MG Reach: Jamaica Missions Trip 2017

Maranatha members are hard at work on the mission field once again -- this time, in Buff Bay, Jamaica. Below is an update from our brother and deacon, Dr. Tom Yuen, and our sister Clara Pak, for Team Jamaica. Let's continue to pray for them over the next week as they serve in various ways -- providing medical care, lending a helping hand to the local church and brethren there, and faithfully preaching the Word. Please keep checking back on this post for more updates throughout the week. 

Saturday

Jamaica Team

Team Jamaica officially arrived at the GLOBE (Missions house) around 5:30 a.m. Saturday. It was a late-night flight, then getting through customs and a drive over the mountain to Buff Bay, Portland, Jamaica, but, as usual, God was faithful and kept us moving.  The customs process that took several hours last year was done in under 1 hour this year. The representative from the Ministry of Health came and met us at the airport at 2:30AM; what a blessing.

Weary-eyed but ready to serve this morning, we went and painted the inside and outside of Brother Wilton's house. Previous Jamaica attendees will remember him.  He's a disabled brother that the Jamaica team has helped out every year with different projects.  One downside is that the oil-based paint was used and we all remember what a nightmare that was for MGC last year while the Postal department decided to paint with oil paint.  So Wilton will be staying with us in the GLOBE. He’s my new roomie. Tomorrow (Sunday) we will be spread out over 6 churches. Pastor Jon will be preaching here in Buff Bay (please pray for his message). We saw Pastor Vernon Allen tonight, and he has lost a bit of weight but is in good spirits.  He'll be seeing a doctor on Monday and is planning to come to the NY area in March. He will possibly get a repeat of his failed triple coronary bypass surgery.  Please keep his health and his health bills in prayer.  By the blessings of God through His people, these bills have been covered up to now, but a repeat surgery will run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

As you can see, Clara Pak has jumped right in winning the prestigious Woody Award (it's actually the Junior Woody). This award is given to the Best Christian of the day—very impressive on the tail of her news of being admitted into a Post-Baccalaureate program.  Please keep us in your prayers as the real work starts on Monday, although we'll be praying for you all in the freezing weather.  It's a nice, balmy 80 degrees here.  Blessings to you all. 

- Tom Yuen

Sunday

Today was our first full day in Buff Bay! Woke up to cool rain and an eager expectation of God to use us for His eternal purposes and Kingdom. In the morning, the team split up into five smaller teams and joined the local saints for corporate worship at the surrounding village churches. My team went to Tranquility, a small church of about 20 people and owner of the prettiest backyard, and I got to share my testimony of God's grace and mercy in calling, loving, and keeping me in Christ Jesus. Buff Bay Baptist, the home base, welcomed back their very own Pastor Jon, who preached a powerful and encouraging sermon to the beloved saints. It has been beautiful and heartwarming to see the local people remembering and welcoming our pastor so well.

Before I write any further, I must include this: Today's lunch, which included mac and cheese and braised beef, was delicious. Yula and Millie, the GLOBE kitchen mamas, feed us so well. We are spoiled!

This evening we held the first of our nightly meetings in the respective various ministries across Buff Bay. I am participating in the ladies' discipleship meetings and we are reading and leading through MacArthur's "Twelve Extraordinary Women." Tonight we spent time with Eve, the "mother of all living things." It was encouraging to learn from God's Word about the divinely-designed role of women and discuss Eve's role in creation, temptation, humiliation, and expectation for things to be made right again, which ultimately finds its fulfillment in the second and perfect Adam, Jesus Christ. 

Per tradition, we ended the night with a jerk chicken run. The meat tasted even sweeter after a day of Christ-centered worship and fellowship. Now we are off to bed, content and dreaming of what God has in store for all of us tomorrow.

- Clara Pak

Tuesday

Tuesday (2/21/17) started with some rain that cleared up to a nice sunny afternoon. This morning the team split to do morning devotionals at 2 different schools. As Clara read the text, it was encouraging to see the kids scurrying to get their Bibles to read along.

Children read along as Clara reads from the Bible. 

Children read along as Clara reads from the Bible. 

After that, we did a medical clinic at the local seniors center. It was a blessed time--while the medical personnel were seeing people, the others were singing, preaching and doing crafts with the seniors. Oh, and Pastor Jon was getting schooled in dominoes.

Pastor Jon gets "schooled" in a game of dominoes.

Pastor Jon gets "schooled" in a game of dominoes.

The sweetest parts of today were meeting an elderly, 94 year-old sister who had no medical problems but she thanked God for her good health. We also met another brother named George who had been through some life struggles. George, at some point in his life, got deported from Florida. His wife divorced him and he has been living in Jamaica since. But when I prayed with him, he prayed for me, too, and asked God to bless me with long life and profusely thanked us for being here. He prayed with Clara and maybe a few others as well.

There was a good lunch break today, unlike yesterday when we were so busy seeing more than 160 patients. May all glory be to God, who gave us the opportunity to serve and for sustaining us through the day. This afternoon, Dr. Lee (the other doctor from North Shore) and I did a medical clinic in Orange Bay while the rest of the team did a VBS again. Overall, it has been a blessing again this year, seeing some familiar faces and the warm greetings from people.  

Some fun thoughts: 
"1 Stop:” You need to ask what that means from a person that has been to Jamaica. I won't tell you; you'll have to ask someone. The food has been amazing again--had jerk chicken/pork twice so far and a beef patty this afternoon, and I can't wait to have more later this week. The other thing I've been glad about is that I haven't been eaten alive by mosquitoes like I was in Haiti. In Haiti, I had bites on my bites and it was terrible. Praise the Lord for this mercy. I am able to enjoy the trip better without the itching. Please keep praying for the people we have been caring for, some attend churches that we would consider cults, but believe they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. But we know they are not saved, for their faith is in their works and merit, not in the grace of Christ. May we be bold and able to engage them in conversation that may help them question their foundational truths. Looking forward to seeing you all in five days.


In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Tom

Thursday

Greetings from the Jam Rock,

The week has been flying by as we have been busy at work.  Each day begins early and ends late, but in between there is much for which we are praising God.  Here are some highlights:

Drs. Tom and Helen, along with their team (of which Clara is a part) have served the circuit of churches and the surrounding community very well.  In addition to meeting the immediate physical needs of the patience the clinics provide excellent opportunities to encourage and evangelize.  There is one more clinic in the Tranquility district (also where we are doing VBS) on Friday.  Please pray for endurance and to finish well on the last day.

Our nightly meetings have continued well.  Attendance for each night has been great.  In the Buff Bay discipleship meetings we are averaging around 20 men and 30 women many of which have not missed a night!  Our evangelistic meetings in Orange Bay have also gone very well with myself, and a pastor from South Carolina, Paul Moore, sharing the preaching duties.  Tuesday night was a particularly powerful night and we are trusting God to use the seeds that have been sown for His glory and the salvation of souls.

Tom at morning devotions at Tranquility school.

Tom at morning devotions at Tranquility school.

Yesterday we visited the Annotto Bay Hospital to share smallgift bags with the patients in general medical/surgical wards.  This is a major highlight of the trip!  Along with the gifts we shared gospel tracts, conversations, and prayed for the men and women.  One particularly encouraging conversations came when I was able to pray and share the gospel with a man suffering seizures caused by a brain tumor.  His name is Carlston.  Also, we were able to get our dear friend, Wilton, to the hospital for a very important referral and an appointment date to see a specialist, which is badly needed, in the very near future.  He was very grateful for this and we pray that he will be fully treated soon!

Tomorrow is the last day of ministry for our team before some needed R&R in Ocho Rios.  Please pray for us that we will finish well and the Lord will receive all the glory!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Jon