A changed life.
A church attendance problem.
A video projector.
A VBS leader.
A vacation in Fort Lauderdale.
After visiting and attending multiple churches on Sunday in Jamaica, there was one constant – few if any males between age 12 and 70. The churches are dominated by females.
How could we reach the men of Jamaica? Where could you find men? They are usually hanging around bars, playing cards, playing dominoes and smoking ganga (local term for marijuana).
Should we try to get them to church or bring church to them? We chose the latter. In 2008, we purchased a video projector, an outdoor portable movie screen and decide to take Christian movies to the streets – specifically targeting bars and gambling establishments. Did it work?
Well, we noticed that if the “Jesus Film” was showing, people watched, they stopped gambling and they get quiet. Sometimes, we would have over 150 people stand outside and watch a movie. Many if not most were men. Did it work? That was a question we would ask ourselves many times.
Move forward to the summer of 2015. Amy Luther and her family travel to Jamaica on one of our mission trips. Amy, two of her children and a couple of other missioners conduct Vacation Bible Schools in 5 locations – four of them in very remote rural locations – like Old Pera, Barking Lodge, Airy Castle, and Johnson Mountain. These were hugely successful!
Now to November 2015. Amy, her husband, Mark and her parents go to Fort Lauderdale Florida for a vacation at a resort. Her story:
“All of the staff at the resort had name tags with their first name and where they were originally from. At check out, a young man had Jamaica on his name tag. His name was Desmond. I asked him where he was from. He said “eastern, Jamaica”. I said, “wow. I recently went there on a mission trip”. He said “great, but you would never know this place. It is in the middle of no-where”. He finally said the nearest community was called “Barking Lodge”. I told him I actually conducted a vacation bible school at a church in Barking Lodge. I then asked him how he got to the US? He said about 6 years ago he was near Port Morant and there was a group playing Christian movies in the streets. He got to talking to “an outspoken elderly white haired man” who told him he had options and choices he could make with his life. His mother was a prostitute and he was dealing in some drugs at the time. He said about a week later, he decided to travel to Kingston and stay with and uncle and get a job and try to go to school. He did and went to a hospitality school and two years ago came to the US to take this job. He is 20 years old. At the end of our conversation, he said he forgot to ask me what group I had traveled with to Jamaica. As I begin to say “Isaiah 6:8”, he says “that old man was with Isaiah 6:8”. He came around the counter and hugged me and said “thank you for going and thank God for that old white-haired man for sending me to Kingston”. He said that verse stuck in his head and is why he moved to Kingston.”
God demands that we sow the seed. He causes it to grow and the harvest is His, but it is nice to know that some seed bore fruit!
Update – last week, we spent two days while in Jamaica getting the street movies back into operation.
For over 18 years, we have been providing Christmas for the poor and forgotten in Southeastern Jamaica. This year is no different. This year, we are targeting 3 major groups and one small group:
1st group - Again, the indigent nursing home, known as The Infirmary will be our largest and most expensive group. There are 77 residents. Cost $25 each. These people get gift bags. A typical bag for women includes: house dresses, regular dresses, slippers, lotion, Vaseline, combs, perfume, soap dishes, snack cookies, wash cloths, and adult diapers. For men, it is similar but they get shorts, shirts, and underwear as their clothing items.
2nd group - The elderly and home bound sick - – Usually about 25 of these people. Cost $30 each. In the past, they got a box of food that contained: 2lb. rice, 2lb. flour, 2lb. sugar, 2lb. cornmeal, sardines, canned mackerel, powdered milk, noodles, tea, saltfish, 2 bags of crackers, vegetable oil, roll of toilet paper, bath soap, laundry detergent, matches, and salt. For many, this food will last over a month.
3rd group - Special Needs School – 60 students to be served. Cost - $10 each. They would get a coloring book, crayons, a small toy and served ice cream and cake. Most of these children are not only somewhat neglected by the government, but are also neglected at home. The presents they receive as a result of this giving will probably be the only one they get.
Lastly - Stokes Hall children – Hortense, the children minister and preschool teacher hosts 40 children. For $10 each, she has a Christmas party serving sandwiches, drinks, and ice cream. Each child receives coloring books, crayons, and a small toy. Stokes Hall is a very poor community. For most, this will be their only gift.
Please consider helping us with this project. You may donate via PayPal or send us a check.
Thank you for your Consideration!
We are beginning to make plans for 2016 Trips. So, if you are interested in traveling to Jamaica to help us, please read on, watch the News Blog on this website accessible here, and following our Twitter account and FaceBook page.
Here are our planned trips (all are tentative):
February 13-20, 2016 Mission to Jamaica
The plans - to be an organizational, planning, and development trip. We plan to visit all our ministry areas - to include Basic Schools (preschools), Churches, Special Needs School, the indigent nursing home, and a few families and special children we help.
Team members needed:
March 26 - April 2, 2016 Mission to Jamaica
This trip is very tentative at this time. This is the Spring Break week for most public schools in the Birmingham, AL area. This is the peak time for travel to Jamaica. The airlines are usually crowded, tickets are hard to obtain, they are more expensive and the hotel availability is a problem. We are working on this and will update when we can be assured of hotel availability.
July 9-16, 2016 Mission to Jamaica
Schools in Jamaica do not dismiss for the summer until the first few days of July. So, we cannot do Vacation Bible Schools easily until this all ends.
Please email us if you have specific questions!
Here am I, Send Me!
July 2015 Trip Highlights
The Isaiahsixeight team which traveled to southeastern Jamaica in July returned with many new friends and too many stories to recount. The group tackled various projects to include renovations to the basic school, bathrooms, and bus stop in Johnson Mountain to Vacation Bible Schools in Old Pera, Port Morant, and Barking Lodge. A total of five VBS sessions were conducted over the course of four days for over 200 Jamaican adults and children! The group was also able to visit the Infirmary in Port Morant and spend time with the residents there as well as attending the local church service for Pastor Courtney Spence in Rowlandsfield. We've included just a few photos to highlight what God accomplished through the team in 2015. You can view more photos on the new IS68 Facebook group page: www.facebook.com/IsaiahsixeightJamaica. Also see the new IS68 webpage: http://www.is68jamaica.org/
One of the residents of the Infirmary in Port Morant who greeted us with a smile and followed our group as we made rounds and met with many of the residents there.
A resident of the Infirmary in Port Morant, Nathan Frazier received a gift from IS68. He could be heard playing his new harmonica in the halls and singing during our visit there. Terry Fry, Mark Luther, Amy Luther, and Wes Savage are also pictured.
Mrs. Audrey hosted the team for dinner at her home one night during the week. Tamaula is pictured along with Thomas, Claire, Hannah, and Michael.
Vacation Bible School at Port Morant Methodist. With one of the biggest crowds, there were well over 50 children and adults in attendance. Many of them remembered one or more of the songs from last year! Hannah Luther is pictured with several children.
Just a couple of the unforgettable kids we met during VBS. They loved to color and participate during arts and crafts time! This photo was taken at Old Pera.
The work crew helped renovate the basic school in Johnson Mountain. With the help of several IS68 Jamaica friends, the project was completed ahead of schedule. Mark Luther and Alan Christian are pictured along with Jamaican friends, Keith Rhoden and Michael Brown.
This is the bus stop at Johnson Mountain during the reconstruction process. Alan Christian, Ewuan Brown, and Keith Rhoden are in the photo.
The team visited the community of Seaside one afternoon. These are a few of the children which attended the VBS in Port Morant along with Amy Luther, the VBS leader for the week.
We are excited to announce you can now 'Like' us on Facebook or 'Follow' us on Twitter!
Isaiahsixeight also has a new website. View it at: http://www.is68jamaica.org/.
Will you consider joining us in 2016? We ask you to prayerfully consider supporting IS68 with your prayers, taking a trip with a team in 2016, or a financial gift to help fund one of the many important ministries highlighted below:
- Feeding program at local basic schools
- Child sponsorship program providing food and clothing
- 2015 Christmas program serving 250+ children and elderly adults
-Supplies for needed renovations to local churches and schools
Please support us as you shop on Amazon. It is easy and costs you nothing, but greatly benefits Isaiahsixeight and it programs. Go here for more details: http://www.is68jamaica.org/amazon-smile.html
Contact Donnie Cantley for more info at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been praying a long time that God would send more and younger laborers to help us with this mission. This summer, Pastor Wes Savage, led a team down with us. Even before Wes got back home from the trip, he had already created us a FaceBook page. Soon thereafter, he created us a Twitter presence as well.
That motivated me to revamp our web page. God had revamped our mission over the years and I think it is much more meaningful and relational; however, with that comes a continual drain of our resources unlike our prior pattern of periodic projects.
Amy Luther also went on that trip and was amazing in her organization and how she was not only prepared for the intense week she was there, but left the different communities with resources so they could do their on VBS's in the future. Also, Wes again came through in making a connection with Amy to help us with our Christmas giving campaign.
My prayers now are for child education leaders to travel with us to assess the needs in the Basic Schools, the churches, and the Special Needs School and help us address those needs.
Please pray that we follow God's path for this mission!
Donnie Cantley. By the Grace of God, I have been allowed to lead this mission since 1996.