As I write this, there are somewhere around 20 members of our group hanging out in the lobby. The lobby is organized into small clusters of chairs and couches. But as people join us, we are commandeering the couches and chairs into one giant circle. And members of our team are sitting, talking, telling stories, looking at photos and laughing…laughing so much. It’s a great feeling to be together, even if it is for our last night.
Something powerful happens when a group like this comes together around a common mission. A group is bonded in deep ways.
Today, our team had most of the day to relax, think and reflect. Good conversation was happening in the chairs near the beach, and in the dining room, as people talked about their experiences and processed their feelings.
At 3pm, we met in the lobby to take the vans over to the “Hip Strip” to board the catamaran for a “2-hour tour.” We went out into Montego Bay, and the boat anchored over a coral reef and we spent about an hour snorkeling over the reef. It was amazing! We cruised around for a bit after we finished in the water and then made our way back to the hotel.
We met for devotions, and wondered together “what will be the story we tell” from this experience. We talked about how the trip was about service, but it was service couched in relationships that were formed:
- Relationships with the children of Westhaven
- Relationships with the other Jamaicans we encountered
- Relationships with each other
- Ultimately, our relationship with God
Mission Jamaica has provided us a space to meet and to step into relationship with all of these people. And the “service” that happened was very much mutual.
Then, we celebrated communion together: the ultimate expression of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
And so tonight, a bunch of us sit together in the lobby, living in the afterglow of the gift of these relationships. And the sound of conversation and laughter is like a chorus of praise.
It’s good to hear.
And while good relationships have been formed, and we’ve experienced amazing things together, we’re ready to come home and see our family and friends. (The younger ones in our group are less excited about going back to school on Monday, but they’ll get over that.)
Please keep us in your prayers as we journey home tomorrow.