And we continue on…

March 6, 2011

If you’re flying out of Jamiaca on a Saturday, might we suggest you give yourself several hours lead time. Especially if you plan on grabbing a bite to eat and doing a bit of shopping.  Reason being- there are hundreds of folks in line ahead of you! And those two lines (going in opposite directions) you passed on your way to customs and security-that’s acutally ONE line folded in half. What a time getting through. I believe we were the last ones on the airplane, and yet, we made it! God is so good to us! So what if lunch for us that day consisted of the free drink and a mini bag of pretzels. We had plenty of time in Baltimore to enjoy dinner and even play a card game. Can we just say how grateful we are for America, her security and her airports!?

As we debriefed before we left for the airport, each of us reflected on the week, on what God was teaching us and how to translate all we were thinking and feeling into Monday morning at NCA. Everyone decided it’s better to not have too much of  that “mountain top” feeling because that fades over time.  Rather each of us is seeking to draw closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and THAT’S what will transform our world, our school and our homes. The goal is not a “new” NCA, the goal is a transformed and renewed me. A me who is willing to be just the “drop in the bucket”, being poured out as an offering wherever God needs me to be.

Remember, my young friends, it is not so much the goal as it is the process that God is using to sanctify us. Then everyone will see the family likeness! I love you all, you goober toobers.

Mrs. E 🙂

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Hey everyone! It’s Annalisa here. So this was our last day in Jamaica and we definitely made the most of it. First off we woke up late(7:30a.m.) and had breakfast, then we got ready and went to the beach and shopping for the day. A bunch of us went out in the water onto the trampoline that they had. Trust me we cant all fit onto the trampoline, we got pushed off. Snorking is a blast and some of us did it earlier this week, but some tried it this time and really enjoyed it. Joy actually went snorkeling that was above her head(she had a tube) after that we all had lunch and went shopping for a little bit on the hip strip! We went into so many shops that had some really cool things in it, we got to barter as well which is really cool.

Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready to go out to dinner at glistening waters.(This is where the day gets really good) All the girls got dressed up in nice spring dresses, the boys not so much. We all hopped onto Gary’s bus and off we went. When we got there they already had a table waiting for us, we all had amazing dinners out on the porch overlooking the lagoon at sunset, which just made the evening even more perfect. After we all ate dinner, we took a couple pictures over the lagoon and then got into our bathing suits to go out on the boat!

So we were out on the boat and the coolest thing happened! I cant even describe it, when the water moves it GLOWS! How is that even possible! The captain of the boat told us all about where the water comes from, some from the ocean, some from the river. Therefore it isnt too salty, it isnt too fresh. Then he stopped the boat and said that we could get in and go swimming. All of us jumped in as soon as he said that! The water was like bath water and when you moved you just looked like a giant glow stick! It was only 4 feet deep to the bottom, but a lot of us didnt touch because it was kind of silty. You could almost sink in it.(Nathan went up to his waist! Crazy boy!) It felt a lot like very wet jello.

After we swam for a while, the captain took us for a little cruise and showed us some birds that were hiding in the trees called egrets. The always leave at 6 a.m. then come back at 6 p.m. When he was driving back the water would just glow from the propellers and we could see some fish occasionally that would glow as we passed by. This was definitely by far one of the best experiences of my life, and I think I speak for a lot of the people that came too.

This is Annalisa, BYEE!

Last notes from Mrs. E:

This is our last post from Jamaica! Tomorrow morning the team will do a bit of debriefing and prayer as we thank God for an amazing week. We are sad to leave and happy to see family and friends and sleep in our own beds tomorrow night! We’ll see you in Boston nice and late tomorrow night.We’re heading to the airport in Jamaica at 12:00pm and leave at 2:30 ish. We’ll be enjoying dinner at the airport in Baltimore, then HOME! SOON COME!

PS. Everyone is feeling pretty good. Abby is stuffy (she could use some decongestant Mom), Annalisa is better, Nichole is feeling a LOT better, and more than a few of us are a little sunburned (how did THAT happen?), so it’s going to be an aloe kind of night. 🙂 You’ll see our “tanned” selves tomorrow night!

GOD IS GOOD! Being a “drop in the bucket” is what it’s all about. The challenge to ourselves from Oswald Chambers is to seek God first, to put Him before everything else and to always seek His direction before we do ANYthing.  🙂

Goodbye to JCSD

March 4, 2011

David and Mrs. Brown blogging here.  It was a great last day at JCSD.  We almost finished filling in the foundation for the new kindergarten classroom.  We have the blisters and tired muscles to prove it.  🙂  Mrs. Brown had fun helping teach in the high school again.  The students are diligent workers and eager to learn new concepts.

We finished our last day of our VBS program.  Today was green, so we taught the students about how to grow their relationship with the Lord.  The students also finished making their own wordless books.  While we did VBS Mrs. Eastman met with the teaching staff and gave them gifts and shared contact info in order to stay connected after we leave.

After VBS several of the JCSD students surprised us with several wonderful dance routines.  Most visually demonstrated our relationship with the Lord and how He works in our lives.  It was beautiful and had many of us in tears.  The tears didn’t stop there because after that the goodbyes had to be said.  What can we say?  Many tears, hugs, signing, photos, love shared.  We really love the kids and they love us as well.  We will miss them all dearly.  As we drove away, you could hear the bawling at the back of the van.  Mrs. Brown just looked out the window and kept dabbing her eyes.  We know what she was doing!  haha  David just kept saying “I’m so depressed.”  He’s missing the kids as much as the girls are.  🙂

Well, that’s about it for today.  We’re tired out, but FULL of LOVE!  Thank you Lord for a wonderful day!

Signing off (get the pun?),

NCA Team

PS tomorrow we sleep in! Then to the beach and a little shopping. Tomorrow evening we are really looking forward to Glistening Waters for dinner, a boat ride and a glowing swim! 🙂

Here’s to sadness

March 3, 2011

Hello. How goes it mon? Joy H. and Nichole here.The water is flowing both literally and emotionally (or soon will be). Today is our last day at JCSD. Today, the whole team wrote good-bye letters to the kids that they shall receive after we leave here. Each kid got one. This is just the start of our emotional day. We have all grown very attached to the kids here and they love us as well.

Now, literally, the water was scarce early this morning. No one was able to wash their hands. But PTL (Praise the Lord), the water WAS DELIVERED!

(break for tears)

K, we’re back. Leaving today will be, as it already is, extremely hard but we will try our hardest to stay strong for the kids as the last thing they need is our tears.

Anthony says hi! Anthony’s our friend that lives and works at JCSD. We’ve grown really close to him over the course of this week. He would appreciate any prayers that you may give him.

We’ve made t-shirts today with the kids hands and “i love you” signs. They’ll be really good memories for us when we get home.

Larissa, Mariah, Annalisa, and Joy H taught a kindergarten class this morning that we weren’t expecting to teach. That was a real treat. Even though we can’t fluently sign, it was a lot of fun to see the smiles on the kids faces after we helped them get an answer right.

A lot of people from the team brought clothes that they wouldn’t wear at home or things they just bought for this trip to the school today to give away to the kids as there’s a real need for clothing. While doing laundry this morning, Christine and Nichole found ripped underwear, some with no band on the top. We saw and heard about the real  need for underwear and wished we brought more clothing and especially, underwear for the children. As Mrs. Eastman was sifting through the bags of supplies we brought to give to the school she opened a side pocket of one bag and found 7 packages of childrens underwear. God’s funny isn’t he? He really worked that one out for us.

Today’s a sign language only day. WE DON’T TALK and neither do they. It’s REALLY hard.

You’ll hear from another team member tonight.

Thanks for tuning in!

Later MON! 😉

 

Late to bed, early to rise, does NOT make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise! Man, were we tired today! But we were eager to serve, so it all worked out. 🙂

Today was amazing. Oh, by the way, Nathan Brown here. You know, the short little blonde boy with the crew cut. Haha! Anyways, brekkers (breakfast) was really good, as usual. We braved the hills going to the school  (Which, by the way, are rated morextreme than K-2) in Marcia’s little bus. So, right when we got there, we were put to work! You see, we had been painting the newest room for the “babies” as Mrs. Eastman calls them (The babies are the kindergarteners). We had painted one wall “sunshine yellow” and two others a lime colored green. So today, David worked his magic and painted the last wall “lilac.” He was thrilled to have that beautiful purple all over his arms. 🙂

Also, they are in the process of making another bathroom, so Annalisa, Joy, Mariah, Larissa, Abby, and myself finished coating three parts of the room in a beautiful concrete primer. 😛

Many of us sat in on classes before lunch, and I got all of the kids last names so we could friend them on facebook. 😀 My mom, who for those of you who don’t know, knows ASL (american sign language) and she got to teach high school for much of the day while the teacher was away. Lunch was chicken, AMAZING white rice, salad with sugar on it (don’t ask me), and also we had this freakishly spicy cabbage stuff which was very good for clearing up your sinuses.

After lunch, many of us hung out with the kids. Zach and I played a card game with Ovis and Nikay. The game is called “spoons.” The object of the game is to get 4 of a kind, and then pick up one of the spoons in the middle. It is like musical chairs, so the last person to grab a spoon is out. Wait though, there’s more! You see, stainless steel spoons don’t come in abundance at a school in the mountains, so we used rocks instead.

Classes were ending, and the last one was Physical Education. The kids in primary school were playing, and Zach, Abby, and I tagged along. We even convinced my mom that she was fast enough to keep up with 20 little Usain Bolts running around.

Later, VBS Started, and the kids learned about the White color in the wordless book. Abby helped Zach and I do Rec., and we played a game where we had to keep a huge blow up basketball in the air. (By the way, that took forever to blow up. I miss air compressors.) That went really well, and the twenty minutes only seemed like five.

After that, Obrian, Kemoy, Courtney, Christopher, Kristoffe, and some others played “Spoons with rocks.” We have been playing after VBS for three days in a row now; it is becoming a tradition.

Even leaving today was hard. Apparently the kids don’t get a group like ours very often. So tomorrow will be hard for the kids but more so ourselves. Prayers welcomed!!

Our devotion tonight was about not worrying and not fretting over anything. The devo explained how any worrying or fretting is simply trying to plan ahead with God out of the picture. Now, this doesn’t mean we all can say, “Aw, don’t worry about the dishes. God will take care of it.” It means that we can trust God in anything and because of that we don’t need to worry about any situation because God is in control and he will take care of it.

One more thing. Prayer requests…

Annalisa still has headaches off and on. Nichole got some type of heat exhaustion and is not feeling well. Also, pray for Christine’s scabber. The water supply to the school is almost non-existent. It’s not making it all the way up the hill, even though they have payed in full. Please pray also for the repairs that are needed for an old van-very expensive, but a very necessary item.

Thanks!!

ps. Mary, the lady who owns the place where we are staying, just walked in with a receipt from the grocery store that is taller than herself. HA!!

Hi all it’s Christine and Larissa here, we are currently at JCSD. So far today Nichole and Christine had the opportunity to sit in and help teach the special unit. Nichole was so motivated to help out and she made the most of today. It was awesome to watch her help teach math (fractions) while Christine taught some English ( too bad Mrs. Tanguay’s in Bolivia) 🙂

Its been such an awesome time here. We have had the time to become closer as a group as well as closer to the Lord. 🙂 We’ve been all over the place lately.  JAMAICAN TIME, MON. We’ve used this to our advantage  and continue to become just a “drop in the bucket”.  During discussion times we’ve been reflecting on the kids and how God shines through them in so many different ways. Sometimes it slips our minds that they can’t hear or communicate the way we do. We are so blessed to have Mrs. Brown with us, even though we ARE getting the hang of this. It is very neat how we are all connecting in our own separate sort of ways with all of the children here.

As for the title, we are sitting in Marcia’s office while Mrs. Eastman says silly things:) YA MON 🙂 SEE  YOU IN BEANTOWN!

*Mrs. Eastman officially denies EVER using the word “scabbers”. The other two, however, she cannot deny.

As for prayer requests: Annalisa has a head cold, Christine’s scraped up knee is healing nicely and the rest of us are feeling fine. We’d also appreciate prayer for the teacher meeting tomorrow afternoon as we brainstorm ways for NCA teacher/students to connect via email to JCSD. Praise to God for a team that has bonded as brothers and sisters in Christ should bond.  Wonderful relationships abound and students have a great desire to be involved in transforming their High School. Very exciting stuff. Don’t forget to pray for Bolivia. Pastor Paul, FYI, I DO receive your texts, just can’t send them back. Send more–we are praying for you all. God has been so good to us here. We are seeking to simply serve Him with all our hearts–even if it means being just a “drop in the bucket” here in Jamaica!

Hi this is Abby and Zach here. We had another awesome day at the school today. Our VBS went great. We all absolutely love the kids. They are such a blessing. We are continuing to learn lots of sign language. 🙂

Tuesday is devo day at the school so we taught the kids a couple of songs in sign language and they taught us one too. It went pretty well. While at the school, we had a couple extra minutes to have a group devotional and we invited our new friend Anthony to join us. He works at the school and is a big help in interpreting sign. We are very grateful for his help.

As usual, the kids were very energetic and very excited to see us. We all enjoyed playing with them and holding the little ones and just being with them.

Once again the sunset was exceptional to watch. Congratulations to Annalisa, Christine, and Joy Hartman on trying fish for the first time in who knows how long. 🙂 We played some new games taught by Joy and Joy. They were a blast and will probably be passed on to others when we get home.

We’re all very tired so we wish you well at home. Enjoy the pictures and keep looking for the next post!

This is Abby, Zach, and the NCA Jamaica 2011 team signing off!

From Mrs. “E”: Blogging from the school will continue through Thursday, after that it’s unclear how much access we’ll have. We’d love to see more comments from friends at home–if you’re able, say “hi!”.

Two more days at the school. Thursday I get to have a teacher meeting with their thirteen teachers. Hey, my team at NCA, they were talking about what to do when kids don’t wear their PE uniform to school on PE days–hmm, sounds like familiar stuff, eh? They decided that the kids would not be able to participate in PE at all (which they love). Can’t wait to tell them about NCA and to share ideas.

Friday we’re heading shopping and to the private beach once again. Then to Glistening Waters for dinner out and the experience of a life time. Check out their website at http://www.glisteningwaters.com.  One man staying with another team here at Fairhaven said that swimming at glistening waters was second only to the birth of his child in top experiences in his life. Well, ok!

No problem, Mon! Life is slow and easy in Jamaica! Soon come.