Sometimes we struggle to see God. We ask where He is, and why He doesn’t show up when we need Him. Other times we see Him in just about everything. All of creation is screaming, “HERE I AM!”
I am thankful for a week full of open eyes. A couple of courageous ladies from our group brought stuffed lions to pass out to the children at the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf. The lions sang a song. My immediate thought was, “Shouldn’t we give these to the orphanage instead? The deaf students will not be able to hear the song.” Later, that would prove to be a Nicodemus moment… Born again? I’ve already been born. What?
A team from Nashville had travelled to Eden, Jamaica and was at the School for the Deaf serving alongside us. They were audiologists. They took time out of their schedules to come to Jamaica and give children hearing aids.
But it’s more than a hearing aid isn’t it?
It was impossible to miss God this week. These courageous ladies with lions are actually Tanya and Rayleigh, the mother and sister of Keighton, a child born with a heart defect who changed the world in his short fifteen years of life. They spend the year making and selling jelly, buying these lions, making hearts and headbands to adorn them with, and packing them into suitcases to bring to children who may not have much to play with.
And so, it’s more than a lion. It’s a legacy. It’s Keightons legacy. He is still changing the world, one deaf student at a time.
Can we measure courage? What amount does it take for Tanya and Rayleigh to pry themselves loose from the agony of losing a son and a brother, and use that experience to bring light into the world?
My head was inside itself when I thought about the lions. My thoughts get trapped inside and struggle to find their way out. How can deaf students use singing lions?
I am so thankful that God doesn’t limit himself to my thought processes. Instead, He provides hearing aids for students on the exact day we showed up with singing lions.
I could go on and on about this week and the work that was accomplished here in Eden. But I’ll take a rest and let the words of a participant speak for me.
Every night during worship we set aside a time for “God Sightings”. This is a time where we come together as a group and say something we saw that reflected the nature of God or how we perceived his presence. It can be the simplest things such as a cloud shaped as a bunny or having a child run into your arms. The thing about God sightings is that God is the creator of all. And all things are created for his glory. So we should constantly be in his presence but we stray so easily away from the marvelous things he has put in front of us. We get so busy with this world and what it has to offer that we miss the obvious. God is love. And his love stares us in the face everyday we are just blinded by The lies of the enemy. The little seedlings planted in our mind, that whisper “God is not there” or they coo in our ears “he does not care about you, you aren’t worthy of his love”. The enemy knows our weaknesses, he knows when to strike. He waits patiently for the opportune moment to pounce and bring us down. The joy is that the victory is ours through Christ Jesus. He has conquered death and there is no condemnation because of the blood he shed on the cross. Our suffering will bring forth joy. We must be patient. We must learn to see God in all things. Not just here on this mission trip but also when we return home. I have seen the heart of God. I have heard his voice. I have felt his arms wrapped around me. The heart of God is Tevin, a 17-year-old boy who is MR. Tevin loves life. His joy is contagious. His smile is beautiful. I have heard the voice of God in the laughter of children, in the sound of shovels scrapping the ground, the sloshing of boots in concrete, and in the voice of the goats and birds. I have felt the presence of God in a cool breeze that wrapped around me on a hot summers day, in a tiny hand reaching up to grasp mine, in a little girl climbing onto my lap. I have seen His work. I have beheld the beauty of the creator and it is good. I see Him in the trees that provide fruit to the hungry, the tree that provides shade to the over heated, I have seen him in the buckets of concrete to provide a roof for children. I have seen him in you and I am beginning to see him in me.
I never liked what I saw in the mirror. My reflection was that of an intruder, an imposter. For so long I have known the right words and the right actions but how much of that was real. What I saw staring back at me was a broken human being. I was lost and afraid. My brokenness was so great that I doubted even God could put me back together. My soul had been torn into a thousand tiny fragments and in my mind was beyond repair. I felt dejected, unwanted, and unloveable. But the story does not stop there! Praise God. This trip has been challenging my beliefs and my doubts. For too long I have put my God in a box. But who am I to place the creator in such a small box, who am I to conceptualize my God in a way that I can understand him. The answer is I am finite and God is infinite. I am confined by time and cannot even imagine a world without the restraint of time. But God is outside of it all. He is outside of time. He is bigger than I could ever think or ponder upon. And he chose me to be his beautiful, wonderful, beloved child. So my challenge for us is to always be vigilant. Keep your hearts open so that The Lord may work through you to perfect his plan for your life. Remember life is not always easy, most of the time it is down right hard but if God is for us then who could possibly be against us? Besides victory is already ours. The war has been won but we still must face the battles. Love takes the ultimate victory. You and I are the children of the utmost high King. Let his love flow through us like a rushing river of joy.” – Holly Jean
SLIDESHOWS FROM THIS TRIP