Jesus said: "Therefore, Go . . " but He did not mean only to the good places.
The Bible is replete with stories that demonstrate the example of ministry
and selflessness given by Jesus while He was on earth. On numerous
occasions, Jesus was seen healing the lepers, communing with tax
collectors and prostitutes, and serving mankind in everyway, while others
simply took notice and questioned or ridiculed these acts. Today, it is easy for
us to become active in community service, but we must never loose sight of
the true origin of this ministry.
On November 5 – 12, 2006, Miami Union Academy made history by
traveling to one of the worse neighborhoods in the city of Kingston, on
the beautiful island of Jamaica. The Mission trip destination was Trench
Town. As the news of this impending trip was shared with the Constituency
and community, little encouragement or support for the chosen location
could be found. Many felt that this site was inappropriate for our youth, and
several parents withdrew their children from the list of participants because
of fear and dread for this neighborhood.
Eventually, a total of twenty-two individuals accepted the call and braved
the trip: fifteen students, four staff members and three community friends
raised the required funds for the flight, room and board, local transportation,
meals and supplies, and boarded the flight to Jamaica. Faith, determination
and dependency on a High Power allowed this team to fulfill this commission.
During the weeklong visit, a lot of hard work took place. Each member of
the team traveled to Jamaica with his or her own paint rod, brush and pan.
The main task for this trip was to paint the entire outside structure of both
the Trench Town SDA church and school. Starting at 8 AM in the morning,
and working in the noonday sun until evening, our students completed their
task in a professional manner and without complaint.
Additionally, clothing was distributed to members of the community through
the church’s community service department, and twenty-five students from
the Trench Town School were "adopted". Each MUA student and staff claimed
one Jamaican student as their own, pledging to contribute to their Christian
education for the next year. Each MUA sponsor has an endearing picture of
themselves with "their child", who will receive the year’s tuition, which is the
equivalent of $100 US for the year.
Our God did not stay quiet; through His blessing and guidance, the students
had the opportunity to interact and make friends with the Trench Town
community, church members and Jamaican students. The students actively
witnessed tothe educational goals of our school and to the mission of our church.
The MUA students were blessed to work and play hard, as they took some time
to enjoy Jamaica and its enchantment. The team had the opportunity to tour the
Capital, climb Dunn River Falls, and dine in Ocho Rios. Sabbath morning was
spent worshipping at the SDA University in Mandeville where they joined in the
celebration of 100 years of Adventism in Jamaica.
In closing, when Jesus said "Go", He meant for us to reach out to those whose
homes wretched, neglected and in intimidating neighborhoods. Those who
succeed the least need our support he most. God promised He would Go with
us. And He DID! To God Be The Glory!