On July 9th, a mission team from FBC was sent to Jamaica to minister to the people. The trip lasted until July 16th, and the following letter describes much of what the team did during their time in Jamaica. The letter was sent to American Baptist Churches USA as thanks for their assistance with funding the mission trip.
Thank you so much for your generous donation through the Matthew 25 Grant. In July of this year, the mission team of First Baptist Church, Murphysboro Illinois, traveled to St. Mary's Parrish, Jamaica. We were fortunate to partner with Brother Bob Weston and Pastor Raphael Thomas in sharing God's word and His love with local residents. This was our first mission trip outside of the U.S. that involved both college and high school students. Our team consisted of 4 adults, 4 college students, and 7 high school students. We spent the year before the trip preparing through prayer and devotion, and meeting to prepare our testimonies, music ministry, and VBS ministry.
During our first full day in Jamaica, our team attended services in 2 churches and took part in the services by sharing our testimonies, worshiping through music and bringing God's word. We were touched by the enthusiasm of the worship services, the boldness in how people spoke of God's working in their lives and the warm welcome that we received. What a blessing to start our week worshiping with our ministry partners and learning about their culture.
The funds from the Matthew 25 grant were distributed in the following ways. We spent one day with Brother Bob Weston and his ministry team in Port Maria, St Mary's Parrish, Jamaica. Every week his team, led in the kitchen by Sister Joy and Sister Cecile, feed at least 50 individuals who suffer from health and physical infirmities and are not able to provide for themselves. The government in Jamaica does not have a 'meals on wheels' program so ministries like Brother Weston's are of vital importance. The ladies were so excited to have our assistance, even though we were more in their way than anything in Brother Bob's small, extremely hot kitchen where the food is prepared! After the food was cooked and packaged, the meals were delivered to those in need and the team ministered to spiritual needs while meeting physical ones.
We were also privileged to provide the very first VBS program to the children of Central Gospel Chapel in the community of Aleppo, St. Mary's Parrish, Jamaica. This very small church is in a rural community and operates with minimal supplies or equipment. The Sunday School attendance was 5-7 children weekly and the Sunday School director, Sister Pat, was very excited to reach out to the surrounding areas through a VBS program. The grant funds were used to provide food and drinks during VBS to the children and families in attendance. We have since learned that Sunday School attendance has almost tripled and some of the children are bringing their families with them to church.
Our team learned so much over the last year and during this trip. We had to place our trust in the Lord that He would lead us to raise the necessary funds, work out the lodging and logistics, communicate with ministry partners living in another country, understand a completely different culture, be able to share the good news of salvation and God's love effectively and boldly, and return home safely. Every step of the way God not only met our needs but exceeded our expectations! It's hard to put into words the bonds that were formed and the love we have for our new friends in Jamaica. We can't wait to see what God has in store for our team in the future.
Again, thank you so much for your support. The grant funds were used to make a difference in the lives of the people in St. Mary's Parrish, Jamaica but most importantly the funds were given in the name of Jesus for the glory of God!