It’s the proverbial question that everyone feels like they are required to ask: “What are your expectations and fears?” Honestly, I have no idea and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Today I used my U.S. passport for the first time. I’ll admit, I’m a newbie at this whole mission trip thing; let alone traveling outside the U.S. So let’s start from scratch. Forget to ask me what my fears are on this trip. Forget to ask me what my expectations are. Just listen.
Jamaica honestly doesn’t feel much different than America. Sitting here on a roof looking out on the Bay, I might as well be looking out over any city. A cool breeze helps relieve me from the humidity; humidity that might as well be the humidity of a Virginia summer. The people are the same too. There’s students and taxi drivers and little old grandmas and tourists and babies.
And then I stop and look around under the surface and you can see the difference. Next to the resorts, the fancy hotels and the private mansions, little shacks huddle together, painted brightly and sagging a bit. Next to the tourist with his beautiful wife and his son whose future is so bright stands a young man selling week old donuts, attempting to make at least a little bit of income today. But that too is no different than the poverty in America.
Today, I wasn’t slapped in the face with poverty. Today, I didn’t see people in desperate need. But wait. I did. I saw it in the slouch of a young man sitting by the road attempting to sell lukewarm soda. And I saw it in the eyes of the tourist and his beautiful wife and maybe even his son. The point is, we are all desperately poor. I’m as poor as the Jamaican who can make ends meet and the tourist is as poor as I am. Because we all have this desperate need for God in our lives.
Being here in Jamaica, I don’t want to expect everything to be terribly different. Honestly, I don’t want to expect anything. I want to embrace it as it comes. The culture, the people, the food, the brokenness and the potential; all at once.
I don’t know what to expect this week. And that’s okay. Because even if Jamaica has little pieces of America in it and I’m struggling to feel needed here, God has an incredible plan for this week and I want to embrace it completely. I can’t see the broken spirit in these people and I definitely can’t fix them. But when I leave I hope Jamaica will be a little bit better because of our efforts.
– Melissa for the DMC Youth Group
Here’s a time lapse video from our take-off from Miami: