You wake up every morning, humidity heavy enough to get out your scuba gear you had to pay $6 for. Everyone is waking up earlier than they were in the beginning of the week. This can be due to no one having any energy when the sun drops below the water just over the cinder block wall in the distance. When the clock strikes 10, we’re out like a light.
Looking past the minor setbacks, we wake up knowing one thing. We’re here for a purpose. We’re here to leave this place better than when we got here. Not just by our physical labor laying over 20 yards of concrete but by showing God’s love to the children of CCCD. It doesn’t take much to put a smile on the faces of the kids ranging from Kindergarten to 8th Grade. Some of us are thinking we are here to spend times with only the kids in school. We soon realized that the crew from Wake Chapel would be blessed to spend time with several employees and workers throughout the week. Glenford, a man living at the campus who is also deaf, soon recognized Curtis and Kitty Lane Holleman after years of not seeing them. It’s moments like these, the re-connecting of old relationships created years ago being restored, is what is getting us through these last few days. When you’re running on water and Tang you need these great stories to finish strong.
In the beginning of the week, we saw the objective that needed to be done with the concrete and gutters. Gutters were done by the third day, concrete seems to be never-ending. As the momentum is picking up during the day we start cranking up the motors and lay concrete like we’ve been here before. The best part about this is everyone has the same mindset. A lot of times with a group this big it is easy to start individual battles on who is out-working the other, whether you admit it or not. This group is showing no signs of that. Wake Chapel has put together the hardest working crew for the 2014 Jamaica mission trip than any year prior in the past 10 years.
Near 28 yards of concrete and 20 yards of gutter later, it is time for the free day to the straw market and beach. The dollar has never been a more precious thing. The competitive nature comes out in everyone because you’re not going to meet in the middle for that wooden sculpture of a frog that you asked $6 for but she wants $8. That mango smoothie on the beach can be worth seven and you won’t hear a complaint… that’s because there were no complaints seen after half of the group were drinking them away as if there was a shortage of the mango on the island of Jamaica. As we wrap up our closing purchases of straw hats and find Charles Stores by himself being tugged every which way into the stores we head to lunch at Biggs BBQ located up against the water. The fine mix with American BBQ and the added Jamaican jerk chicken and pork made for a bunch of happy Wake Chapel people. Straw hats purchased, hunger diminished, time for the beach.
We’re at the same beach we went to Sunday, the day after we got here. Thoughts of going to Ocho Rios were in the talks but the two-hour drive was not appealing to most people. The simple two-minute walk from Biggs to the beach was too convenient to pass up so we racked up on some snorkeling gear and chairs and found our spot on the white sand. Some are playing in the water, some are just as happy to sit in a chair stretched back. The free day is being filled with sharing memories made over the past workweek. What place better to do it than with a mango smoothie overlooking Montego Bay?
Memories have been made, new friendships have emerged, and most importantly lives have been touched between Wake Chapel and everyone involved with CCCD. We, as a group, went in knowing there would be hard work that needed to be done. Some of us have been here in the “mission week work grind” and some haven’t. The experience helps with the work, but no one can ever be prepared with the amount of love every single child on the campus showed to our group. Through countless times in the Bible, Jesus shows us his love for all the children of the world. He was a shining light through every child there and was evident in how grateful they were. The labor work would be done eventually, but the smiles seen on the children’s faces are why we were there. God’s love goes beyond the United States. His love is forever shining in all parts of the world. Be a part of witnessing it.