Day 8 The Final DayWell…It is finished, MAD camp is done.  We have said our goodbyes and we are preparing to leave.  Our morning started with a hike to “Tony’s Place” or the retreat center that JACOM is hoping to update and use.  We had our morning guard walk with and guide us on the tour as it is farther out from town.  He also provided a lot of knowledge about the retreat area and its history.  It was built by a man from the US who had a dream with his wife to open a retreat center in Jamaica.  His wife passed away from cancer before this dream was realized.  He sold his things and moved by himself.  He started building a house and other buildings for the center.  Jean told us that he hosted a few tourists before he became sick himself.  He died of cancer a few years ago and his place is now in disrepair.  Hopefully, JACOM’s dream will be realized.  There are a few things that need to be worked out before it happens.  We were able to sample some pineapple that our guard found.  On the way back, he showed us a sink hole on his farmland.  It looked very deep.

After walking back, we organized the suitcases so we don’t have extra checked bags going back to the US.  The youth spent some time packing.  Sorry parents, these dirty clothes are STINKY! We made sure we did a load of laundry earlier in the week so we could travel in clean clothes (hopefully).

We made a quick plan for the performance before setting off to the community center.  Some of the campers came to walk with us to the center.  It rained before we left and rained after we got there.  God’s timing 🙂  The time leading up to the performance and the time after was truly Jamaican.  There was a tour group there when we arrived so we had to wait until they ate lunch and left.  After getting the okay to start, we ran through all of the songs with the kids.  We killed time as 4:30 came and we didn’t have very many community members.  Everything happens later then intended in Jamaica.  At 5:10 we started our performance.  The campers did great and were so proud of what they have learned from each of the three groups.  At the end of the performance, it was suggested that we repeat a few things because more people arrived.  We did until the speaker quit working.  The campers and community enjoyed some cake and juice.  We were able to meet some of the families.

Some of the children walked back with us.  We gave some hugs and said goodbye.   All of the youth were hungry for some supper.  We are spending our night reflecting on the week and preparing to head home.  Tomorrow morning we are waking up early to see the sunrise.  Hopefully all 6 youth will be accounted for.  Will intend to wake up at 4:00 so he won’t miss it.

Our morning devotion was on how we changed and how we can sustain this change when we come back home.  Pray for our youth to not forget what they have learned and experienced while on this trip.  Pray that God can help sustain the change they have gone through.  Pray for our campers that they continue to seek God in their daily lives even after camp is done for the summer.  Pray for the Jamaican leaders of MAD camp to have confidence in their ability to continue to be Christian leaders in their community. Last, pray for our trip home that we make it safely and our bags make it with us.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for reading this blog, for praying for us, and for supporting us financially.  Mission trips are like no other experience these youth can have.  Without you, it would not be possible.