Wednesday was our first day at the Nest and WOW, how the kids had grown! This was my fourth time at the Nest and it was so awesome to see the children who were just babies the first time I went, who were now toddlers who could talk. I loved seeing the groups reaction as they got off the bus and immediately had 5 kids wanting to be held and loved on. It really touched my heart. Soon after we arrived at the Nest, which is settled perfectly on the tip-top of a gorgeous green mountain, we all got together as Joel (the director of RB) welcomed us. What happened next was probably one of my highlights of the week. One of the men in our group, Clark Rose, suggested we gather around Joel and pour our prayers and love into him. Now if you don't know Joel, he is the most humble, hard-working, man of God I know. Here is a picture of our team praying for Joel.
|the team praying for Joel|
On a side note, coming to Jamaica I knew our team was going to see and deal with some tough stuff. Before our team came to Jamaica we were informed that a couple of the kids at the Nest weren't doing so well physically. Their names are Quest and Jhanelle. Quest has stage 4 lymphoma. The first day I met Quest back in 2009 I knew there was something special about him, other than his awesome dance moves. Here is a picture of Quest when he was healthy. Quest is a gift from God. Before we got to the Nest, Quest had to go the hospital. Some of
|Quest and me at the beach.|
Also, during our time at the Nest we got to meet the beautiful Jhanelle. Her condition broke my heart. I think she has muscular dystrophy. While we were there we got to sing to her, read her the bible, tell her stories, and even pray for her. I swear she smiled a few times, and I know for sure she enjoyed our company. Jhanelle is 15 years old and could really use your prayers.
|Precious Princess of God|
The next day, Thursday, July 15 we kicked off our Vacation Bible School (VBS)! We had every single one of the children from the nest involved (ages 1-15). It was INSANE! However, we managed by the grace of God and there were moments where we had a ton of fun and were able to share the love of Christ with the kids. We sang songs, painted banners, listened to Jon's teaching, and played baseball. The kids loved the songs we chose and were singing them throughout the week. After VBS some of us went swimming with the kids! It was so much fun. It was a great way for the Robin's Nest kids to take a bath for the week! I spent an hour in the pool holding my arms out for the little kids to jump into. It was tiring but a blast!
Later on in the day some of the team took the Nest kids down the road to one of the schools in the community. We thought we would try to include some of the kids from the community in our fun. We soon found out that once you leave Robin's Nest property you leave "Holy Ground". A couple people on our team experienced a sense of darkness once they left RN. Later that night during devotion time, someone described the Nest as "a beacon of light on the hill, surrounded by darkness trying to creep up and shut out the light." Pray that this doesn't happen, please!
July 16th, Friday In the morning as we drove up the mountain we worshiped and at first were singing "Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord", but someone suggested we sing "Open the Eye ofTheir Hearts Lord." When we sang this, we were inferring to a few of the older boys at the Nest. At the beginning of the week their hearts seemed to be so hard towards us. But, as we prayed for them throughout the week the Lord really softened their hearts and we even got a few hugs and smiles out of them.
|Ian rockin' his new shirt.|
I heard that the craft went awesome and that many of the kids were showing off the journals they had made all day! I also, got to hear about how the skit went. I had taught the middle schoolers on our team a skit that I performed in Brazil. So, when I got sick they insisted on doing it still. It made my day to know that they were performing it for the kids at the Nest, bad timing and all!
That night we also got to celebrate someone's special birthday...Holly Roberts!
|Holly and her birthday present from the tea|
July 18th-Sunday. That morning we attended Jamaican church. What an experience! We enjoyed learning some new songs, one we couldn't get out of our heads the rest of the trip. After church we drove to "Doctor's Cave", a private, gorgeous beach that the RN kids go to every Sunday. I have been there a few times with the kiddos and its an amazing time. This time we played on the water trampoline, built sandcastles, and swam. We used so much energy 2 of the boys fell asleep on the beach. Around 4 pm we had to say bye to the kids. It went very fast and wasn't too hard for me because I know I will see them again. Afterwards our whole team walked down to Margaritaville for a delicious dinner! A lot of the kids on the team went down the insane water slide. We got some awesome videos of them flying through the air screaming. After dinner, we drove home and crashed.
|Dunn's River Falls|
I forgot to add one of my highlights. I don't know how I forgot about it. So before we left for Dunn's River we got a bite to eat at Burger King. Most of us had gotten our food and were sitting down to enjoy our "delicious" meal. I noticed Troy kept looking outside and he finally said "I think that boy outside is trying to tell me he is hungry." So without thinking I said "Well wave him in." So this is when we met Ramone! Right away Troy handed over his meal. Ramone's face lit up. He looked like he had been in a fight and hadn't had a decent meal in a while. So I sat and talked with Ramone a little while we ate and he told me his parents lived in Kingston, which is about 6 hours away from Montego Bay. He lives with his sister who he didn't say much about. He kept telling us that he needed a sponsor to help him buy school books. We felt kind of weird giving him money, but we did give him a salvation bracelet and a z-foundation bracelet. Something that really touched me was what my dad did. I couldn't find my dad anywhere and I had seen him leave the restaurant. A couple minutes later he came through the door with some sandals in his hand. Then I realized what he was doing. The sandals Ramone was wearing were broken and ripped. My sweet daddy had gone out of his way to buy a boy he didn't even know a new pair of sandals. Pray that Ramone finds a sponsor for his school books.