Wednesday, August 29, 2012

World-View Wednesday: Loving Jamaica's Orphans

A few weeks ago, our youth group traveled to Jamaica to work with Embracing Orphans. As youth leader on our first international trip, I felt a bit of trepidation about all the details coming together, not to mention being mom leader to 15 youth, most of which were babies in their families!!! {thank goodness, we didn't realize that until we were home. haha} We worked with Embracing Orphans, who does much of their work in the Montego Bay area, and reaches out to orphans and teenagers with the love of Christ. I knew that we would be spending a lot of time at the Blossom House, a state-run orphanage, and just loving on the kids there. You would think I'd have been just ecstatic at the opportunity, but I have to admit that I was nervous! Yes, really. After having spent a total of 3 months in Guatemala with ORI at an orphanage, I had a bit of an idea of how exhausting it really is!! I spent the weeks leading up to the trip reading a book called "Preparing your heart before you pack your bags". I highly recommend this book to anyone who is planning to do short-term missions. It was a huge help in just preparing my thoughts and emotions for what was about to happen, as well as focus in praying for our time there. And what a great trip it was!!!

We stayed at a hotel called the Verney House Resort, and it had a pool. How "cool" is that? {And here you thought we were staying in shacks!} It was truly a gift, after hot days at the orphanage. I felt like I sweated non-stop! Lovely thought, isn't it?

The food was delicious! We were served jerk chicken and rice and peas for almost every dinner, and it hit the spot. But I will admit, by the end of the week, I was ready for some good American cooking again :)

Jamaica is a beautiful country! This lovely spot was the site of JRM, the Jamaican Relief Ministries, where our friend Mandie lived for 1 year. It was originally a restaurant where famous musicians like Jonny Cash played music! We did some painting on a house that will be used for the houseparents of this organization. I could have stayed here for days; this spot would be perfect to vacation in!

We visited this beach one afternoon, and had 1 hour of bliss before the tropical storm swept in! It was a gorgeous spot; I would have loved to have stayed all day, if it wouldn't have been pouring rain!! 

I'm so grateful for the other couple who went along as leaders: Andrew & Mandie. They added so much to our group and brought experience of the culture and a heart for the kids. Mandie knew where all the great restaurants were too! This was taken at Pier One, a restaurant on the pier. It was a gorgeous night and we ate and talked while the sun set.

But the best part of the trip wasn't the beautiful things we saw, or the delicious food we ate; it was loving the Jamaican orphans. The boys pictured above are children that a friend of ours cared for while she lived in Jamaica. Their story is heartbreaking, like so many of the stories of each of the kids we come into contact with at the orphanage. My experience working with the children this time was different from the last time. I am now a mom. When I snuggled little babies, I saw Hadassah. When I kissed sleepy heads, I thought of her and my heart just broke to think that they have no mommy to hold them, rock them and sing to them. The caregivers there are wonderful, but it's almost impossible to give 57 children everything they need. They soaked up the attention that we gave them and completely stole our hearts! Yes, it was exhausting. And some days, four o'clock could not have come soon enough! But it was life-changing. One of the directors with EO shared that he prayed for our group and asked God to break our hearts for what breaks His, and by the end of the week, it was clear that happened!! We played with the kids, laughed with them, hugged them and prayed over them. Our prayer is that God will not only heal the physical scars, but those that are invisible: the scars in their hearts. I pray that there will be families who will choose to love them forever. I pray that they will meet Jesus, the only One who heals broken hearts and is a Father to the fatherless. And I pray that I never forget, and that I never "get over" this experience. Will you pray with me for these precious children today?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Barn Sale Event

I am super excited to announce an upcoming local event,
the Perennial Favorites Barn Sale!
It's sponsored by my sweet friends, Amy at Roller Mill Farms, Amy at Amelia Bedelia and I.
A variety of handmade & vintage goods will be for sale, including
  • Hair accessories & chalkboards from Amelia Bedelia
  • Vintage furniture & decor from Roller Mill Farms
  • Various signs & typography products from yours truly!
  • Monogrammed items
  • Homemade soaps
  • Handmade journals
  • Crocheted baby hats & handmade bib/diaper sets,
along with homemade doughnuts and a pumpkin-painting booth for the children!
Don't miss this fun fall event, and be sure to stay awhile to shop, chat and eat!
We look forward to seeing you there!!!