Birthday Blessings

Hey everyone! It’s been MUCH too long since our last post! I want to thank everyone for the sweet birthday wishes you gave me a couple days ago. This one especially touched my heart. For the past year and nine months (this week!), Ben and I have been praying that God would open up doors for us to have deep and meaningful relationships with the deaf here. I am so thankful that God has given me a friend in Simone and that she has opened her heart to me. We spend a lot of time together since we carpool to work at CCCD every day, and this has been a great way to get to know each other. I continue to pray that God would use me to encourage her in her walk with Christ! Ben and I personally believe the same message that we tell every team: It’s not about the work. It’s about relationships. YES, the projects we have going on here at JDV are important! But without love? All our work is done in vain.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor. 13:1-3

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God of All Comfort

Whew! It’s been so good to sit back and relax this week, taking some time to process these past 9 weeks of teams that have just flown by. Ben is at the Montego Bay airport again as I type this, getting ready to pick up yet another team. God has done some amazing things here this summer. Much of which is visible (just see our previous posts), but even more that is invisible. And both are equally important! Our ministry at JDV and CCCD is so much more than buildings and projects. Colossians 1:16 reminds us that all things visible and invisible “have been created through him and for him.” It is all through his power and for his glory!

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This week has provided me with some time to catch up with family and friends as well. Lots has happened just this week…family members moving, a loved one in the hospital, friends having babies…and to be honest, I have felt the distance this week. We are so thankful to have video chat capabilities (most of the time!), but nothing compares with being able to hug and hold flesh and blood! But God has also used this week to revive me and to remind me that I am His…never out of sight or out of mind…nor out of the reach of his loving touch. This week I have not been able to get these lyrics out of my head:

You revive me, you revive me Lord, and all my deserts are rivers of joy…You are the treasure I could not afford, so I’ll spend myself till I’m empty and poor, all for you, you revive me Lord.

Joyce at the infirmary

God’s specialty is reviving his people. Creating rivers of water from the dry, hollow places. All we need to do is cry out to him (Judges 15:18-19). Paul calls God the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). He knows where you and I are, and he is ready and waiting with an open lap and open arms! And the amazing thing is that the comfort we receive from Him can be extended, multiplied to others who are in need! If we never experienced heartache or troubles and never needed to be comforted, how could we show God’s compassion and comfort to others? Sharing in the sufferings of Christ allows us to become him to our neighbors. And we are surrounded by neighbors in need…as are you.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. – 2 Cor. 1: 3-5

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We know this is right where God wants us. Just that fact alone has the ability to comfort the bittersweet feelings that come with being distanced from loved ones. We have received SO much affirmation and encouragement from team members this summer…so many people saying “you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing” and commenting that they hope we stay for a long time. How long will that be? Honestly, we don’t know any more now than we did last year. All we need to know now is that we are supposed to be here now, so we can leave tomorrow in God’s hands. We give thanks in all things. Yes, even for the distance. Why?

Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. – 1 Peter 4:13

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Midnight Cry

Here is a video from a church service 2 weeks ago where the Church’s “hands of praise” team performed a song. The team also went to a local hearing church in Mandeville to share the song at a revival service. Krista helped to lead the song to keep them at the right tempo. This is a definite “must watch” whether you know sign language or not! “Midnight Cry” is the title of the song, which the deaf signers interpret as “take-up time,” referring to the time when Jesus will return and gather his church to himself!

 

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What in the world do you do with 61 people

Last week we had 61 people working all over JDV. Here are a bunch of pictures from the worksites.

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Family Conference

Hey Everyone! We have a team come through JDV last week to do some different things with the residents here as well as some of the deaf in the community. The team was a family team from Conyers, Georgia and one of the things they wanted to do this year was spend time with the families here. They organized two nights of  “family conferences.” We wanted to take some time and just share God’s thoughts on families and marriage and encourage the deaf here. It was a very cool week as a whole. I really enjoyed seeing both the conferences as well as the time the families spent together leading a VBS with the children here. So often we see the women leading a VBS and it was cool to see the men involved and having a great time doing it! We also had some time to run to the Knockpatrick school and to sing some songs at the infirmary. Here are some pictures from last week for your viewing pleasure.

Worshiping Together

Worshiping Together

Listening to Martha talk about budgeting

Listening to Martha talk about budgeting

Using Cresmore as an example

Using Cresmore as an example

Lance Flying a kite

Lance Flying a kite

Caleb

Caleb

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The Team

The Team

 

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The Conference and Retreat Center coming together!

Hey Everyone! It has been a busy couples weeks since coming back home. On top of leading the team last week I spent a lot of time looking over the money that was received from a fundraising dinner we had earlier in the month, and decide what would be the best use of the money. The fundraiser was a huge success and it is going to jump start our progress on the CRC building this summer. Today 3 men, along with Marvin and Ionda, have started rough cast and rendering the remaining section of the lower level in the CRC. Rough cast and rendering is a two step process that will take the laid block walls and make them smooth so that they can be painted. It is a skill that takes years to learn how to do well and we have some of the best guys around working on this project. We are also using some of the money to have the factory make 4 bathroom vanities for the apartments on the side of the first floor. This building will look very different one month from now.

Right now we are $2000 shy of rough cast and rendering the entire downstairs. Once finished we can install doors, windows, tile, electrical and plumbing fixtures. This is a big next step after all the work that was put in to raise the money for the roof. I am hoping to raise some more money, and along with the summer work teams, finish the downstairs of this building. It will take a bit of work but we are hopeful. If you are interested in supporting this project further please message me! Check out some of the pics of the progress already made on the first day!

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Stateside!

Hey everyone! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a month since our last blog post! We are now halfway through our furlough and have been blessed in so many ways the past few weeks. We spent the first couple weeks in Knoxville, where we enjoyed attending our home church,  meeting with our awesome supporters, seeing friends and Krista’s extended family, catching up with kids in the student ministry, and enjoying some refreshing time in the Smokies. It sure was a lot to pack in a couple weeks, but we left feeling so encouraged and uplifted.

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We are currently up in our hometown in West Michigan for the last part of our furlough. (Believe it or not, it snowed the day we got here!) It has been great so far catching up with our families, meeting new nieces and nephews, and reconnecting with friends. We are also looking forward to sharing our ministry with a local church and attending a conference for ministry leaders. Please pray that this would be a time where we can refresh our vision and passion for our ministry! We will have a busy summer again this year with 13 teams coming through JDV in the course of 15 weeks. God is doing big things, and we are so excited and blessed to be a part of it.

We are also anticipating a fundraising banquet for JDV that will take place on May 9 here in Zeeland, Michigan. We are praying that God will open people’s hearts to what he is doing among the deaf in Jamaica. This fundraiser will help us to make more progress on the Conference and Retreat Center; we are praying that we will be able to finish the bottom floor with the money that we raise!! Please pray for this with us. If you feel led to give but cannot attend the banquet, you can do so online by designating that your donation go toward the CRC. (We will also be accepting donations toward other projects going on at JDV, if you feel led toward another program such at the Solar Initiative or Hydroponics Program. See our “Projects” tab for details.) If you live in West Michigan and would like to attend this banquet, please let us know! It will be on May 9 at 6:00 p.m.

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

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Perspective

Hey all! A team that we have here right now sent out an email yesterday talking about their trip here and I thought that it provided some really go perspective on what teams do here and really why we are here as well. They talk and explain about why teams do the work the are doing. Very cool

Here it is:

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10.42-45; NLT)

All week, I’ve been reminded of the Upside-Down Kingdom of God.  Those who are first will be last.  Those who seek to be leaders, must serve and submit to others. There is no job too far “beneath” a servant of God, and there is no person too “small” to be used mightily by Him.

Our team has dug through hard clay and busted up rocks to dig holes for fence posts. We’ve shredded our arms, legs, and clothes on briars as long as our fingers clearing brush.  We’ve been down on our hands and knees pulling weeds from a bean field preparing it for planting.  We’ve shoveled cow manure and carried 5 gallon buckets of it to spread on that bean field as other members walked through it to plant those beans.  We’ve washed dishes for ourselves and other members of the community here.  We’ve held a string for a finish line in the hot sun for hours as Deaf students enjoyed a “Sports Day” of foot races (something like “Field Day”).  We’ve allowed small, beautiful children climb all over us like jungle gyms as we visited a woman named Amanda in the home she provides for over 2 dozen children from birth to 11 who need families, but may never be adopted.  We’ve completed tasks that are likely to provide at least 1 or 2 more full-time jobs, potentially enabling more men to provide a living for themselves and their families.

After another full day of hard work on Wednesday, the fence was completed and the new field will soon be plowed for planting.  The bean field was completely prepared and planted.  The greenhouse our team helped fund and began to construct was nearly completed, but there were complications with getting the plastic sheeting to cover it, so the next work team will have the joy of completing that task.  Once this greenhouse is complete, the task of farming it, and the income from the produce grown in it, will likely add at least 1 full-time job for the Deaf.  The home-goods store for which we brought 3 suitcases of self-care products (shampoo, soap, toilet paper, etc.) has been organized, and the Deaf have already begun to shop there, bringing in the equivalent of $120 already.  $50 of that will remain in a cash bag for the store, but the remaining $70 will go immediately into a small-business-loan fund that will enable residents of JDV to start their own businesses like our new friend Cressmore.  He has been purchasing chicks at $1 apiece, raising them and selling them at the going wholesale per-pound rate.  He has 50 of these roasters currently, and hopes to soon add egg-layers to be able to sell (and eat) the eggs.

Wednesday night, our work team was incredibly blessed to enjoy a presentation by the “Hands of Praise” team, a group of our talented new friends (both adults and children) who worship God and present the Gospel through signing songs and drama.  We were invited to return the favor by singing and signing “How He Loves”, by David Crowder.  This is a song that our team had been practicing for a week or two and the Deaf (and I) were very impressed at how well they did.  After the presentations, our new Deaf friends, Marvin and Ionda, stayed with us until bed-time, joking, laughing, and playing Phase 10.  There seemed to be almost no language barrier at all!

This morning, the team (including Preston, who’d begun feeling much better on Wednesday, but was encouraged to still take it easy) traveled again to the Deaf school to watch the students’ Sports Day events.  We found t-shirts in the 3 different colors of the 3 different houses of the school, Purple, Red, and Orange, so we split the team up evenly, engaged in a little friendly trash-talking, and cheered (visibly) loudly for our adopted teams!  It was fun to see the kids run their relay races and succeed in something they obviously enjoyed very much and several of them remembered us from visiting the school on Tuesday, and attending their baptisms on Sunday.  This clearly made them very happy to see us return and cheer for them!

After lunch, we relaxed for a short while, but then drove to visit the New Hope Children’s Home nearby.  The children that Amanda (“Momma” to the little boys and girls there) cares for were beautiful little boys and girls.  Little Sam never stopped talking from the time we arrived until we left, and even insisted that someone pray for our team.  When we suggested that he pray for us, this little 7 year old Jamaican boy, living in a small home with 20+ other children prayed beautifully and earnestly for our protection and safety as we traveled and thanked God for our coming.  We all were happy to hold these little boys and girls, some perfectly healthy, rambunctious, and talkative (like Sam).  Some had significant developmental, neurological, or physical disorders, but all were clearly loved by Amanda, and clearly all loved her and the other volunteers in return.  They wanted to be held, to ask me why my belly was so big, (“No, I don’t have a baby in there, I just probably eat too much.” “Too many cheeseburgers and pizzas?” “Yes. That’s right.”<– actual conversation with Sam and Noel) and to hang and climb all over the guys in our group.  Please pray for Amanda and the children of New Hope Children’s Home.  There are not many citizens of Jamaica who have “extra” with which to provide for additional children, and yet there are many children, far more than the 25 or so that Amanda cares for, who don’t have a family that can even provide for them.  She has seen about 100 children adopted from her home in the past 25 years, but had to turn away a 1 week old baby last week for lack of space in her tiny house (some of us might feel cramped with just 2 children in that house!).

As we prepare for a day of recreation tomorrow, before coming home, I pray that God would truly re-create within each of us a sense of our true home.  I pray that we would understand that we belong to a kingdom, and a family that extends beyond our hometowns (Toccoa or otherwise), and beyond our state or national borders, beyond our race or language differences.  That we have family wherever there are children of God, and we can call home wherever God calls us to live.  We have spent a good amount of time with the missionaries who work here at JDV, and I pray that the members of our work team will carry back with them a realization that they are each called to be missionaries.  I pray that each of them stops wondering IF God is calling them to be missionaries, but WHERE He is calling them to call home, and to WHOM they will carries His Good News of Hope and Healing.  Some of them will never have to leave the town in which their families live.  Some will need passports when they travel to see their families.  But I pray that ALL of them will live their lives on the mission to which they have been called, and will find ways to serve those around them in whatever way they are able, no matter how big, or how seemingly small.

Thank you for your partnership this week.  Thank you for the lives YOU have touched with your prayers and gifts. I pray that somehow I am able to introduce you to the men, women, and children whose lives will never be the same because you helped me and my friends come to Jamaica Deaf Village this week.

In the Service of the Servant-King,
Chris Bailey

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Getting Excited – For more than one reason

I have been working on some things this morning and doing some thinking this morning. I’ve come to a realization, and it is that I am started to get excited. First off, we will be in the states in three weeks and it will be so good to see people we haven’t seen in over a year. We have lots of meetings lined up and lots of catching up to do. Can’t wait!

More importantly than our first furlough home, I’m getting excited thinking about the future. Both our future here and the future of JDV. If Krista and I were to only be here 2 years then we would be starting to think about coming home after this year. Honestly, that though really isn’t on our radar.  We have been at peace being here and we know that this is where we are supposed to be. Now the really exciting stuff. As many of you know, we are putting a roof on the Conference and Retreat Center (CRC) and it’s looking good. The roof is the single largest one time purchase that needs to be made for that building so we are happy to be over that hump. This brings a whole other challenge. What is going to take to finish this building so we can start using it. Today I have been working on some new materials to share to vision of JDV, what we do, and to look ahead as we work towards financial independence. Finishing the CRC is at the top of the list to get bring us to financial independence. The farm is progressing nicely and the factory is getting close to being able to support itself. The CRC will bring in an entirely different revenue steam to JDV and create a number of jobs. We love teams, and without them JDV would not be here, but if we only use work teams to build the CRC building it’s likely to take an additional 2-3 years or more! We are going to continue to use teams to work on the building but also, we are going to pray and we are going raise the money to finish it. We can do it. A little bit here and there will get that building done. It’s no longer one big thing, the roof, but a bunch of little sections. It’s a big task but I believe we can be using that building next year. I’m excited to think about opening this building and even if it’s another large task, I’m excited to begin working on raising the money, I know what it could mean for the people here. We will just see where the Lord leads and trust him.

As of about 10:00AM March 13

As of about 10:00AM March 13

Cool things are happening here! Are you a part of it? Please join us in prayer for word to reach the right people. God will provide.

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Cresmore’s Chicks

Something very exciting happened today. One of our residents received his first set of baby chickens. Cresmore Fletcher has been working throughout the year to collect materials and to build a small chicken coop in order to buy some chickens to help support his family. Back in the fall we had some small business classes here at JDV and the other missionary working with us, Andy, has been working one-on-one with Cresmore since then to develop a business plan to see if it is reasonable to have chickens here. Through that process we determined that it would be a profitable business. We had some money donated to loan out, interest free, to the residents here in order to encourage them to think about starting their own businesses. Cresmore was the first to take advantage of that program and with the money we were able to give him was able to finish his chicken coop, buy feed, and today he was able to bring home his first 25 chickens. We are very excited to see where this will go and what it can mean for his family. We also hope that if the other deaf see his success it will encourage them to do something as well. What a cool day.

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