Jamaica feeling like a king! I read/hear about snow storms and biting cold and all I can do is feel sorry for those folks. My version of bad weather is when it rained for 2 days this weekend and since we were up in the hills a bit it got chilly (maybe mid-60s) at night and all I had was a sheet. LUCKILY the rain cleared out and the sun came out in time for our day at the beach. I can sit outside drinking Blue Mountain coffee and watching a hummingbird buzz around in the mornings. I drive past the sea every day and sometimes forget to look. . . FORGET TO LOOK!? I mean, COME ON! Who can say things like that!? Me! That's who!
Somehow, somewhere I did something that got me to this place. . . a place where I can just feel God's presence shining down on me. . . oh! wait! did I really do anything? Is it my doing, my actions that got me here? God surely knows it was NOT my doing! God has made it clear in no quiet fashion that He is in control and I'm just along for the ride! Who gets to say these things!? Me!
I get to serve with some of the most amazing people, and although they're only in my world for a short week usually, they forever impact my life. I mean, just this past week I met a kid who can solve a Rubik's cube in under a minute (that's impressive!), but he can also have 100 kids laughing and chasing after him in the same amount of time. . . a blind girl who has absolutely nothing but has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard. . . a man who has been bed-ridden for nine years who wants nothing more than to speak truth into the lives of others and bless them through his faith in God. . . a lady who has opened her small home to the destitute children of Jamaica. . . and the list could go on and on. Who has the right to meet these people!? Certainly not me! But I do.
Not only do I get to meet new people nearly every day, but I get to visit old friends. I have a "wife" at the St. James infirmary (even though she wears a Pittsburgh Steelers hat) who will hold my hand the entire time I'm there and just laugh and smile. I have a friend at the St. Ann infirmary who is confined to a wheelchair; mentally and physically disabled but she sure laughs and smiles every time she sees me. There are children in a community close to me that will climb on me and just want to be near me when I'm around. Why do I get to have these people in my life?
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Sunday, December 30, 2012 - Hopewell Baptist Church, Hopewell, Hanover, Jamaica. I have two teams totaling 9 people and we're wrapping up a week of building a chicken coop. Although the coop is significant in this story, it's not the main point. It benefits this family by giving them food, an income and stability. However there is something more going on here.
Rewind to December 5(ish), 2012 - I have just proposed to Praying Pelican Missions that I would like to spend a good amount of time in Jamaica this year. I proposed that when I came here to Jamaica in December that I would stay through August and spend time reinforcing our partnerships with churches and ministries here as well as assisting in the day-to-day operations of setting up and leading trips. It was just a proposal. . . they liked it and ran with it. I was nervous, unsure, questioning my thoughts that I had put into words. I had just spent the past 6 months fighting against spending so much time in Jamaica! A girl broke up with me over 6 months ago because I was gone too much. . . I wasn't over it. . . I loved her. I wanted to find a way to settle down and find a nice girl and. . . the American dream. What was I thinking!?
Back to the future - Dec. 30 - I'm sitting in church listening to Pastor Oniel Brown preach a Christmas sermon. He's fired up as most Jamaican pastors are when they're preaching. He's talking about Mary's role in the Christmas story. Protestants don't talk much about Mary unlike the Catholics. We don't have anything against her, we just don't focus on her so much.
Mary, however, has an interesting perspective in the Christmas story. Pastor Brown talked about how much Mary had to lose. A young woman, maybe 15 or so, engaged to be married, a virgin. . . pregnant. Unlike today, this was not a common story. She had absolutely everything to lose! Legally she could have been put to death. Joseph could have divorced her and had her killed for being pregnant. Virgins, after all, don't get pregnant. In Luke, the angel tells Mary that her life is about to be turned upside down. Mary's answer is simply, "I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." What!? Really!? That's it? No arguing? No questioning? Just, "yeah, sure, ok"? Wow. . . that's faith!
When Pastor Brown was talking about Mary and how she trusted even though she had EVERYTHING to lose, I felt like he was speaking to me. I was nervous about my decision, but what did I really have to lose? In my mind I was losing the opportunity to find "that special person" and settle down. But God was telling me to trust him and He'd take care of it. God was using Pastor Brown to tell me that it was all going to be OK.
And. . .