Jamaica Bound

Posted: July 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Every July for the past 10 years, we have had the privilege of traveling to Jamaica for a missions trip.  Over the years, with 20 different adults and over 200 students, we have made memories and developed friendships with our two sister Jamaican churches, as we have served the Lord together.  We have watched the Jamaican children who attended our VBS grow into the teens and young adults that now help us.  We have close ties with the bus driver, the hotel staff, and with the guy at the fruit stand and the owners of “Border Jerk.” Throughout the rest of the year, we keep in touch and receive emails and phone calls from our friends down there.  We are proud to have been dubbed “Jamericans” by the Jamaicans, who use it as a term of endearment.

Last summer, we shared with the pastors and leaders, that we were praying for a new youth pastor to bring along this year so we could show them the ropes and make a smooth transition.  They agreed they would pray with us and God answered that prayer with the hiring of Johnny Norbeck in April.  He and his wife, Robyn, eagerly jumped into the plans already in motion for Jamaica 2012.

Although we  had a plan to transition out of youth ministry,  we didn’t know how much of a transition it would be.  Once again a reminder that God’s ways are not our ways.  I knew a change was coming, but I didn’t know what kind of change.

As my ALS was discovered and the symptoms continued to increase, we continually prayed for wisdom regarding our annual missions trip.  My desire was to go, yet I didn’t want to be more of a burden than a blessing.  We talked a lot about it to our closest friends and with Johnny.  Three weeks ago, I really didn’t think I could do it.  My strength was waning and I couldn’t make it through a day without a nap.  Then we had hopes for the PEG tube to boost my energy.  Although it is working well, the recovery has been rough this week.  Every time I move, my abs hurt.  So again, we thought maybe it was a no.  Dena just kept telling me if I wanted to go, we’d make it work.  If not, then okay.

To be honest, the trip doesn’t need me.  Of the 18 teens going, half of them went last year and for 6 of those, this is their third trip.  Included in there are Paige and Parker, who even went a few times with us as children, so they have always thought of themselves as Jamericans.  The students are trained and ready.  We called up Ryan G, who was a leader from last year and was on reserve, just in case.  Johnny & Robyn would do just fine without us.

Maybe it’s selfish, but I just want to go one more time.  I want to say good-bye to my friends there and possibly share a brief testimony of what God is doing in my life.  I know the folks in the churches there have been following my blog.  One dear friend even called and sang a song on our answering machine.  I’d like to once again enjoy watching our students serve and grow.  It’s like icing on the cake – the best trip of the year.  These students are the ones whom my kids have grown up with;  they are basically my “other” kids.

I know I won’t be able to help much;  I may have to stay back and rest.  I will definitely need assistance getting on and off the bus, which will slow things down.  But I will also have lots of help. I hope my speech is clear enough to be understood for a few good conversations with my friends.

So as of today, my bags are packed;  As of today, it’s a go.  Something could change on Sunday morning.  The travel day is actually my biggest concern.  I may have to fly home early.  Regardless of what happens, I will thank the Lord for giving me another day of life.

If you wish to follow us, we have a Facebook page called “Cornerstone Jamaica” where we will be sending photos and updates.  The travel dates are July 8-16th.

Proverbs 16:9  In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

  1. Ann Lightbody says:

    You are in our prayers Patrick!

  2. dovetvl says:

    We will be praying for you and all of the students on the trip this week.

  3. Mandi says:

    We will be praying for strength every moment of every day while you are there. You know stubborness is a good thing. I think I will need to pray for Dena also)
    Love you both!!

  4. Phyllis says:

    Our prayers will be continuing for you all, especially this coming week. May God richly bless you with renewed strength for each new day, and a testimony that many will HEAR and HEED! Eternity will have the results of God’s plans for this trip! Whatsoever a man sows, that he also reaps! Keep sowing seeds of the Gospel and the harvest will be beautiful!

  5. Jenna lockard says:

    Hip Hip Hurray! As i read this brog…I couldn’t read fast enough……I was hoping you were going! I am going to be praying for you everyday! Have a great time Patrick! I have a feeling God is going to do great things in your life this week:}

  6. shari herbert says:

    Whitney, Danielle & I prayed for you and will continue to pray. Go to Jamaica Patrick!

  7. john hicks says:

    Patrick Have a great time in Jamaica man.As Paul said finish the course, The LORD will provide the strength. Don’t drink any coconut milk [ but give plenty to johnny you can tell him its a vitamin drink] praying hard for you and your family mary and john

  8. Joe & Gail Asaro says:

    Patrick, we will be praying for the trip and strength for you. May God bless you and those that you minister to on this trip. He is our strength.

    Joe & Gail

  9. ruby heisler says:

    We are so thankful you can once again be with your Jamaican friends. They will be so blessed by your presence and your love for them. Our love and prayers will continue with you, Dena, Paige and Parker and all the group going to Jamica, Your Kentucky friends, Ruby and John Heisler

  10. Delphine Warbington says:

    Praying for all involved. Family, Friends, Jamericans…. No matter what, To God be ALL the Glory.
    Don, Del, Marina and Jonah Warbington

  11. Darlene Krucker says:

    Pray God goes before you and comes behind you! Go in peace and praise the living God!!! Prayers will be lifted for you, your family, and the team. Blessings Darlene

  12. Earl and Becky Short says:

    wow… good for you… we will be praying here in Waukee, Iowa…. for your travel… for your endurance… for your ministry and service for the Lord. And for all who will be traveling with you. we will also be checking the blog! God will bless!

  13. Todd Neva says:

    GO! Do it. Your presence will have an immeasurable blessing on those kids and the people you serve. Live life with no regrets. No should-ofs, could-ofs, or would-ofs. I’ll be praying for you.

  14. Stacey McAlvey says:

    Patrick and Dena, We’ll be praying for you during this trip. I hope you have the strength to do the things that you’de like to do, as you said you won’t be able to do it again. We’ll pray it’s a blessed, sweet time with your friends in Christ in Jamaica.

  15. Brent Swensen says:

    I pray you are encouraged and refreshed as you watch your ministry legacy unfold before you! What a blessing to see some of the impact your lives have made. When i read about the trials we WILL face in this life, I am thankful for the example you are setting, friends. May my heart respond with like faith.

  16. Lee Wise says:

    Asking for the Lord’s blessing on you guys as you go.

    “Regardless of what happens, I will thank the Lord for giving me another day of life.” Amen.

    Thanks for your ongoing testimonies and examples of living in the grace of Jesus.

    Lee and Sherry.

  17. Jean Plummer says:

    Praying for you, so glad that God is giving you another trip to Jamaica. May you be blessed and may you be a blessing this week. God’s strength be yours.

  18. Cheryl Bringazi says:

    So glad to know you’re Jamaica bound. We’ll be praying for all the joy your heart can hold; and for God to bless your time there in abundant and unexpected ways. Cheryl and Terry

  19. Mel Stull says:

    Hey Bro, read this from Spurgeon today, I thought you would enjoy it. It blessed my socks right off me!!!

    God Is For Me

    Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
    Psalm 56:9

    It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this delightful phrase, “God is for me.” He was for us before the worlds were made. He was for us or He would not have given His well-beloved Son; He was for us when He smote the Only-begotten and laid the full weight of His wrath upon Him—He was for us, though He was against Him. He was “for us” when we were ruined in the Fall—He loved us notwithstanding all. He was for us when we were rebels against Him and with a high hand were bidding Him defiance. He was for us or He would not have brought us humbly to seek His face. He has been for us in many struggles; we have been summoned to encounter hosts of dangers; we have been assailed by temptations from without and within—how could we have remained unharmed to this hour if He had not been for us?

    He is for us with all the infinity of His being, with all the omnipotence of His love, with all the infallibility of His wisdom. Arrayed in all His divine attributes, He is for us—eternally and immutably for us; for us when the heavens shall be rolled up like a worn-out robe; for us throughout eternity. And because He is for us, the voice of prayer will always ensure His help. “Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call.” This is no uncertain hope, but a well-grounded assurance—”this I know.”

    I will direct my prayer unto You and will look up for the answer, assured that it will come and that my enemies shall be defeated, for “God is for me.” O believer, how happy you are with the King of kings on your side! How safe with such a Protector! How sure your cause pleaded by such an Advocate! If God be for you, who can be against you? Charles Spurgeon

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