Early Wednesday morning—at 2:30, actually—John will be leaving with a group of teens from Tabernacle Baptist Church for a ten-day missions trip to work with missionaries Quentin and Sally Reese in Jamaica. During their trip, they will be running a week-long Vacation Bible School, working with the Manna Care Ministry (which brings food and medicine to poor and homeless children), and taking part in two different Sunday services at Godâ€™s Way Baptist Church. They will also be passing out gospel tracts, and doing other work to help the missionaries in whatever way they can.
This will be John’s first missions trip. In fact, it will be his first trip out of the country. He is, admittedly, a little nervous. Tonight after dinner we read a short devotional by Corrie Ten Boom about worry. A few days ago I encouraged him not to be afraid, as the worst that could happen is he’d get to go to Heaven soon, and I’d get his X-Box.
This is a great opportunity for John. I know from my own experience that such trips can be profoundly life-changing. Seeing how much of the world lives–or struggles to live–is eye opening. Meeting and spending time in fellowshipping with those who share the common bond of brotherhood in Jesus Christ is enriching.
I’ll update this post throughout the week, as news comes in. Most likely most of the details will need to wait until John returns.
Update–Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Well, the group made it safely to Jamaica, albeit after some delays and sans about half of their luggage. I hope the latter arrives soon for them. On one trip to the Dominican Republic, Nichelle and I were warned to bring at least three days’ worth of clothing and essentials as carry-on. It took exactly that long for us to get our bags.
Update–Saturday, July 16, 2005: Luggage and Hurricanes
We heard that the group’s luggage had been flown to an airport near Kingston, Jamaica, and was supposed to be delivered to them by yesterday or today, if I have the details right.
Hurricane Emily (I still think all hurricanes should be named after women) didn’t hit Jamaica directly, but judging from the satellite photos today, they’re getting some serious wind and rain. That should keep the teens’ lives interesting. Here’s the word from The Weather Channel:
Emily: the Atlantic Basin’s strongest July hurricane
2:55 p.m. ET Sat., Jul.16, 2005
M. Ressler, Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
With winds of 155 mph, Emily has beaten out Dennis for the honor of strongest July hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin. Emily remains a small but very strong and very dangerous major Category 4 hurricane. If the sustained wind were to increase 1 more mph, Emily would become a Category 5 hurricane. Emily continues to zip to the west-northwest at 18 mph heading into the western Caribbean. The torrential outer rain bands may dump from 6 to locally 10 inches of rain over the mountains of Jamaica and 4 to 7 inches over the Cayman Islands. Flooding and mud slides are possible. The rain bands may possibly produce a few wind gusts to near hurricane strength in the mountains and along the south coast of Jamaica today and then over Grand Cayman Island later tonight into Sunday. A tropical storm warning has been dropped for the southwestern peninsula of Haiti. A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica and for the Cayman Islands. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Caribbean side of the Yucatan. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the northern half of coastal Belize.