The events of Monday July 16th.
Today started without a trip to the fruit market but it was still a wonderful one. Between a VBS full of exuberant youngsters, a late lunch at a local Jamaican restaurant, the rejoicing of another baptism, and the gathering for an evening gospel meeting it was a full day of the Lord’s work.
Our vans departed this morning at 8:30am sharp. Sharp at least for Jamaica, I think it was 8:33 as we lurched out of the motel parking lot in our mobile sardine can. While one van went straight to pick up a neighborhood of kids the rest, 19 of us, packed into the second van and made the drive to Cave Church of Christ.
Cave is a furious 20 minute drive through winding rural-ness. Once out of Sav it’s a mixture of straight-a-ways through flowing grass fields and darting curves with jungle vegetation and shacks lining the road. While you can’t see it for the trees, the church building there sits temptingly close to the ocean, and dangerously close to the road.
After dropping the group off at the building to prepare, Burt and I, our only American with a Jamaican drivers license, headed off to pick up further groups from differing local neighborhoods. It should be explained the term neighborhoods is used loosely. Essentially it’s picking up the children and adults for bible classes by driving down their streets and stopping to let a few smiling boys and girls into the van.
Continue this until all the kids ready or allowed to leave their street have filled up the van, sometimes numbering into the high twenties. For our time with the Cave church the neighborhoods are simply a close collection of shacks or unfinished houses along a street. In both urban, the rough and dilapidated slum of ‘Little Russia’, and rural settings, elevated mountainous hoods named ‘Blue Fields’ and ‘Retirement’ rising up into the Jamaican jungle, the process is the same.
It was a good first morning and the songs, crafts, lessons, and teachings seemed to go smoothly. I didn’t catch today’s number of attendants but with word of mouth spreading throughout the week as the kids return the numbers will rise each day.
After handing the same process to take the kids back, we all headed for a late lunch. As seems to be a motif on this trip, Amy and I found ourselves off the regular path and eating at a local Jamaican restaurant & bakery with a friend of hers from the area. If you’re ever in Sav, I recommend the jerk chicken at Tan Tan’s. Don’t forget a box juice limeade.
It was a little later after lunch I received a knock on my door that we were headed to baptize a man who had come to classes this morning. From our motel we drove to the river. In Jamaica the best place to submerge someone is in the natural water sources that grace this beautiful island. I know it doesn’t matter, but the closest place from Sav for a baptism really is a gorgeous place to become a Christian.
A little later the flow of rain beating against the motel’s hallway awning and the splatter on the tile made for a relaxing late afternoon break to reflect and recover before our nightly service. We don’t get much down time, and sometimes the little we have is used for errands and preparing, but it was nice to think on the previous few days sights and sounds.
As we get ready to head into Cave for an evening message I can’t help but think how blessed I am to be here sharing God’s word. I hope the pictures and writings can help share a little of what it’s like in this magical place because I know they don’t do them full justice.