Monday, July 15, 2013

Last week in overview!

Our small & mighty group :)

Me & Sophie
David & Flora Tant
Burt, Crystal, Addison & Harrison Rogers
Amy Hammond
Lloyd Barker
George Slover
Molly Beck 
Joshua Cleveland 

11 of us flew in last Friday & were picked up by Maxwell James, the preacher in Mo Bay.  (Flora had some health issues and they stayed behind 2 days).   We exchanged money, got phone cards, etc, & headed over to Savanna la Mar where we are spending our first week.  Saturday was mostly spent prepping for classes, assembling name tags and activities, and making contact with our friends here.  Services yesterday began at 10am-George Slover led the adult Bible Class and & I taught the children's class (we studied Fruits of the Spirit!).  We sang some of our favorite Jamaican choruses, & Burt delivered an excellent sermon on Hope & Optimism.   After lunch, the men gathered for another study back at the hotel.

After searching for somewhere that was open for dinner, we found a Pizza Hut! The best part by far was that our food was delicious and served in less than  15 minutes :) We use the term 'Jamaican Time' quite often in reference to how leisurely the culture is.  There is a lot of waiting down here...for everything, so we were thrilled to have dinner served in less than an hour!

The week was busy- each morning we would split into groups for separate studies and each evening classes were held at our hotel.  Attendance was great, and discussions were so encouraging.  Friday morning we packed up and headed to visit Mahlon.  We spent a few hours enjoying the cool breeze in his house and Amy even planned a Family Feud game show to play with him!  We sang several hymns, sadly said our goodbyes, and traveled three hours to Montego Bay just in time for evening services!  

Saturday was laundry day and time to get organized for the week here.  Half of the group went back to Sav for services and the others stayed in Mo Bay.  It was a long day but a profitable one.  The first day of VBS in Mo Bay today was a huge success! The kids were awesome this morning and I loved hearing all of those sweet voices singing praises to God at the top of their lungs!  Sophie caught a nasty bug and was lethargic yesterday but is in better spirits today. 

Also,  Jude's father (Chris Beckford) passed away yesterday in Sav & I am so thankful that we had a chance to visit him last week and encourage him in his last days.  So many here are hurting and we have been spending much time in prayer.  God is so good!

There is no Internet where we are staying and finding the time to locate wifi while juggling a toddler has been challenging!  Thank you for all the prayers and emails.  We are so grateful!!


Friday, July 5, 2013


"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation..." -Mark 16:15

Hooray!  We are headed back to the place I love so much!  It's 5 am and very little sleep was had last night.  Too much excitement!  Amy, Sophie and I are flying out together this morning and are scheduled to land in Mo Bay just after noon.

I am eager for what lies ahead: two weeks of singing, teaching, working, laughing, preaching, praying, encouraging, studying, and growing.  The schedule this time around is a bit different as we will only be conducting Vacation Bible School the second week.  The first week, we will focus our time on daily adult classes, individual studies, and nightly lessons as well.  I will update as much as possible (depending on the availability of internet).  If you'd like to leave a note for the group, please do so in the comments below.  It's such an encouragement to hear from our friends back home each evening :)

 I am incredibly passionate about this work and am hopeful that our short time there will strengthen all of us.  The Jamaican people always teach me far more than I am able to teach them.  I am fortunate to have been a part of this for over 10 years now, and am a vastly better person because of it!  It helps me to get out of my comfort zone and share the good news of Christ with so many who are eager to hear it -   & I am humbled at every turn.  My Jamaican friends are not only content with their lives, but they overflow with abundant love and thankfulness.  I have so much yet to learn from then!

If you have a moment, please pray for our safe travels, and as always, for receptive hearts of all those we come in contact with.

A huge thank you to everyone who helps make this trip possible.

Make it a great day!

Sarah Lyon

PS: you can also send us an email at (Mariah, this is for long happy notes like yours!).  I plan to check it daily.

Our Vacation Bible School topics are as follows:

Theme: Dare To Be Different!

Monday: Dare to be a Leader (Moses)
Tuesday: Dare to be Courageous (Rahab)
Wednesday: Dare to be a Friend (Jonathan & David)
Thursday: Dare to be a Worker (Nehemiah)

Here are a few photos from last summer!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Kid's Life - Amy Hammond - DAY 11

It's our second Monday in Jamaica and our first day of VBS in Montego Bay. We felt more leaving 2 hours early so we can pick up 200+ more traveling 20 minutes to the more yelling the bible lesson because we're up against the main more 7:30am breakfasts. We're blessed to meet in the neighborhood of Paradise (don't get any grand ideas) and we assemble in their primary school building. Nursery, Primary, and Middle School each get a classroom while the High School and Ladies Class meet under large shade trees. Before we got started this morning, I met up with Leighton. This familiar face caught my attention two years ago when he had the happiest, most energetic, lively singing face of the entire group. We hugged and were excited to pick up where we left off....what new VBS song will you teach me this year, I asked. Then we started talking about his life and family. He lives in the neighborhood of Granville. Our bus that picks up kids only took two adult men to that part of town this morning. It is a rough area and not always safe, I heard. So I asked Leighton how it had been around home. A lot better, he replied, and peaceful. It used to not be, I asked. He said, no, but now I can walk around at night. He explained that last year he was not able to go outside his house after dark. I asked him why had it gotten better: did people just start acting differently or did some move away. They had moved away. What did these bad people do? They messed around with guns, he said. I asked if he knew anyone who had gotten hurt or killed. Without hesitation, Plenty, he said. And this is his reality. It's not how it should be for a bright, kind, fun-loving 14-year old kid. At night you shouldn't become scared, worried, and a prisoner in your own home. During bible class today, we posed the question, How could you respond if someone hits you. Beat them up, was the first shared answer. Would my 11 year old have had that on his list of possible replies? No, it's a hard life here and these children are overcoming mounds of obstacles. Pray for their hearts and souls, please. We had our 8th evening worship service tonight. Another night filled with Christians from different parts of the globe, sharing in the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. Another perfect day.

God's Presence -Carly Inghram - DAY 13

To see Gods presence in each moment is to have joy and peace abounding. Today, I saw this evidenced. I saw God in the sweet melodies of children singing "my my my my my my my my my my Lord is sweet".  God's presence in provision, keeping us safe and in good health (despite a scare). God in the ignited interest of Hindus to Chrisitanity. God in prayer, that we may rest in his presence at all times. God in thought provoking conversations with my new Jamaican friend Rene. God in the laughter brought on by the antics of Elnel, a girl in the VBS nursery. God in love, shown and received. Thanking God for another blessed day in Jamaica, and that in His presence we can be completely satisfied.

Truly Helping - Holly Baker - DAY 12

Today we had many more students at VBS than our first day in Mobay. I helped in the nursery class, and a middle school student walked in and handed me a one year old baby. The mother wasn't there. Most American children would be uneasy being handed to a stranger, but these children are very used to being shuffled around. This girl was really sweet and complacent, and I held her for most of the morning. It really breaks my heart to see all of the children starving for attention. Fathers are nonexistent, and mothers are too overwhelmed and frustrated in their current situations. My impression of Jamaica is that the situation here is not unlike other situations in the world. I have never been in a third world country, but I have been in poor areas of the US, and it is the same. People need helped, and it is difficult to help them. You cannot hand money to most people in need. They have not been taught humility and gratitude, and it is very very overwhelming. Many Americans have dumped money into programs in the US and elsewhere, and this is an easy way for people to feel that they are doing good. While donating money can make a difference, the recipients of these social programs often do not need to change. Without being taught, they will continue to remain in the same cycle of sin. In order to help someone we must donate our time in order to really get to know the individual. We often avoid spending our time for various reasons--we are too busy or we do not want to get hurt are the most popular excuses. God calls us to love, and we as Americans stay busy "loving" those people who are in a similar social status as us. Everyone on this trip has made a large sacrifice in order to reach outside ourselves and help in Jamaica. It is my prayer that when we go home we will continue to help. We must be workers for the Lord and maybe give up some of the activities that consume our time in order to get to know people and make a difference. Tonight we sang "Our God, He is Alive" at our worship services. I have sung that song in many different venues with many different Christians. It reminds me that all over the world there are groups of Christians striving to do what is right. It is a very powerful reminder. We are all fundamentally the same, and we all need God.