The following is part of an article my nephew wrote for the Times about a mission trip he went on this spring.
By BEN SMITH
On May 31, I and a group of about 23 other recently graduated seniors and chaperones, left First Baptist of Newnan at 6 a.m. bound for Montego Bay, Jamaica.
We had to fly first to Fort Lauderdale to catch a connecting flight to Montego Bay. We arrived at the airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at 3:35 p.m. After successfully making it through customs, we left the airport and arrived at our hotel. The hotel where we stayed was made specifically for mission teams. There were two other teams staying there with us.
This resort is located right on the beach on the road Jamaicans like to call the “Hip Strip.” It is called the “Hip Strip” because many Jamaican natives find it oh so exciting to park their car on this road and play their music as loud as their car can handle, and stay there until about 2 in the morning. So we were blessed to have reggae music easing our slumber for the entire week.
On our first full day in Jamaica, June 1, we road about an hour and a half, on the wrong side of the road, to Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. There we joined hands and climbed up the falls, led by an experienced tour guide.
After about seven or eight minutes, most of us left the chain to finish the journey on our own.We then returned to Montego Bay for some free time on the beach. After free time, we had some authentic Jamaican Jerk chicken. Personally, I have never tasted anything as wonderful Jamaican Jerk chicken. A time of worship, led by Eisa Yamada — guitar, Carlee Avery and Rachel Bryan concluded each day throughout the week.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday actually consisted of mission work. We awoke at 6 o’clock, ate breakfast at 7, did our devotions at 7:30, and departed for a school at 8:30.
The first school had about 800 first through sixth graders. At this public school, Eisa, Carlee, and Rachel led the children in a wonderful time of worship. They sang the song “Trading My Sorrows,” and the chorus repeats the words, “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord.” It was really awesome to watch 800 children jump up and down and shout “Yes, Lord,” over and over again. After worship, Sarah Beth Moseley, Mary Beth Edwards, Jared Hendrix and I did a skit about getting “stuck in sin” and how to get “unstuck.”
Every night after dinner, we would have our own time of worship and a debriefing session where we would talk about the events of the day. Each debriefing session brought tears — some of heartbreak over the things that we saw throughout the day, some tears of joy for the blessings that we have here in America, and some tears just because the Spirit moved us. Our lives have been changed by our trip to Jamaica, and our hearts have been burdened by the children of that country.
The picture is from a second missions trip this summer to China.