TELOS Tells All: Jarrod’s Jamaican Journey
In the latest TELOS Tells All post, Jarrod shares his experiences in a life changing mission trip to Jamaica. Within the same month, Jarrod is the second TELOS employee to travel on a mission! In case you missed Lindsay’s article about her trip to Ethiopia, READ HER ARTICLE HERE.
I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to travel abroad on a mission trip with Chase Oaks Church! Our group of 15 traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica to serve God by helping at the Jamaica School for the Deaf and at Blossom Gardens Orphanage. As much as I expected to be fulfilled spiritually and emotionally before I left, I would have never expected this trip to have as grand of an impact as it did! Our friendships began to grow before we even stepped foot on the plane, and they continued to grow every step of the way.
The first three days of the week were spent at the Jamaica School for the Deaf. To say we had some work to do would be quite the understatement! We were instructed to help mix and pour concrete for a staircase that the school needed for the new classrooms they were building. It was very intense work by itself, but the temperature and humidity added another factor to the difficulty that we faced on this task. But the effort put forth by the amazing people in the group was driven by the power of God and everyone really stepped up to the challenge!
As gratifying as completing that task would prove to be, our true purpose for being there was the kids. The second our bus arrived on the 11 acre land for JCSD, we saw the smiling faces of some of the most beautiful children I have ever seen! It really humbles you when you know witness children who live in an entirely different world (no sound and poverty stricken) that just want to emotionally attach themselves to you while you are there. We set up Vacation Bible School for the kids, had an arts and crafts day, had a parachute, and on the last day we were treated to an incredible dance performance with no electricity! I thank God for showing me that life can be appreciated with the smallest of offerings!
I would have to say that the fourth day we were there, Blossom Gardens Orphanage, was probably the most emotionally taxing day of the trip. It’s a difficult subject when you are dealing with kids who are from broken families, abandon from birth, or taken from their parents for protection. I did meet a precious little girl named Kimberly who stole my heart for a couple of hours as we played airplane, hung out on the swingset, and we were entertained by the smallest sounds and faces! I don’t think I’ve encountered someone who laughed so much at the most minuscule attempts, but I felt a joy from her that I have never experienced before and I will cherish that for the rest of my life.
Although the emotions were exhausted for our group after the orphanage, God showed his compassion for our efforts and awarded us with a steel drum band back at the hotel that night. They played Adele and Michael Jackson covers, as well as their own material while we danced, sang and had an absolute blast. To top it off, our leader Terry and myself decided that we would send our buddies Carson (7) and Bryce (10) into the pool, which caused a slew of 20+ people to take the plunge as well.
It was truly an honor to meet the staff at the hotel, the bus drivers, the staff at the school and orphanage, all of the kiddos at each site, and the incredible individuals in our group. I couldn’t have asked for a better first mission trip and I can’t wait to visit my Jamaican family again in October!