God Sightings

What an amazing week! The team from Anderson University (see previous post) saw 12 students accept Christ as their savior this week when they were out in the public schools! Though Jamaica is a “churched” and religious culture, many of the students had never heard that God desires a personal relationship with them. Some more good conversations were started, and Billy, a local missionary and native Jamaican, will be following up with some of those students.

One of the students here at Montego Bay’s CCCD campus also made a commitment to Christ this past Thursday. I was getting ready that morning, planning to go into the school to see how I could help that day. They normally have class devotions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and I was thinking in the back of my head, “I bet when I show up to the classroom that I’ll end up leading the devotion, even though it’s not my responsibility.” I thought up a rough outline on the topic of grace that I could talk about if needed. As I had anticipated, I ended up being asked to lead the devotion for that class. I’ll be honest, I did not have a very positive attitude that morning. Some of the cultural differences here, including last minute requests or schedule changes, have been a little rough getting used to. As Americans we just love being informed and prepared! I’ve had to let go of a lot of that and try and trust God more and have more grace on others myself!

Anyway, I opened the discussion by writing the word “grace” on the board. None of them knew what the word or the sign meant. At that point I realized how important this discussion could be. I was shocked how Derval, one of the most troublesome and inattentive students, would not take his eyes off of me. He was focused for one of the first times I’ve seen! God was definitely working in his heart. At the end of the devotion, Derval told me that he “want save.” After the other students left, he and I sat down, talked about what it meant to follow Christ, and he prayed for God to save and forgive him. When he was finished praying, he asked to talk to the chaplain, Sheldon, about baptism. Wow.

This was such a good reminder to me that, if we just make ourselves available, God can do mighty things through us. God had prepared Derval’s heart, and he used my selfish self and unorganized devotion to lead him to Himself. It was also a good reminder of why Ben and I are here! This boy could not have understood the concept of grace without the language that he had learned through the staff at CCCD. What a blessing to work with this ministry. I hope this encourages you today to always be prepared to give an answer for your faith!

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School Ministry

This week has been a little different than our normal weeks. I talked about it a little bit on my last post, but I wanted to share some pictures so that you could get an idea of what this team is actually doing. This team from Anderson University in South Carolina has been going to several schools (Public schools) in the area and taking an hour or so and just sharing the gospel with them. It’s really cool. They have activities, games, and memory verses that they have been going over with the kids there. They also have been spending a lot of time with the kids here at the MoBay campus of CCCD. It’s been very encouraging to me to see the hearts of these students.

Here is a video of our team teaching the children a new way to sing “Jesus Loves Me”

 

Going over the bible verse for the week.

Ready to answer questions!

Listening

 

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Bay Life

Montego Bay

Well, we’re back in Montego Bay. We have been here for a week and we will be here until the end of May. We have a couple of teams that I need to lead. The first school day that we were here Krista found herself in the classroom… Which is great! So many of you know that Krista has a heart for deaf students and it has been so amazing to see the doors open to allow Krista to teach, and it’s amazing to me to see her willingness to jump into the classroom on a days notice. She is something else!

This past Sunday we picked up an intern from the airport. Ashley is from California and has a Bachelors degree in deaf studies and is heading of to a graduate program next year at a deaf college. She is not deaf but has a real heart for the deaf. I’m excited to see how God moves in her life over the next 7 weeks. She has been helping Krista teach and I know that she is looking forward to working with the next couple of teams we have. Please pray for her as she seeks God’s will in her life.

Learning to play Cricket

I am excited to be leading two teams that are doing some different things than I’m used to. The first team we have is coming through a group called Mission to the World (MTW). It is a college group that is going to spend the morning at several schools in the area doing some bible lessons and then spend the early afternoon at the Peace and Justice Center. BTW, I don’t know what the Peace and Justice Center is but I’ll find out next week. This team is also hoping to spend some time doing organized activities with the kids her at the school as well. The second team I have the week after is a group of speech pathologists who are going to be working at an orphanage as well as the school here. I am excited to be going out in the community here as well working here at the school. I have to be honest. It’s really exciting to me just to be a part of this.  It hasn’t gotten old and hope it doesn’t anytime soon.

I would like to ask everyone who reads this to pray for us as we enter the busy season here. I feel prepared but I know that there are some things that are going to come up which I’m not prepared for. I know I’ll make it through but I pray that I would not only just make it through be thrive this summer. Also, Would you please pray with us for the new missionaries that are going to be joining us at the village. They should be arriving late July. They are finishing up things in the states and will be heading to do training at MTI this month. I pray that God would prepare them for the things that lie ahead. They have a huge heart for the deaf and I’m excited to see what God has planned for them and for us as we work together.

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Day 98

Yes, It’s hard to believe but we have been here in Jamaica for almost 100 days! Throughout our time here we have had to learned a lot. We’ve gotten lost, driven through crazy rain storms, ran out of water twice, moved, traveled to Montego Bay at least 10 times, been bitten by who knows how many ticks (More me than Krista), learned a little Jamaican patwa, met so many wonderful people that I can’t even remember all their names, and have just been blessed by the whole experience. I could probably write for hours all the things that we have experienced. Through all of these things I’m finding it hard to process exactly what is going on, and how I feel. As time flies by and as my responsibilities increase it’s becoming easier and easier to just “do” my job and to not fully understand what I doing here. The thing that has been really encouraging to me to see and hear what CCCD is doing here through short term visitors perspectives. I have had teams who had known very little about us and very little about the deaf and have left completely touched by the people here and the vision the we have. Seeing that means a lot to me and that throughout the hustle and bustle of everyday life I have a good perspective on our ministry. All that being said, our time here as been so much more than just a job. After 3 months it’s still crazy to me that we are actually here. My fear is that down the road, the longer we’re here, the more my view of everything might change. I hope that it doesn’t happen, but I could see that it could.

God has blessed us so much throughout the past year and a half. Looking back, he taught us so much through those tough times support raising. He taught us so much throughout our training and as we continue our ministry here I can see him nudging us everyday. As I said at the beginning, I really am still trying to figure out what is going on. haha. We are still very much running on adrenaline and with May-Aug taken up with short term teams I get the feeling that I’m really going to have to search out God and myself to process life here.

As always, thank you so much for your prays and support. We feel the love even if we’re thousands of miles away. Please pray for us as our busy season comes. It will be tough on us both physically and mentally. Krista and I already know that we are going to need to be very intentional about our time together, and with God.

Ben

Sunset here at JDV

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Blessed

As I have been sitting here enjoying this quiet Saturday morning, my heart has been reflecting on our time here so far. It is hard to express in writing what exactly our experience has been. In the past (almost) 3 months, we have had plenty of sunshine, flowers, and laughter, but there have also been many times of frustration, confusion, and tiredness. So I am thinking…where is my heart this weekend as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection? Where is your heart?

Yesterday we went with the team to an infirmary to minister to the people. You may have seen some pictures that we put up in a previous post from the infirmary…it is not an easy place to be. And I don’t think it’s a place you can ever really get used to. There was one lady in particular who astounded me yesterday. Her name was Veda. She was laying on her bed, practically skin and bones, telling us about how much God has been teaching her. She said that the Lord told her that it is not time to come home yet, so she must have a purpose. Though she was struggling to talk through her spasms, she began to sing, “I am blessed, I am blessed…”. “Wow,” I thought, ” would I be singing that if I were in that position? Laying in the same bed for years…with no family?” Do I sing that joyfully now?

Earlier this week, I copied down a quote from a book I was reading into my journal. It said that “most of us will never abandon ourselves to pursue an abiding relationship (with the Lord) unless the Lord, in his kindness, allows struggles in our lives that lead to desperation (think of Joseph’s story). We must press our roots deep to reach the river – a river that is there despite rain or drought.” Are you desperate for Jesus this weekend (and all the time)? Are you abiding in Him (John 15:1-8)? Are your struggles (OR your contentment) pushing you closer into God or are you withdrawing? I have been reflecting on these questions this morning.

Here are some verses that have ministered to my heart this morning. I hope they comfort you as well, whatever you are going through. Have a blessed Easter! He is risen! Love, Krista

Psalm 71:20-21

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

Psalm 94:19

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

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Sports Day at Knockpatrick

This past Thursday was “Sports Day” at Knockpatrick! The students had been gearing up for it for a few weeks, and it ended up being quite a success! There were 3 teams of students, red, purple, and orange, and they all got very competitive. Lots of parents showed up for the event and were able to bring their children home for spring break after the day was done. Here are some pictures of the track events that took place that day! Purple ended up in first place, to the dismay of my orange team. 🙂 What a great day! Click on a picture to see them in a slideshow.

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Back Home at JDV

We’re back at the Jamaican Deaf Village. It’s good to be home. We loved being able to help out in Montego Bay but we love having all our own stuff in our own place. Krista is back at the school this week and I am preparing for another work team that will be coming this Saturday. Chad, the other missionary here, and his family are preparing to leave. I am trying to get as much information from him as I can. Even though we have been here for almost 3 months there is still a lot that I don’t know. After this team we will have a break from teams for month of April. That will be a great time to transition the Huber’s out and us in. Please pray for us and everyone here. The next few weeks are going to be emotional and full of change.

One of children here at JDV reminded me yesterday of the promise God made to Moses.

We haven’t received any questions for our question and answer blog! Please feel free to send us your questions. We would love to answer them for you. On the plus side, if there aren’t any questions that might mean we’re keeping you informed.

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Question and Answer Vlog!

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been so long since our last post! This past week has just flown by. Last week we had our Missions Pastor and our Youth/UT Pastor here, and this week the US Director for CCCD was here…and we’ve been back and forth from JDV to MoBay each week! This is our last week in Montego Bay (for now), and we are with Hope College from our home town in Holland, MI! It has been fun spending time with them and even catching up with some folks from our former church there!

Anyway, we have a project for all of you! Ben and I would like to do a “Question and Answer Vlog.” We would like to collect your questions…any questions about CCCD, our ministry, Jamaica, us in general…and answer them in a future vlog (video blog)! A lot has gone on in the past couple months, and I am sure that some of you may have questions! Please send us your questions via email, facebook, twitter, or as a response to this post! It is going to be fun.

We love you all and hope that you are enjoying this early spring weather! God bless!

 

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Montego Bay

Hello from Montego Bay! Montego Bay is one of Jamaica’s biggest cities on the island and sits along the north coast. This is where the main airport is and where lots of people come to vacation and see the beautiful beaches! One of CCCD’s campuses is in Montego Bay, and we are here to help out the Daniels (the missionary family here) for a while. They are preparing to have a baby next month, and the mom is already in the states. With her gone and some kiddos left back with dad, he (Jeffery) has a lot on his plate! We were originally planning on staying until Monday, but now it looks like we will be staying for an additional 2 weeks to help him out with the teams. We miss JDV, but we are glad to lend a hand since we don’t have teams currently at JDV. There was another teacher who graciously took over the class I was teaching at Knockpatrick for this time we will be gone.

There was a big team here this week of 43 people! Ben has been helping Jeffery to facilitate the team’s work, to run errands, and to hold down the fort. They have also been working together to prepare for the upcoming teams that will be here in the following weeks. I have been helping to watch Jeffery’s kids while he is busy and have enjoyed some time to relax and to help the team out when needed. Now that I know we will be here for two more weeks, I will be looking into helping out at the school in any way possible.

Please pray for the Daniels! They will be adding the 8th member to their family! Pray for Jeffery and Jodi as they are apart for a time, for the children that are separated, and for the health of the baby. We are looking forward to welcoming Brad Ervin, our missions pastor at Faith Promise, and Michael Wallace, the youth pastor, to the island on Monday! We are excited to see some familiar faces and to show them what we do here!

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Outreach

We had a team yesterday who wanted to take the day and visit the CCCD’s Knockpatrick school, the Manchester infirmary, and the Windsor Lodge orphanage. It turned out to be an outstanding day of outreach. For those who don’t know what an infirmary is, it is basically a last resort for many people without family or money. It is a nursing home for the poor. The people there often time do not receive very many visitors and we love taking people there just to talk and hang out with the people there. I think that it is something that everyone should get a chance to do! I loved seeing all the smiles on the peoples faces and I loved seeing them sing and dance. This team from Duquesne University play some old hymns and the people loved it. They also learned a patriotic Jamaican song that I heard even the kitchen staff singing along to. Check out the video!

When we were finished with the infirmary we had a chance to visit an orphanage. It was so cool to see kids running everywhere. People were playing, talking, braiding hair, and just having fun. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be 9 or 10 years old and be an orphan. I really can’t understand how important having someone come and play with me could be. Love it!

Overall, yesterday made me realized how much I love being apart of this ministry. They say pictures are worth a thousand words so hopefully these help you understand what I’m talking about. If you click on a picture you can see all of the pictures bigger!

 

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