Come to Jamaica!
“Come to Macedonia!” Paul received this vision during his second missionary journey, a lesson I had recently taught to my Sunday School scholars. And so he went, not doubting the directive. “Come to Jamaica!” Ours was not in a vision like the Apostle’s, but rather a request from our son and daughter-in-law, Bro. David and Sis. Cassie Giordano. As full-time missionaries in Jamaica, they were asking for help in their final weeks on the island. So, after a brief consideration of our ‘comfort zone’, Bro. Mark and I heeded the call and went. As I’d heard it said, there’s no growth inside the comfort zone!
The thirteen day trip flew by much too quickly. In that short time, we traversed the beautiful island of Jamaica —driving up and down on good roads and bad ones — meeting brothers and sisters, children and friends whom we cherish now with all our hearts.
Our first stop was the mission flat atop the home of Bro. Leroy and Sis. Loraine Johnson, in Clarendon on the south side of the island. We had our first foray into Jamaican cuisine here: ackee and salt fish, callaloo, fried plantains, bammy, raw sugar cane, and fresh coconut. We spent our evenings packing up the flat for Dave and Cassie’s soon departure and preparing for the upcoming Ash Wednesday Gathering. We also enjoyed visiting and doing the daily readings with the wonderfully hospitable Johnsons.
The next stop was lovely Port Maria. Moody island weather brought sun, high winds, and torrential rains, all in a very short time. We were able to meet up with three of the five sisters in isolation in the area — Sisters Shauna, Pauline, and Alissa. We held a simple Breaking of Bread in the hotel room, with some words of encouragement by Bro. Mark and hymns accompanied by Bro. Dave on his guitar. The sisters dashed to the taxi stop late in the afternoon when there was a brief break in the heavy rains, taking leave with mixed emotions since it was the last time (at least for a while) they would see Bro. Dave and Sis. Cassie.
Wednesday, February 26th, brought us to the Ash Wednesday Gathering. Wonderfully hosted by the Spanish Town ecclesia at a local YWCA, over sixty-five brethren, children, and friends arrived from around the island to enjoy fellowship and listen to talks by Bro. Mark on Prophecy, and “Being Ready for the Lord’s Return.”
Cassie and I taught classes for the thirteen children outside, because there was no room inside! The day overflowed with enthusiasm and camaraderie. Even the security guard on the premises engaged us in a conversation about our hope, and we gave him contact information before driving away.
Nine neighborhood children appeared out of nowhere at the ecclesial hall on Friday afternoonFinally, we headed west to Negril and the Broughton ecclesia. We lodged at Bro. Ray Arthur’s Golden Sunset Villas while traveling back and forth between the mission house in Broughton and the ecclesial hall for CYC, ecclesial events, and Sunday meeting. At the house, Dave and Cassie hosted a special spaghetti dinner for the local ecclesial members, and we were delighted when one of the chefs from the local jerk chicken shack showed up (from our earlier invitation) to eat and to hear the Kingdom of God presentation by Bro. Mark.
Nine neighborhood children appeared out of nowhere at the ecclesial hall on Friday afternoon, ready and eager for a lesson from Sis. Cassie. She pulled a lesson and craft out of her magical bag of supplies and kept them engaged for the next hour with Bible stories and activities. They loved it!
Thirteen teens arrived later for CYC, which was presented by Bro. Mark on “The Kingdom of God — Not in Your Heart, the Church, or in Heaven — but on the Earth!” All of them seemed to understand the concept and easily repeated the point later on.
On Sunday morning, the Broughton hall came alive with the sound of hymns and praise to our heavenly Father. To the little flock gathered there, Bro. Mark gave a moving exhortation on the responsibility we all have to sow the seeds of the gospel of the Kingdom to everyone in our hearing, as this produces fruit and glorifies God.
As we sat at the airport at the end of two weeks, we reflected on the amazing opportunity we’d just experienced. Our love and care for the many faithful brothers and sisters we met in Jamaica will stay with us until we meet again.
The CBMC is appealing for more long term missionaries for Jamaica. Are you able to answer the call to help these lovely believers? You will feel blessed and thankful if you can!
Written by Jean Giordano
Submitted by Jan Berneau,