Today, I’m excited to welcome the Sampson family, our special guest bloggers, who are going to share about their experiences so far. The Sampson family is: Dan and Jodi, the parents, Sydney (grade 9), Lily (grade 7) and Sam (grade 7). Thanks to the Sampsons for being willing to share!
Hey! I have spent two days at Westhaven. It’s a home for disabled children in Jamaica. Going into this, I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I was a little bit scared. I had no idea what these children were going to be like. Not always knowing what exactly is going on is very difficult for me. I like to be able to go into a new situation with as much information as possible, so this was definitely a way for me to get out of my comfort zone. At first, not knowing how to interact with the children was difficult, but then I realized that everyone there all wanted the same thing, to be shown love. The women who take care of the children at Westhaven all do a very good job. There just is not enough people to give the children the one on one attention that they need. So I feel like that’s what I have been trying to focus on so far. There are two small children Kymari and Ashante who cannot walk and have to lay in their cribs all day long. They are so adorable, but I feel so bad because both of them cannot just get up and walk around like most kids their age.
Both of them have troubles moving their heads, hands, and legs, so there is not very much they can do. I held both of them outside and tried to work with them, but since I will only be here for a few days I don’t feel like I can give them all of the attention they need. I wish there was more I could do to help. Despite the conditions these kids live in, they are still very happy, and that is pretty amazing. Just being able to work with these kids has already had a positive impact on my life, and I hope I’ve had one on theirs.
Hi, hello, today was my second (and the rest of my family’s) day at Westhaven. The first day was a little confusing. I didn’t know what to expect. It was awkward, and I didn’t know how I was supposed to act around the kids, but by the end of the day I got a pretty good hold of things. The second day, today I knew what I was doing. Who to bottle feed, who to feed food, how to do it, some physical therapy with the kids, and how to communicate with them. It really shocked me to see how physically, and mentally challenged the kids were. It broke my heart really, to see kids with certain limbs stuck in odd positions, and kids that can’t talk. It just hurts to see kids like that. You know, we are all human and
the same in God’s eyes but some people just don’t get the same experience as I am so blessed to have. I wish they did. I really connected with a child named Dondre. His legs are crossed over each other and you have to work with them for hours to get them straight. He can’t fully extend his arms, and his head always falls to one side. But despite it all he still smiles. Cries when his foot gets stuck in his chair… but you can still see the light in his brown eyes. I hope the best for him. I really hope he will be able to walk someday. But there are so many more kids just like him. Kids that don’t have it all but still smile everyday. It’s a way of living at Westhaven. I think it’s something to strive for.
After two mission days at West Haven, I feel so blessed to be apart of this trip! I have been
primarily involved in roofing a future cottage for children to sleep in. It has allowed me to sweat profusely with the crew as the temperature on the roof is hot. I have been working with Nazzi and Jeffrey, who are two Jamaican men that have been challenging to understand, but very fun to work with. During break time I have been able to hang out with the kids in cottages. Watching my own children interact, feed and hold disabled children has truly warmed my heart.
At Westhaven I have experienced a lot. I see young kids all over the place with smiles on their faces and talking or walking with one of us Americans. My experience has been more of working on projects around the area. I have worked on putting Zinc or Tin on the top of one of the cottages. During this project I work with Big Jeff, Little Jeff, Nazzi and some others that are on the trip. While we are working we have a great view of what goes on all around the place. Today for the first time some kids came over for a fish fry. I went to go play soccer
with them and it was a lot of fun. I could not understand them very well but the looks on their face gave everything away. While we are there I don’t know what half goes on. But what I do know is that there are a lot of kids being helped. A lot of kids are played with and worked with on their conditions. The things that happen are great for everyone there. It can put a smile on anyone’s face and brighten up their day. This place is an amazing place for people to help others and explore what all God has put us on this earth to assist his ministry.
We arrived at the Westhaven orphanage on Tuesday morning after a bumpy, hour long ride. I noticed that Grace, our driver, was honking at the oncoming traffic periodically. I asked her if she was honking to say hello. She said “yeaaaaaaah” in a Jamaican drawl, half laugh. We soon learned that there are “happy honks” and not so happy honks! Roads have improved dramatically (or so I’m told) but there could be entire mission group devoted to patching (WIDENING) the roads!!
One of the main reasons Dan and I decided to take our family on the mission trip to Jamaica and the Westhaven orphanage was to nurture relationships. We wanted to get to know Pastor Todd better. We wanted to have an opportunity to meet and serve some of the children at the orphanage, as well as, really get to know the Trinity families on this trip. As I write this, I’m watching my son play cards with Kirby and Melanie Knutson. Whom after getting to know, would like to ask to be a second set of Grandparents! Susan and Erick Eschenbach had my girls and a big group playing “forks” (couldn’t find spoons!) earlier!
We are only on day three of “Mission Jamiaca” and I can unequivocally say that our relationships with these amazing people while serving in the name of Jesus has been awesome AND humbling at the same time. You realize what truly is important. Relationships in the name of our Lord and Savior.