What do you think of when you think of Jamaica? I have usually thought of the pristine beaches, the crystal blue Caribbean Sea, the glorious sun – a tropical paradise. However, I have recently been aware of the fact that apart from what you see in the travel brochures is the reality of life on this island. It is an impoverished, third-world country where most of its residents live in desperate, deplorable conditions. Once you move away from the tourist areas, you find people in meager circumstances, often with untreated health problems, without opportunity for a quality education, and holding little hope of a promising future.
Yet in the midst of these difficulties are bright spots of hope and love. One of those bright spots is a ministry called Won By One To Jamaica. This summer, I will have the opportunity to serve for a week on a mission trip with this organization. My church will be taking a team of students and adults to a small village in a rural, mountainous area of the island. We will be staying and working in the center of Harmons, where the people live in very needy situations, but have huge hearts that welcome our help.
While we are in Jamaica for a week, we will be constructing one or two houses for families that the ministry has identified. It will be grueling work, but seeing the end result of a home for someone in need will be worth it all, as it will clearly enrich the lives of those who live there. We will also be simply spending time with the people of this community both throughout the days and in the evenings. I look forward to developing some personal relationships with those we will meet. We will also have the opportunity to visit the Poor House, where many disabled and terribly poor people live. Simply spending time with them will be a bright spot for these residents.