Hello everyone!!!
I finally have access to a computer and internet so I thought I’d fill you in briefly on what’s been happening over the last week, I haven’t managed to upload any videos yet so an email will have to do!
I arrived in MoBay last Sunday in one piece and managed to smuggle (or at least it looked like it as they were lining my suitcase) 10 copies of Oliver Twist into the country, and managed to persuade the customs official that a box of shortbread was not going to be hazardous to Jamaica. On leaving the airport I was blasted by a wave of heat (yes, I know it sounds stupid but my word is it hot here!) which I am just about adjusting too. I had a minor panic when the person from YWAM who was supposed to be picking me up wasn’t there but they arrived in Jamaican time and I was on my way to my first place of accommodation in Jamaica!
The YWAM base was quite empty except for one team that was staying there on my first night. They were an amazingly faithful bunch of Christians who started their journey in South Africa and have travelled through South America totally relying on God’s provision. It was so encouraging to hear their testimonies and they made me feel so at home when I arrived.
While staying with YWAM I helped out with various jobs around the base as well as doing some local sight-seeing, but I have to admit there were many times on those first couple of days where I just wanted to pack up my stuff and run home. I managed to become ill on my first full day (some of the leaders on the base thought it was probably heat stroke) but I didn’t manage to keep any food down for those first 2 days. However I know that it was a time of teaching and training; I’m sure God has a reason for sending me here on my own and during those first few days it felt like He was the only
person I could run to for help. It is really demoralising feeling like you’re being held back by your own body and I was so thankful when my first battle was won on Wednesday and I managed to have 2 full meals!
I’ve realised that I take so much for granted at home when even just moving boxes for a morning in this heat led to me having to lie down for a few hours and being unable to replenish the energy with food.
I also had a few struggles with the wildlife at the base! Not only do I have a hundred and one mosquito bites (even using fly spray) I’ve also had to
cope with a variety of bugs that are totally foreign to me (I don’t deal with bugs well in the UK let alone ones here!). We’re still praying for deliverance from this fear but I am now back in a city landscape so I’m hoping they’ve been driven out into the country!
Apart from these things I’ve had a great time in MoBay and made some friendships that I’m sure will last a lifetime. They are truly awesome people living there and I am so grateful for all their kindness and generosity during my stay. I was originally meant to leave on Friday to come to Kingston, but when your relying on God things tend to change at the last minute a lot! So instead I stayed for their first 24hour prayer event run by Jamaica House of Prayer. It was amazing to see God praised in true Jamaican style! But I found so much encouragement in conversations with the other people around me. Not only did I meet more people from MoBay but I made friends with lots of people that I hope to see again here in Kingston. I’ve never seen so many different denominational churches as you walk down the street (and that’s saying something after being in NI!) yet they all came together to realise that God’s plan was bigger than their differences. It was a great event and I’m so glad I stayed. Then yesterday I also managed to get a lift from MoBay to Kingston rather than having to get the coach. I’m now staying with a beautiful woman of God called Rhea while I get settles in to Kingston.
Today has been an experience to say the least. I didn’t know what age group I would be helping to teach and last night I was shown a short profile of each student in Operation Restoration. It was heart breaking. They were all 10 years or older yet all were struggling with the basics of education because they slipped through the cracks in the system. Most of the students have lost family members to gun crime yet they all hope for a better and brighter future.
Today I was pushed into the deep end when I arrived expecting to have a day getting used to the school to be put in front of a class of 26 12-16year olds and told to teach. That was fine to begin with as we played a few maths games and then their teacher Miss Williams took over with some book work till at lunchtime she turned round to say she would be leaving the class in my hands for the afternoon as she had to leave for a while!!! I find it difficult enough to conduct the attention of a handful of teenagers at youth club let alone almost 30 who I can’t even understand because they all speak patois! But God pulled through in marvellous ways when I managed to get through to a couple of students. One boy in particular called Nickeye broke my heart as he sat quietly doing his work when the others were messing around, when he finished he called me over so that I could read the paragraph he had written about himself. It was so personal I almost cried then and there; he spoke of how he found it difficult to trust anyone but his family and didn’t feel he could make friends, he has very low self confidence yet seemed like the kindest child as I watched him looking out for his younger siblings at lunchtime. Please pray for ways to encourage him over the coming days.
Please also pray for more opportunities to be able to speak to the children personally. They have such hopes for the future and I pray they will be
encouraged to reach for them and not put off by their current surroundings. I’ve also found out that it’s actually an entire block that needs to be reroofed and soon because they’ve got rats coming in, but they’ve had a quote for 100,000 Jamaican Dollars which works out to be just about the amount of money that you guys helped to donate. So a huge thank you for all your generous support!
Living by faith
Alex Cameron