Jamaica Team: Veritas Spring Break Trip

Team Shot

This week’s guest post is from Kyle Richter, Veritas Co-director and Jamaica Team Leader.

Veritas, The Crossing’s college ministry, has been partnering with Won by One (WBO) in some capacity for nearly a decade now. Tomorrow morning, March 27th, about 40 Mizzou students involved in Veritas will board a flight to spend their spring break serving in Harmons, Jamaica – a rural mountain village in the interior of the Jamaican island.

SchoolMost Americans are surprised to find out that Jamaica has one of the highest church-to-people ratios of anywhere in the world. Because of this, Jamaicans know all about God and Jesus Christ. Unfortunately though, “religion” in Jamaica tends to be extremely legalistic. In other words, many Jamaicans believe that in order for God to accept them, they must first make themselves acceptable to God. As a result, culturally there has become an emphasis placed on physical appearance, job status, wealth, etc. – all of which become barriers to a real, thriving relationship with Jesus. It’s Veritas’ hope that through our partnership with WBO, God would use our teams to play a small part in changing this reality.

For months, our college team has been meeting and preparing, gathering clothing and supplies, all with the hope of cramming as much as possible into two, fifty pound suitcases. The clothing and supplies these students have collected will help stock Blessings In Store, a local thrift shop run by WBO. For many in Harmons, the clothing and supplies that teams bring are essential to daily life.

Throughout the week, our team will have opportunities to serve alongside Jamaicans in different ways. These include:Pit

  • building homes
  • hauling crushed limestone
  • working in greenhouses
  • digging pits that function as latrines
  • various other manual labor type jobs

In most cases, the Jamaicans we serve have been waiting weeks and months (and sometimes years) for help.

Beyond the physical labor though, the most important work our team will do is develop relationships with members of Harmons. The focus on people in the community, not work projects, lies at the heart of Won by One’s ministry, and is often what leaves the most lasting impact on college students and Jamaicans alike. Each day, our team will have several opportunities to meet and connect with members of the community. This happens in a variety of ways: Harmons Playfield

  • visiting with Jamaicans at jobsites
  • spending time with kids in schools
  • meeting locals each night during courtyard time
  • playing games on the playfield
  • eating meals alongside one another.

It’s surprising how well you can get to know someone and their story in only a week’s time. Seeing Jamaica this way changes the way many see themselves.

Would you join our church in praying for this team?

  • Praise God for these college students who are giving up their Spring Break to serve others.
  • Pray that God would help them to show His love, grace, and mercy.
  • Pray that it would bring lasting impact in the community of Harmons and the hearts of the people they meet.

If you’d like to know more about the history of Harmons and the work Veritas and The Crossing does there, check out this previous overview of Jamaica.

Kids at jobsiteInfirmaryHouseHarmons Valley

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