Jamaica – Day 5

Day five was the conclusion of teaching at the Bible college. What a great week it was! I realized at the end of this day that I had the privilege of teaching young preachers whom God will use to reach many people in Jamaica. Chances are, I will never see them on this side of heaven again. But, how awesome it is to spend time pouring into someone so far away from my home. The thought is almost over whelming. My prayer for them is that God use them to do great things for the Gospel in Jamaica.

This morning we spent some time at the Jamaica Relief Mission. This is an orphanage up on the mountain about twenty minutes drive from where we’re staying. (Here twenty minutes is just a few miles away.) There we met the sweetest family from the states who are here for a two-year commitment to oversee the orphanage. Their names are Phil and Teresa Otto. They along with their children, and several other “nannies” from the states, take in children who have no parents.

The campus of Jamaica Relief Mission is a beautiful place that used to be a hotel and restaurant. Cletis told us that Johnny Cash even stayed here back in the day.

Here’s one of the main buildings:

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Here’s the view they have looking down onto Montego Bay:

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The Otto family are still trying to get adjusted to life here in Jamaica. As I said in and earlier post, living here is much different from visiting. Just getting used to living in a place where all your doors and windows have steel bars locked over them and living in a gated compound is difficult. (Tammy told us earlier tonight in a conversation that you never feel you can let your guard down.)

Laura and I are committed to pray for the Otto family and I want to ask you to pray for them too.

Tomorrow morning we head to downtown Montego Bay. I’ve been invited to speak to the students in a school there. This will be our first trip downtown, except a drive through one night earlier this week. After that, we’re going to a town called Negril for some R and R.

Jamaica – Day 4

Today was another great day in Jamaica!

Of course we began with some breakfast which, for me, consisted of a Jamaican apple and some sugar cane and some roasted bread fruit that Tammy made; and of course coffee:

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We began the day with plans to go to an orphanage but we found out that that trip needed to be postponed until tomorrow. So, we decided to head up to McField early, where the Bible College is, and have lunch at “Border Jerk.” This is a place where they make jerk chicken and pork. It was awesome! Here’s a couple of photos of the place and what we ate:

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This is how the food was cooked:

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Here’s the best part, the pork I had for lunch:

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We also had some unexpected fun today. After we left for the college, Cletis received a call from a couple of Jamaican friends who were at the deaf school who came to see them. So, we turned the van around and went back. We then met two guys named Andre and Michael. Cletis and Tammy invited them to come to the college with us, so we all piled into the van and headed toward McField for some jerk chicken and pork then to go to the college.

On the way to the college, one of the guys began to sing, and the next thing you know, Michael, Tammy, Andre and I are singing as a quartet. Then it was suggested that we sing at the school so after a little practice we went and sang a couple of songs for the students. That was so much fun!

Here’s a pic of us all in the classroom singing:

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The day ended with supper with the Titus’ and Daniels consisting of “yardy wraps,” another authentic Jamaican food, which of course were awesome like most everything else I’ve eaten down here.

I wrote yesterday that I would show you Bogue village today. Bogue is the village where Bay Life Baptist is and it’s also the community that they’re trying to reach here in Montego Bay. It just so happens that we have great view of Bogue village from CCCD where we’re staying. It’s pretty cool to see it this way. Of course, when I look at the village from this vantage point I can’t help but think of Psalm 2:8, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” So many times that verse has been used to speak of missions, so my prayer for Bay Life Baptist is, please Lord, give them Bogue village for the sake of the Gospel that they may be saved. Will you pray for Bogue village with me?

Here’s a day and night picture from my vantage point:

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Jamaica – Day 3

Another great day in Jamaica today. We began the day with some rest and relaxation at the beach. It’s the first time we’ve been to the beach on this trip. (We will probably get to go again for a while on Friday.) Needless to say, it was absolutely beautiful and incredibly relaxing to just float in the warm Caribbean water. Here’s a picture from this morning’s view:

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After this morning we had a Jamaican lunch called “Juicy Beef” which is kind of like a hot pocket but you eat it wrapped in a piece coco bread. I’d put a picture of it here but I ate all the evidence before a picture could be taken. Wow, was it good!

Back to the Bible College after lunch with Cletis and we had a great time today teaching more pastoral theology to the students. Yesterday I introduced you to them by name; today I talked them into a group shot:

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These guys really interacted well today and asked a lot of questions; I love that! Cletis and I also really enjoyed “tag team teaching” the class today. It was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get back there tomorrow.

I want to share a little more today about the village we’re staying in. If you didn’t see the pictures I ended yesterday’s post with, scroll down and check them out. This village is called Granville and it is a very poor area. Because of the poverty there is a lot of crime, and though we haven’t witnessed any violence, it’s not safe for us to walk through the neighborhood. As a matter of fact, in one of the pictures I posted yesterday there is a man in red near our van. When he saw me take the picture he immediately yelled out that he wanted money for it.

We are staying in Granville and the Caribbean Christian School for the Deaf. This is basically a little gated compound that has a night watchman and tall walls around the entire school campus that have glass on the top to keep people from climbing over.

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Don’t worry though, we’re completely safe!

Laura and I have had the opportunity to meet a sweet family that I want to introduce to you. This is the Daniel’s family. Jeff, Jodi and kids are here in Jamaica as missionaries and they oversee the Caribbean Christian School for the Deaf where we are staying. We’ve been privileged to get to know them some this week and will spending more time with them as the week goes on. I can tell you, that living in Jamaica is not like coming to visit. I’m sure that there are times that it’s very difficult for this family who just want God to use their lives for His glory. So, I’m asking for you to join me in praying for them. Will you?

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Tomorrow I’m going to show you more of Bogue village where Bay Life Baptist Church is and the community they’re trying to reach for Christ.

By the way, our day concluded with Chinese food with Cletis and Tammy. That’s the last thing I thought I would eat in Jamaica but it was very good…..mon.

Jamaica – Day 2

We’ve had another great day in Jamaica. Since we don’t have to be at the Bible college until 2pm, we have some time in the mornings to do other things. So, Cletis and Tammy took us down to “the strip.” This is the first time we’ve been to a touristy area since we arrived.

We went to a shop and were introduced to Auntie Dolley who is a sweet old lady who owns the shop. Since we know Cletis and Tammy we were instant friends.

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We were also introduce to Lana who was a sweetheart too. You can tell by her beautiful Jamaican smile that I caught at the entrance of Auntie Dolley’s shop.

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After lunch, Cletis and I headed out to Fairview Bible college to teach a week long module class on Pastoral theology. I took a bunch of video of our ride out and of the college that I’ll show later this week. I’ll also put some pictures on the blog of the college campus later this week.

In our class are five young Jamaican men receiving their education to become pastors here in Jamaica; O’Brian (that’s his first name), Carlington, Dane, Andre and Charles. (I’ll see if they’ll let me get a group shot with them one day this week.)

It was a great time in class as they were attentive and asked a lot of questions. I love that!

Here’s what the classroom looked like:

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Can’t wait to get back tomorrow afternoon!

Tomorrow morning will begin with our first trip to see a beach here in Jamaica. Laura and I are both excited about this! Don’t worry, we’ll lather up with some SPF 50 before we go out. Otherwise we’ll end up looking like we landed on the surface of the sun!

I want to finish today’s update with just some pictures of what life really looks like here in Jamaica. The commercials on American tv just show the resorts, but that’s not what Jamaica really is. This is a place of high unemployment and difficult living for many people. I’m so glad that Cletis and Tammy along with other’s, both American and Jamaican, are giving their lives to give the hope of Christ to the people of Jamaica. These people are more than just faces…..

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Jamaica – Day 1

We couldn’t have asked for a better first day here in Jamaica!

First was great time of worship at Bay Life Baptist Church. What an awesome time it was. I really enjoyed watching the worship leaders just serve and the Lord was definitely in this place. Here’s a picture of the “auditorium” where they worship. It’s an upstairs room in a building that has a meat market and some other business on the first floor:

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Within 30 minutes of the beginning of the service, this place was full to capacity. (Punctuality is not extremely high on the priority list in Jamaica.)

At the end of the worship service a young woman came forward to express that she had accepted Christ as Savior! How awesome is that?!

After church we were invited over to Dr. Brown’s house for a big, church-wide lunch. This was in honor of Cletis and Tammy Titus who founded Bay Life Baptist. It was an awesome time!

The food at this party was very Jamaican and pretty much amazing! I had, for the first time ever, goat stomach soup. I don’t want to sound like Andrew Zimmern here but it was really good. And yes, it had goat stomach, intestine and brains in it. (This was the appetizer.) It was a little to spicy for Laura so she didn’t eat hers. I’m sure that was the only reason she didn’t eat it…

After that, the main meal was served buffet style. It consisted of jerk chicken, curry goat and some really, really good pork. Here’s a pic of my plate:

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As good as it was, the best part of this lunch was not the food. As the church honored Cletis and Tammy, they sang all kinds of songs as one of the men played an upright piano in the living room and man did they sing from the heart! It was so fun to sing along and then hear them just spontaneously break into another song. They truly love to worship! They honored Cletis and Tammy with testimony and a gift then served us all cake and ice cream.

It was great to see the Titus’ loved on in such a way. They’ve truly made a difference here.

Did I mention today was a great day?!

Well, tomorrow brings day two and Cletis and I will be heading out to the Bible college. We will both be lecturing in the Pastor Theology class. I’m really looking forward to this!

More to come tomorrow night as I’m sure I’ll have more pictures and stories of our time here in Jamaica.