Great time in Jamaica. It didn't hurt that my company sent me there on their dime. Since they paid for two, I took my daughter on this trip. At eight years old, this will hopefully be a trip she remembers for a lifetime. We started off in the Ritz Carlton, completely behind guarded gates. I was told that Jamaica can be pretty rough, and that I should be very careful with myself and my daughter. Well, I can tell you that inside a Ritz Carlton, there was not even a hint of fear. Unless, you're afraid of a maid coming to your room at 10pm to offer you a turndown of the bed and to leave you some chocolates. Needless to say, I had a very good time, and pockets full of tracts, I proceeded to talk with just about every staff member of the hotel. They speak Patois naturally, but dial it down to regular English for the guests of the hotel. I had a great time learning to speak a few phrases in Patois, and learning about their history. I was surprised to find out that they had been under British colonial rule until 1962. And, they were very much a Christian nation. Where a penny pressed with the Ten Commandments would be a cheap trinket here, they were met with those that I gave one to with great delight. Their eyes lit up and they were so pleased that I would give them a souvenier with the Ten Commandments. This led to many great conversations where I was able to share the Law and Grace with several people. Everyone in the hotel knew me and my daughter, and many went out of their way to give her a gift or come over and ask me to pray with them. I doubt asking guest to pray with you is in the Ritz Carlton operating manual. But, it was great.
I was feeling that there was no way that there could be anyone to fear anywhere on this island, and planned a trip out of the hotel into the "Hip Strip" of Montego Bay. I was told that there would be several people swarming us and asking to sell us trinkets or offer to braid my daughter's hair. Well, this was sort of true, but armed with 300 "Million Dollar Bills", I passed them out like candy to everyone within sight. I got swarmed alright. But, they were also very excited that I was giving them this 'valuable' souvenier. I told them all that it was a gospel tract and that it was important for them to read the message on the back. They did with delight. I had several people quoting Scripture to me, verbatim. I even had one gentleman tell me a great story about using a deck of cards as a Bible, and then proceeded to sing me an impromptu reggae melody. I passed out over 300 tracts in about an hour and had one of the best times of my life doing so. Try as I did, I could not find a Rastafarian. In fact, everyone I talked to was a professing Christian. I left them with some better tracts to read the gospel in more detail. I even met a fellow who is building houses for the poor. One week's work and $2000 will put together a house for a family. His ministry website is http://www.islego.com/. I need to check it out more to find out the details.
When it was finally over, I was glad I got to sleep in a nice hotel, but I really enjoyed meeting all the people the best. Everyone was so friendly, and so open to discussing the gospel. Even back in the airport, I was still giving away tracts. As we were about to board our plane, we ran into a local second grade class. Sierra, my daughter, who is also in second grade posed with them for this picture. Sierra was doing her homework, and the teacher was very excited to see that the curriculum we have here in California was the same as the one she had in her classroom. The only difference was that we actually have books, and she might have one for the whole class. They have to rely on copying as many pages as they can afford, and the rest of the kids have to share. I asked her how much it would cost for her to get books for her class. She said, three books per kid (per year) at $25 each. And, there are about 30 kids in the two second grade classes. I got the school's address and the teacher's email. I would really like to get Sierra's class to have each family sponsor one kid for one book, and maybe the other two books can be picked up my my fellow evangelists and possibly the mission department at our church. However we find funding, I want to make sure that each kid, and their family, gets a clear gospel message along with their books. If you have any interest in helping, or any ideas for this project, please let me know.