The real Jamaica is not the one where tourists go to see beautiful coastlines or the one we stop at once while on a cruise and never look back. The real Jamaica—my Jamaica—is a place where true love of Christ our King runs rampant. It the place where poverty exists so extremely, but where I met people who loved me so immensely. It’s the place where my heart broke numerous times but was glued together by Jesus being ever present in the very people and situations that broke it.
My Jamaica is the place where, on our first day, I was supposed to help build a house alongside my team. Instead, I found myself surrounded and playing with five beautiful children who latched onto me so quickly, almost as if they thought I would up and run away from them if they let go. We played numerous games in the woods—them without shoes to protect their fragile, dirty feet. We even played soccer, but not with a ball. We played with a Sprite bottle filled with dirt. It’s so normal to these kids, but something I never would have thought of on my own. The kids were infatuated with my strangely soft hair, and they could not get enough time taking turns riding on my shoulders. I will never forget their moist, ready-to-spill eyes as I said goodbye that day.
My Jamaica is where we built a brand new foundation for a sweet man named Rickets, who loved singing hymns and prayed with so much passion. He offered joy and praises to the Lord amidst his challenging circumstances—something I so often forget to do.
My Jamaica is where I was able to spend two days at an infirmary—a place like I had never seen before. A place where my heart was wrecked, put together and wrecked again. A place where I met a sweet woman who could not speak, but simply wanted to be near me. This woman held tight to my stark white hand and would not let go. No words were spoken, but vast love was shared.
My Jamaica is where I met Karen, who let me paint her nails. Karen, who had an incredible story and faith journey. Karen, who just wanted her hand held, her feet rubbed, or even simply a piece of candy. Karen, who sang beautiful hymns each time I asked. Karen, who asked me to sing regardless of my horrendous tune. Karen, who I later realized was completely blind. Beautiful Karen would whisper my name as if she could sense me each time I arrived by her bedside. She knew Psalms by heart and loved Psalm 51 immensely.
My Jamaica is:
- Where keys were prayerfully handed to grateful new homeowners.
- Where I wore not one ounce of makeup, but where I had never felt more beautiful.
- Where the people changed me more than I could have ever changed them.
- Where my team became vulnerable.
- Where brokenness was shared and welcomed.
- Where poverty did not mean hopelessness.
- Where spiritual cups were filled by Jesus, not by silly materialistic things.
- Where water was cherished and food was not wasted.
My Jamaica—where love is genuine.
Christine Fisher, a student at Baylor University, served with Go Now Missions in Jamaica.