Trip Cost $2200.00/student
This May, I co-lead a team of 9 Gordon students and one adviser to Caribbean Island of Jamaica for a two-week stay partnering with CCCD (Caribbean Christian Center for Deaf) in Kingston. CCCD one of three schools that gives the deaf in Jamaica an education; and a Christian one at that. It’s been a part of this region for a long time and has partnered with many schools, churches, and other organizations over the years and this was Gordon’s first year to work in the Kingston Campus.
We arrived the first day, moved in and had an Orientation with the team coordinator and on site CCCD missionary, Blake Widmer. One of the first things we discussed was a book called When Helping Hurts (WHH), and our mutual goals for what the service-learning trip was to look like. In short, relationships with the children was stressed, and not looking on ourselves as greater and them lesser, but as equals; hearing or not. We learned during and after the trip that we are to encourage each other (fellow Christians and people) and help others to see their own innate worth and value, and that it rests solely in Jesus Christ.
Over the next two weeks we moved in to various work projects, from painting the students’ kitchen and installing a TV mount, to painting tables, and building a dog house. Everyone had a part and felt useful. What is more though, is that the children were released from school everyday around 330 and we were given the opportunity to play with them. The children ranged in ages from 5-21 and were in grades from 1-11. The cool thing was, was that all the children who didn’t immediately go home, (which were usually the ones who lived on campus) stuck around, and we were able to games, crafts, and learn about their lives and sign language! Seeing them communicate so proficiently and simultaneously learn English (for writing) was a treat, and we couldn’t help but compare our experiences to theirs. Looking at them and seeing motion but hearing nothing except the grunts and excited squeals and laughter was a beautiful thing. I had to imagine if that’s what they saw of us.
A lot was learned on the trip, however one of the biggest things I think for myself was that communication and relationship with people is so important in life, especially if you want to make any difference in this world or hold strong relationships. Constant comms with God is a must and a comms with others is necessary. However, communication and relationship doesn’t have to be audible. The deaf speak with their hands; and read body language. We speak in voice. As a deaf person you learn to read a person by watching them, you learn them in deeper perhaps more real way. The amazing thing is that God speaks all of these languages and more. He is the ultimate Communicator and Friend. Just as we need to build relationships with each other by community, so do we need to do that with God. We need to spend time with God, both alone and in groups. We need to support each other and hold each other accountable. We need to intercede for each other in prayer and to encourage each other daily. (1 Kings 13:6) – “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray…”
We learned a better reason for short-term missions, and we need to stop seeing ourselves as the heroes; that’s His job. We are to be His hands and feet. We are to go and evangelize yes, but that must also include relationship and a communion with other believers.
God showed Himself faithful yet again on this trip, so I want to take a moment to Praise Him for it. It was all of His doing. Not mine, the teams, or Blake’s. God had everything to do with it. It was because of God that all of the money came in on time and that each student was covered fully. It was God’s doing that enabled our team (despite troubles putting a team together) to get along so well the whole two-weeks. God brought together a really diverse team which ended up being a blessing for CCCD, and He brought together motivated and loving students with so many various gifts and a mutual desire to learn sign. God gave us safe travel and literally no hitches in all of the moving parts. The only thing we had issue-wise was a missing bag on the way back, but God figured that out to. We’ve been immensely blessed, and we will not forget His faithfulness. God, I love You and thank You. Picture is the link Below.
Jamaica Team 2015