Westgate in Jamaica, July 18 to July 24, 2009
It's a HOT one!
July 18, 2009 at 01:54 PM
We arrived safely in Jamaica with all of our luggage and were greeted by the warm Jamaican air as we walked out of the airport. We piled all of our luggage onto our bus, loaded up, and took a very short 6 minute bus ride to the Big Apple where we will be staying for the week. We grabbed our keys, shuffled all of our stuff to our rooms and headed back up to the patio for a quick light lunch before getting together for a quick team pic! After which, Seth promptly jumped into the pool for a refreshing swim. We have the afternoon to rest, get settled in, and just chill in Jamaica to get ready for an exciting week of ministry! Tonight, we will get to see the church, meet Reverend Sharpe and meet the group from Covenant Presbyterian. Please continue to pray that God would use us and bless this week in an incredible way. We can't wait to see what He has in store for us!
A Full Day
July 19, 2009 at 09:39 PM
We got to meet Reverend Sharpe yesterday and got to hear a lot about his vision and his walk of faith! After meeting the team from Covenant Presbyterian and our detailed orientation meeting we were ready to go to bed. We were pleasantly awoken by the early sunrise, got ready to hop on the bus and celebrate with Brittney—a young lady from the church—who was baptized in the ocean before church today. We arrived at the church when they were getting “set-up” for the Sunday School and church. We helped setting up folding chairs, passing out hymnals, and just chatting with the people who were there. As the morning went on, more and more people began to show up. After Sunday school, the church service began with singing of hymns and choruses, testimonies, and Praise and worship led by Joshua, Kari, and Josiah. It was so awesome to be able to worship together as one Body of Christ. What a blessing to be connected by our relationship with Jesus Christ! We were blessed again with an amazing meal made by some ladies at the church before heading out into the community to invite people to the conference on Monday through Wednesday. We had the later afternoon to prepare for Vacation Bible School that starts tomorrow and then went back to the church for the evening service. Jason taught again tonight and found very responsive friends in the congregation! As we are preparing for many more amazing days of ministry, please be praying for us. Be praying that God would bring the right people to the conference, the Bible School, and just around to hang out and see the Light of Christ shine through us. Be praying for our construction guys as well—that they would be safe. Tomorrow is a new day and it will be an amazing one!!!
Marvelous Monday Morning!
July 20, 2009 at 02:11 PM
After a wonderful night of rest, we woke to another gorgeous day in Jamaica. We got up, grabbed a muffin and cereal for breakfast and jumped on our two coasters (smaller buses) to head to the church. Kids were already waiting for us to get started when we gathered outside of the church for some quick instructions and prayer for the day ahead. Fun was definitely in our very near future. Some of us started working on some construction on the second level of the church while the rest of us set up for VBS, greeted kids, and started getting excited for the day of ministry ahead of us. More and more kids started to fill the seats we put out and very soon, it was time to start! The children started to get into the songs. We all worked on learning the actions. We were able to listen to the children sing the Jamaican National Anthem and then we split the children into different age groups for the Bible Lesson, Crafts or Bible Trivia, and Games! We definitely had some laughs and enjoyed teaching the kids about God’s Word. Specifically about Daniel. The time passed slowly and quickly at the same time and soon our time with the kids was up. After a few more songs, we said our goodbyes for the day and talked in our VBS teams about what will be going on tomorrow. So far, the food has been amazing with jerk chicken and pork and today we had curried goat and fried dumplings. We are all sweaty—but drinking LOTS of water and enjoying serving our God! This afternoon, we split off in different groups—some continuing to do construction with cement work and other things while the rest of us continued to invite people to The Calling that starts tonight at 6. Please continue praying that God would really use this week to work in the lives of the youth here in Montego Bay, Jamaica!
And we hit the ground runnin!
July 21, 2009 at 06:20 PM
Day 2 of VBS was today and more kids continued to show up throughout the morning. Some came and went throughout the day, but overall the kids were highly energetic and wanting to learn more songs, more about Daniel, and just be loved by us. We got to share some things that went well in our groups. The 12+ group played “Shuffle Your Bum” and fun was had by all! 9-11 year olds got to play four corners while the 6-8 year olds made the Eye of God. The little ones…were….little ones. A blessing and a bundle of energy! What fun! Now we are continuing on construction and inviting people to come to the conference tonight and tomorrow. God is so faithful and it’s been a blessing to be here far! Tonight we had a night service which included music and a sermon given by Matthew. Keep praying that we rely on God to be our strength and our energy! We’re doing this all for Him!
Takin care of business!
July 22, 2009 at 01:33 PM
We were able to get so much accomplished doing construction and clean up yesterday! What an amazing thing to see Reverend Sharpe beaming with joy as he walked around the church and saw what had been done. There used to be a platform in the school room—now the floor is level. There used to be lots of broken bricks and scraps on the second level—now it is cleaned up. In the basement, there were piles of dirt and rock—they have been moved and the floor has begun to be leveled out. A trailer used for storage has not been gone through for many years—is now cleaned out and organized. A trench has started to be dug where it needs to be. We have one more day of construction ahead of us! Be praying that God would continue to give us energy to finish well!
Time to Dance...
July 22, 2009 at 01:34 PM
Some of us were able to go on a walk prior to the youth conference this evening in the bush. We invited people to come and see what is going on in that big building on the top of the hill. We were blessed to see people walking in as we were finishing setting up for “The Calling”. The youth from West Gate Hills mc’d the service. They sang, the danced, and they prayed. Prayed for God to do something in their community. To be able to partner with them for this week has been great! The musicians from the church jumped right in to help us with Praise and Worship of our King. There was so much energy in that room that it was hard to sit down. Matt was able to give a lesson on “In God We Trust.” Many people came forward to commit to trusting in God with all that they are. Some for the very first time. We cannot wait to see what is in store for today. With VBS, Construction, and the Youth Service we will have a full day! Continue to pray the God would work in this community and use us as He will!
Worship the King!!!!
July 22, 2009 at 01:36 PM
We cannot raise our hands high enough, jump high enough, or sing loud enough for our King!
Coming to a close...
July 22, 2009 at 01:47 PM
Lots of kids with lots of energy greeted us as we unloaded the bus today! They were just wanting to hang out with us and have our attention for just this little while. Today we learned about the fiery furnace in Daniel 3. We need to trust God, because sometimes it may look like we aren’t going to make it and the trials may be too hard, but God has a plan. May God be truly glorified and may the seeds that were planted this week grow as God wills. We may not see the fruit of this labor, but God is still working. Praise be to God!
July 22, 2009 at 02:01 PM
We got to work on some construction projects for a while this afternoon after a HUGE rainstorm passed through. It seems to be raining every day right after lunch here. While the storm was going on, we had a chance to sit down and think about what missions is. We listened to some quotes from famous missionaries and talked about which one meant the most to us. It was a good time of reflection. The construction projects continued and we worked on finishing some projects up while some of the rest of us went down into the community to do some door-to-door evangelism and invite people to come out tonight! Can’t wait to see what God does here. Whether there be few or many, to God be the Glory!
Thursday and Friday
by Jon Nelson
July 24, 2009 at 09:46 AM
Yesterday we headed to Ocho Rios, a town about an hour and a half east of Montego Bay. The town is very touristy, and ports cruise ships throughout the week. We spent a couple hours at Dunn’s River Falls, a park that has a fresh water fall flowing into the Caribbean ocean. We climbed the falls and enjoyed the cool water in the hot Jamaican climate. The rest of our day consisted of shopping and swimming in the town of “Ochi”. We came together as a team for our debriefing meeting and a final meal at the Hibiscus Lodge. Overlooking the water, we spent the evening reflecting on what a great week we’ve had here in Jamaica. God has been so good to us, we’ve been so blessed and he’s used us in great ways. Today we’re flying home and are looking forward to reconnecting with you, our friends and family. God bless you all!
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Our hearts are overflowing as we read and watch how you are sharing God's love with the people of Jamaica! We miss you lots but we're thrilled to see you serving God and building his kingdom! May He continue to watch over you and protect you. God Bless all of you! <3 Tommy <3
Encounter, here we go, one of many huge leaps of faith... not only in CT, but in Jamaica oh man, this is sweet, cant wait for you guys to come back missing you, my prayers are with you
You are all amazing young people. We are all so proud of you all. God is going to use each of you in a way that you never could of imagined.Hold on .........because this is just the beginning!!!!! My prayer for each of you is to be not only saved,but sancified,spirit filled and fully submitted to Him.We love you!!!! (Lissi... I luf you .( You are my favorite daughter) See you soon!!
One more day before I see my wonderful Encounter family! Matt I'm counting the hours! I miss you soooooooo much and love you!!!! We pray travel mercies and a hedge of protection over all of you. Be blessed.
We are so excited and blessed to be reading about what God is doing through all of you! We rejoice with you and continue to pray! (Chelly, dad and I love you & can't wait to hear about all the glorious things God is doing!)
I'm soooo proud of you teenagers how GOD has taken you to the next level and its only the beginning. Pastor Jason your an amazing person and how GOD uses you for this generation. Love ya guys and mosdef your in my prayers as well. I can't wait to hear the stories.
The Cazlan Family
Sounds like God is truly blessing all of you. Glad you are all having such a fantastic time. We love you Trevor!!!!
Doola and Mom
Sheleah da Bink and the Encounter group, How God has enlarged your territory as he answers our prayers for you. He truly blesses you and all you set your hands unto. It is awesome to see his promises come true for you. We look forward to the pictures and journal. See you soon. With love and peace,
SHELEAH!!!!!!!!! You big curried goat eatin' fool. I LOVE YOU!! BAAHHHHH!!
the rossi family!
we are praying without ceasing for all of you! it is wonderful to hear how our LORD JESUS is using you as His hands and feet! may the LORD bless you with all you need to accomplish HIS goal in jaimica! love to all and to our daughter chrissy,hello, we love you & miss you!
Nice restaurant. How's the beef?
Hi Encounter! We are so proud of what you are doing for God! I can't imagine the crowns you'll see in heaven one day because of what you are doing for Him. We miss you so much but know that God is working mightily through each of you. By the looks from the pictures it looks as if you are having a great time in the Lord. We are thinking of you and praying that God will continue to bless this trip. Matt, I love you sooo much and miss you bunches! We all do. I am amazed at what God is doing through your life. Be blessed and take care. We'll see each other soon. Love you Encounter! The Robertis
The Lavender Family
We love you (especially you, Joshua Lavender) and pray for God's blessing and help as you continue your work. My you have great success (and don't forget to have fun, too!) We miss you....Love and Blessings!
We have been praying for you every minute of every day. We love you all and am so excited at what our Lord and Saviour is doing through you.
So Glad to see all of you!!! Russell i miss you already! Can't wait to read your next journal.