In February 2013, I (Marissa) took a leap of faith and signed up for my very first mission trip; this trip was to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I was scared, excited, and nervous. At the time, I was new to the church, new to the area, and I didn't know anyone I was going with. Over the next couple of months during our Mission Trip Meetings, I got to know my mission team and my leader, Terry Butler.
June 15, 2013 was the day we left the states and my first time away from my family. Nothing can describe the mix of emotions I was feeling, but the one thing I knew was that over the past few months and in that current moment, God was conducting the entire thing.
Over the week my life was changed. For the first few days we spent our time at the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf in Eden, Jamaica. Here they minister to children who otherwise would be cast out on the streets due to their disabilities. During our time, we helped to mix concrete to help build school rooms. We led vacation bible school, played with the kids outside and helped with food prep. On our last day we went to the Blossom Orphanage, a government funded orphanage, which is also supported by Mission Discovery teams.
Spending time at the Orphanage was by far the hardest thing I've ever experienced to this day. Children are able to stay here till they are 9-years-old, after that if not adopted, they end up out on the streets. Due to the lack of supplies, our team was able to go to the local market and buy different size diapers for the infants and toddlers that lived there.
By the end of the seven days in Jamaica, I knew this wouldn't be my last trip there, and in October 2013, due to generous donors, I was able to go back and serve, this time spending the week at the orphanage loving on the children. Over my time in Jamaica I laughed, I cried, I prayed, I made new friends, and honestly some days I was even broken by what I saw.
One question I even asked myself one night during our evening recap was, "I'm not sure what to do with my life, I know my heart breaks for these children, it makes me feel like I'm supposed to be a teacher or something." And now 5 years later after losing my job, I'm listening to God's calling and am going through the Alternative Certification Program to become a teacher.
Now, almost 5 years later, now married, my husband (Shane) and I want to go to Jamaica and serve together. This will be Shane's first mission trip and his first time out of the country. For those who know us, know that we have had a rough past 6-months due job loss and unemployment and are relying on pure donations for this mission trip. We prayed for the last few years for God to provide an opportunity for us to go serve together and currently due to our current situation, we feel this is the best time to go.
We know that we are both made for something bigger than ourselves and as a couple we want to share this experience together. When we got married, we made the commitment to put God first in our lives, and this is part of that.
We are extending an invitation to our friends, family's and even strangers to help make this possible. Any amount you donate will go to help us serve, pray for and love the children of Jamaica.
If you have any questions about donating, or about the trip, please let us know. You can reach out to us via email at: [email protected]
We will be going with the mission team from Chase Oaks Church and the trip is coordinated by Mission Discovery.
* Please know your donations will cover: Travel costs, sleeping arrangements and food.