A few months ago, I was able to take a week out of my busy schedule to spend some time serving on the mission field. What an amazing time it was. Let me take you on this little journey with me so that you can get a picture of what I experienced.
I, along with our leader and two other colleagues, arrived in Kingston, Jamaica on October 7, 2012. Our purpose on this trip was to serve the disabled, handicapped, and AIDS patients. Our first day was spent at a place for children called Bethlehems Place. I cannot begin to tell you what we were up against. We were able to feed the children and babies, give them baths, and clothe them. Of course, we hug and comfort those that were constantly crying. The human touch does wonders, and it breaks your heart not to be able to be there for them at all times. It was so touching to see the blind babies sitting in their cribs dancing to the music being played for them. I looked at them and thought about Jesus and his love for the little ones. It is so hard to put into words; but the time spent with them humbled me and made me give thanks and praise even more.
Day two brought us to the Lords Place. Here we met with young girls, older women, and more AIDS patients. Here again, we swept rooms, mopped floors, made beds, fellowshipped and prayed, clipped nails, and hugged over and over again. They were so happy to see us. It melted our hearts to see the expressions on their faces and to actually hear them express how grateful they were to see us.
Day three was spent at a place called Jacobs Well (which contained exclusively women and young girls). Wow! We fed them, washed hair (then combed and braided it), and shared fellowship and prayer. We also washed their beds, and it was a wonderful time of working and singing praise and worship songs under the hot sun. It was so easy to take the focus off of myself and to think about why we were there. We thought about them every day, living the way they did; again, we gave thanks to God!
Day four took us to Faith Place (which housed men of all ages). Oh boy! We washed their faces and hands, applying lotion to the hands, feet, and faces of those who wanted it. We also helped to share the food and feed those that were not able to do so themselves. Nails were clipped and, of course. The prayers went up for those in need. It was important for them to know that we cared about them, and that they were not forgotten. Some were just people who went to have some procedure at the hospital and ended up in this place because they had nowhere else to go. Basically, when society refused them, or for those who were not able to take care of a handicapped person, the Missionaries of the Poor organization they were called — took them in. These are catholic missionaries from all over the world who take care of these people daily; everything is done by these young men. I have so much respect for them and the work they do. I spoke to brothers from places such as Pakistan, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India, just to name a few.
Our fifth day took us to a home for boys called Mt. Tabor. This was such a beautiful place high in the hills. There were 39 boys in this facility, and only four were actually able to feed themselves. It was such a joy to assist in lotioning and dressing them after their bath. We went on to feed them again and again; the process just repeats itself. Once they mess themselves, they are taken care of. I must say, it was a pleasure to step in and give the bothers a break! We clipped nails again and just showed them love.
This was quite an experience that really stayed with me, and I hope will continue to linger for quite some time. I have made a decision to keep offering my help whenever the need arises and as long as the trip is available. I only have to think about the Father saying whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me. I know that, when I walked up to one of the men to wipe his face, I had to pretend I was wiping the Lords face. Wow!