We are the Noe’s and this is our family’s first mission trip. There are four of us on this trip together; Brandon (Dad), Jill (Mom), Blake (Son, 15) and Addison (Daughter, 10). This morning we woke up to start the last full day here at JDV. We had a full day planned ahead of us and all were excited that the Beukema family was going to be joining us on some of our excursions.
The first stop was to DeafCan coffee shop at the Kingston CCCD school campus. We were able to support the DeafCan team by buying some delicious coffee there. Our family indulged in an assortment of amazing drinks including frappes, affogatos, nitro iced blend coffee, the new DeafCan Energy drinks, and delicious milkshakes. The DeafCan staff did a presentation detailing their business start-up, barista training, and developing an understanding for the deaf community while we were there.
After a final tour of the DeafCan facility and its coffee production process we boarded the bus and headed for Devon House I-Scream, a highly rated ice cream parlor in Kingston. Some of the team got some juicy patties, a common Jamaican meat-filled pastry, from the local bakery. The ice-scream and patties were amazingly delicious!
We left Devon House to head to JDV for lunch and then immediately left for Knock Patrick Deaf School to play games with the children we had visited on Monday. Addison and our whole family had a wonderful time playing with the children and learning new signs. Many of the children remembered us from Monday and were excited to see us again. We played an array of games with the children such as tag, soccer, and jump rope. Leaving the school was emotional as many of the children crowded around the bus waving good-bye to the team.
We returned to JDV for our final dinner with the residents. Mrs. Veronica Fuller’s Jamaican jerk chicken was an amazing end to our trip! Everyone in our team loved her cooking! A special moment during the evening was getting to sing happy birthday to Matthew, Pastor Sheldon’s son, and saying a tearful goodbye to Matthew and other JDV residents. We ended the night with a time of fellowship with the residents, as Pastor Rob mentored and prayed over Pastor Sheldon and his ministry at JDV. Also, no night would be complete without a final game of spoons with the residents.
Our family has had many experiences on this trip that are memorable. Some have been together, some have been as individuals, or with other members of team and local residents.
For Jill and Addison their favorite part was getting to play with the children around the school and the village. They both felt like they formed relationships with the children and were able to pour love into the children’s lives.
For Blake, his favorite part was dinner and the fellowship tonight. He loved spending time with the residents and playing cards.
For Brandon, his favorite part of the trip has been seeing how close and comfortable our family has grown spending time with the JDV residents, JDV staff, Faith Promise team members, and the deaf community of Jamaica. No one in our family had any prior relationships with team members or knew any sign language. During the trip, our family stepped up and focused with great effort to spread the love of Jesus Christ to each person they met. Each day, we continue to grow closer as a family and develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be a true Christ Follower.