Sunday, May 31, 2009

What's a lychee?

This very beautiful, old tree is in the front yard of the house we rent. For a month we have been watching fruit form. This past week it became a very popular place for school children, neighbors, our landlord and then those that appear after dark! I was sitting at my desk one evening and heard some very familiar sounds, I flipped on the outside lights and grabbed a flashlight to "spot" the tree! Sure enough there were some lychee hunters!

Today Paul and Dulcie brought some of the New Vision Children as well as 2 of their girls and you will see in the photo some very happy children! They were eating as they were picking! What a precious sight!

I took a bag of lychee to my friend in Mandeville and she held the bag to her chest as though I had given her pure gold! She said, "Do you know how much lychee cost?" She continued to say, "400 Jamaican dollars a pound." That is costly. Of course most things are expensive in Jamaica, but this little fruit is a prize!

So there you have it, we have added another cultural experience to our lives! By the way green = sour, red = sweet! Oh it is tasty. I told the children today to save some seeds and start a tree there at New Vision Children's Home, they said, "But Miss Debby, we won't be here to enjoy it. It takes to long to get a nice tree like this." My response....."but what a legacy you would leave! Children many years down the road would really appreciate your effort!"

Along with the lychee, we have a couple lime bushes, 2 avocado trees, a sour orange tree just for making juice, a fig tree, lots of cho cho, a beautiful tangerine tree right here in the yard! Behind the house in the garden are banana trees, yam and sugar cane! Aren't we blessed!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"A Happening!"

Ryan was not scheduled to come to Jamaica this week, but through some very difficult moments and growing pains on his part, daddy used air miles to get him here for an emotional boost. When he arrived, he was absolutely exhausted. His tank was running on empty in every way! He is drained physically, mentally and emotionally. Our mission this week is to build him up in every way, hands on instead of long distance. I am so grateful he has a break in between tours for us to do this.

When Ry was here at Christmas time, Renee's violin teacher was on Christmas break so he was unable to meet Miss Moyah. What a lady, what a teacher! So on Thursday, he joined us for Renee's lesson. Ryan serenaded Miss Moyah with "Adoration" and then she suggested that the 3 of them play "Canon in D". This is what my friend, Lu, would call "a happening!" When words cannot describe the event, Lu would walk away and say, "Debby,that was a happening!" Oh I wish my friend Lu could have been in Jamaica Thursday night, I know just what her facial expression would have looked like as she said those words!

What a joy it has been to have Ry with us for 10 days. never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine parenting to be so momentous and yet so stressful. Numerous times this year, Denny has said, "Do you think our parents experienced these same emotions!" My question is, "And if they did, why didn't I notice!!!"

Growing up indeed is hard to do. I remind myself that I have done everything in my power to give him wings. And now that he is learning to fly solo, we too are learning to fly with him! We have never had a college student before! I sure hope it gets easier with Renee!

We have had many "happenings" this academic year with both Ryan and Renee.How proud we are of them. God's gifts to us, that's what they are!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

AGBC 2009 Commencement

We celebrated today with 40 Bible College graduates here in Jamaica. It was indeed an exciting day! It is very hard to beleive that we have finished our first academic year at the college. It seems like we just arrived yesterday....well no not yesterday, maybe last week!

17 of the students were resident students. 7 were Carribean School of Theology students and 16 were extension students. We had direct contact with the 17 resident students. They were our teachers as we endeavor to learn the Jamaican way of doing things and we were their teachers in the classroom. Precious students....may they do well as they enter their place of ministry.

In the beginning of May we started seeing rain daily. One of our rooms in the house was flooded this past Tuesday, what a mess. All of a sudden, overnight, the rainy season began! Wouldn't you know it minutes before the graduation was to begin, the downpour arrived in Christiana. In the meantime, I was running frantically looking for bobbypins to hold down my mortar board! No success, so 10 minutes till one I was running downtown to a little store, hoping they would have them!

The processional began to Chariots of Fire! Awesome! The program was going along fine when it was the Kingston Extension students turn to give their item (special). The first note sounded and I gasped! Uh-Oh! It was the same song that I had practiced with the resident choir.

Let's just say we took that Uh-Oh and saw God use it to confirm His message for the day!

Give myself away so He can use me

Here I am, Here I stand

Lord my life is in your hands

Lord I long to see your desire within me

All my dreams, All my plans

Lord I place them in your hands

So I give myself away

So you can use me!

This is a commitment that even the audience can make along with the graduates as well as the lecturers. It was a powerful ceremony and to think that it is over makes me a little sad! Saying goodbye to students that we have grown accostumed to over the months brings transition and change. Not always a pleasant feeling.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Your gifts make way for you!

When we chose to come to Jamaica and teach in the Bible College our greatest concern was of course, our 2 wonderful children. Leaving Ry in the states was tough and wondering how Renee would fare in a new country was tough. Now that we have been here a few months, we just have to give praise to God. Renee and Ryan have had so many wonderful opportunities. Their gifts really have made a way for them.
Renee has played her violin in many special venues that we could have never dreamed of. At the beginning of the year she was chosen for a special art class as the teacher saw some untapped potential in her. Just recently that teacher who is an artist opened an exhibit and asked Renee to play for the opening program. The photos above show her playing and a picture with a friend from school that attended the exhibit.
Although Jamaica is an English speaking nation the heart language is Patois. I still have to ask people to repeat themselves! Renee has grasped the language quickly and it shows as she has been on the honor roll and high honor roll for both terms so far. Her teachers are very proud of her.
In the winter months, she auditioned by request of her violin teacher for the Jamaica Youth National Symphony and made it. Just yesterday she and 3 girls from her class represented their school in a French competition in Kingston. Renee and Ryan both have such full schedules, I sometimes don't know how to keep it all straight!
I do know that when you consecrate your babies to Jesus He makes a way for them. He gifts them, He anoints them, He protects them and for me this is a great Mother's Day weekend because they both have chosen Jesus. For both of my babies this school year has been one of great transition, ups and downs, successes and failures, homesickness and contentment, but through it all we are learning to trust in Jesus and we are learning to trust in His word that never changes.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Travel Advisory!

We spent a couple of hours at the airport today. Being the people-watcher that I am, it is always a fun couple of hours for me to wait outside the customs door for arriving guests. Den and Renee find a stoop and read their book! These guys never go anywhere without their best friend...a book! Not me, how can you stick your nose in a book when there are people to watch!

4 planes landed at the same time this afternoon so you can imagine how many hundreds of people came through those doors. Interestingly, I saw only one with a mask to guard against the swine flu. I saw hundreds though, that came through dressed for the beach.

Go figure, what has happened to traveling with style? I am bewildered. There is no way you can go from traveling all day directly to the beach. There are alot of stops in between! What about the immigration/custom window? What about the transportation from the airport? What about checking into your room? What about traveling with others in mind? The tourists I saw today had one thing in mind, Jamaica=Beach!

How can you leave the cold winds of Chicago with such little clothing on? Tourists with alot of money but not much sense. I do think they forgot to look in the mirror at 6:00 this morning when they started their vacation!

I am happy to report that Jamaica is more than tourists at a beach and that is why we were at the airport. A friend who is a CBC (Deaf Ministries) student is visiting Jamaica for a month of missions experience. As Sara is with us, she will indeed get an overview of what being a missionary in Jamaica is like! College life, classes and graduation, children's homes, a chuch plant with no building yet 100 children gathered for Sunday School in a field, Sunday ministry in churches, visiting a deaf ministry that has a factory, apartments and a deaf church, and some God appointments that we don't even know as of yet!

It will be a very exciting month and who knows we may even get Sara to the beach, but I know we will be prepared for all the stops in between! God has a plan this month and it will be fun, a lot of ministry fun!