We’ve started to get e-mail from John with information about how the missions trip is going. He agreed it was fine to post the e-mails on the BLOG. I’ve included my own comments [in brackets and italicized]. I will add e-mail as it comes in. Below, with some minor edits (mostly for spelling), is what we have received:
Saturday, July 16, 2005:
I landed in Jamaica around 5 in the afternoon on Wednesday. Our flight to Jamaica was delayed an hour and 45 minutes. (Good thing I brought those books, huh? :))
[For the first time, John took my advice about bringing a couple of books with him to read, because you never know when you’re going to be stuck somewhere waiting, with nothing to do.]
When we had landed we all waited for our luggage. To our dissatisfaction, only 3 of us had gotten our luggage back. Lori, me, and Rachel, but I had to wait for my big black suitcase for 20-25 minutes. And so I was like, “Well, I don’t think I’m going to live much longer when I return home.”
[We threatened John with death if anything happened to our huge, virtually indestructible, Samsonite suitcase.]
Then came the immigration forms we had to fill out when we landed. It was pretty wierd filling those out because I felt important. When we had to load the luggage I saw Mrs. Hinxman get into what I had thought all my life was the driver’s side of the vehicle. But to my surprise, the steering wheel was on the right side and I thought that was really cool. Well when, we had started to drive I felt like I was in the passengers side of a vehicle that was being driven by the Terminator. Right then I prayed to God and thanked him for seatbelts. To my surprise, our driver was driving 60-65 mph the whole time (1 hour), but we did make frequent stops. And I thought Massachusetts driving was bad!
I was dead tired; I had only had 2 hrs sleep the whole trip because of the girls and their non-stop talking (no offense, Mom). When we arrived at the Reese’s house, I was like, “Wow this is a beautiful house.” We were told to make ourselves at home, and, well, I did. To me it’s like a mansion. I thanked God for His taking care for us and where we were to stay.
Currently, myself, along with Ken, Mr. Small, and Tim, are staying at another missionary’s house that the Reeses work with (the Harmons). You may have heard of the name, but they are not the same missionaries. His brother [Jerry Harmon] is a missionary that our church supports.
I’ve been doing devotions every day, and it is a beautiful country, but the people that we see every day as we drive on the streets. I mean, I feel like giving them money and helping them out. And I know that I wouldn’t feel this way if I didn’t pray to God about the Jamaican family situation.
[John was in an really bad foster home (long since disbanded) which was run by a family of Jamaican descent. He had to overcome the all-too-human tendency to transfer blame to all citizens of a country based on the actions of one or more of its citizens. We’re very proud he was able to do this.]
You may have heard that there was a hurricane that was headed for us. I had gotten scared and I prayed, and when I had woken up I saw the news and God answered my prayer. It had totally missed us. But the day before that, we (the men) had done some work to prepare for the hurricane.
Right now I’m just having fun and enjoying the kids. Tomorrow comes the real work: Vacation Bible School. There will be a little bit more than 300 kids, and the environment around the church is rough. Yesterday their was a gun shot across the street from the church, and so I ran into the church. I pray to God every day for the safety of our trip. So please continue to pray for our trip and I love you all and hope to see you guys on the 25th.
Monday, July 18, 2005:
[We informed John that we’d commandeered his X-Box while he was away, and borrowed Star Wars: Battlegrounds from the Dunn family.]
Oh, so you borrowed my most loved thing in my room. lol. Well, ok, just make sure when they get mad they don’t throw my controller. lol. Yeah, you can write that on the BLOG if you’d like.
The kids get their luggage back today, so they are all happy.
[The luggage also contained many items they needed for the VBS, but I can imagine that not having to wear the same clothes every day was quite appealing.]
Tuesday, July 18, 2005:
Well, I thank you for your prayers for my safety in the hurricane. And I thanked God for His safety yesterday, because there was man that was chased down the street that the church was on and was stabbed to death. I thanked God that He protected me. But I can see what you are saying with the questions. It is a very good conversation to have.
[I’ll be posting an entry about God’s sovereignty and luggage; I had outlined it for John, trying to frame my thoughts a bit. That’s the conversation to which he was referring.]
Yes, I do think that this would be a life changing trip, because I am already starting to pray to God and asking him to forgive me for my hatred in the past towards my biological parents and the Jamaican foster home. Even though they did something terrible and wicked to me doesn’t mean I should not love them and not care for them. But you know I am doing devotions much longer and having more prayer time and praying for people who I would never have even think to pray about.
I gotta go now, and I hope to see you soon. Oh, by the way, how’s the weather up there? lol. Well, catch ya later, and thanks for being my Dad, and I love you a lot; and tell Mom that I love her, and thank her for being my the best Mom that any teenager could ever have. But I gotta go, and I love you guys.