Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Blogger: Eleah on our time in Boscobel, Jamaica

A love letter to Boscobel, my favorite little Jamaican town.
Dear Boscobel,
Thank you for these amazing five weeks. I’ve had incredible times on your beach, your colorful concrete houses, in little rasta colored shacks, and walking your streets day after day. We got here with not really any idea of what we were doing, with no friends or contacts or even known ministries. We just knew God sent us here, and that it was all up to Him. I remember one of the first days after we got here, how I was struck by the irony of the one side of your road being lined with a resort and gorgeous beach villas, while the other side is full of little concrete houses and plywood shacks, home to school children, unemployed men, and moms who don’t know how to feed their kids or pay for their school tuition.
I think you’ve changed a lot, Boscobel. I can’t forget the darkness I felt so heavily the first few times we went down good old Gully Road, home to most of your beautiful people. Jesus gave me a verse from the book of John about how through love, the darkness is going away, and the true light is already shining. I held that verse in my mind as we went out to get to know and love your people. The mornings and afternoons that we spent in teams, visiting houses and shops and falling in love with your culture brought us to so many different people. So many of them have come into our lives and left unforgettable footprints on our hearts.
People like Gary, our Rasta friend whom everyone appropriately calls Drughead. His jerk chicken and ackee and saltfish were great introductions to authentic Jamaican food for our team, and his little Rasta colored shack with his wife Diamen, is one of my favorite places in Jamaica. People like Chavez, whose real name is Michael Kamar, a tormented man the whole town thinks is crazy and for the large part avoid. His hungry eyes and the hours we spent talking with him and praying for him are unforgettable. People like Keisha, the single mom of a precious four year old, who wrote all our names in the Bible we gave her. People like Jennifer and Narda, who braided my hair and cooked our whole team a delicious dinner, who say they aren’t Christians because they don’t go to church, but follow God and bless everyone around them with their gentle loving spirits. And people like Wilson, a precious little old man, who “really needs to stop smokin’, not because it’s bad for you, ya know, but because it uses up all your money! Ya mon.” So many people, it would take pages to write about them all.
Oh Boscobel, I love how authentic your culture is. I love that when people ask how you’re doing, they really want to know. I love that you can go to any house, at any time, and stop and talk with anyone. I love that your walls, aren’t really walls. But I hate how your Church is opposite of that, that the genuineness of your culture isn’t reflected in what should be the House of God and the Bride of Christ. I can’t stand how the openness and true expression your people have, that I fully believe is one of the most obvious deposits of God into your culture, disappear inside Church buildings. I hate that for most of you, your only idea of Christianity has been going to a church building on Sundays. I hate that so few of you know of Christianity as a genuine relationship with a God who loves you more than you’ll ever know. That all you think of when you think of God is rules and religion. It’s so far from the actual reality of a God who gave His life for relationship with you. I hope we’ve changed how you see that. I do so love how God has moved every single day we’ve spent here. It’s been amazing seeing our prayers be answered time after time again. It is incredible to see our friends here accept Christ, realize that God is more than religion, be baptized, get healed, be loved, and gain freedom in their lives.
I have to say, how rampant impurity is in your precious community breaks my heart. It’s evidenced in your mixed up families with four or five or six kids who all have different dads. It’s shown in your countless single moms, with deadbeat ex boyfriends who won’t provide for their children. You can see it in the surprised and doubting eyes of teenagers when they find out the boys and girls on our team aren’t at all sleeping with each other, even though we live in the same house. Kids in your community grow up without any idea that God created purity for such a beautiful purpose, and that marriage is worth waiting for. It kills me that your children and teenagers have virtually no role models for purity, and to see how the spirit of superficial religion just feeds into that, by people thinking appearances are so important, and as look as a relationship looks genuine, it’s OK. God has so much more for you than cheap relationships and fleshly satisfaction, and I so wish and pray that you see that.
You’re going to be hard to leave, Bosocobel. I’m looking forward to our next two weeks of ministry in Montego Bay, but it definitely won’t be the same as the beautiful time we’ve had here. I wish I had more time to spend with your people. I know there’s still so much that needs to be done here, so many more people that need Love. But we’ve done our best and given you our all, we’ve loved fully and prayed hard, and are leaving you with a lot more Love and Light than you had a few weeks ago. You’ve brought so much to my life, and I hope these fingerprints of Jesus stay on your hearts and in your minds for a very long time.
Here’s to an incredible month, you beautiful little Jamaican town. I’ll hold these memories and relationships you’ve given us dear for years to come, and won’t forget your people in my prayers. I don’t think you’ll forget us anytime soon, and I’m so thankful God brought you into our lives, and us into yours.
with ever so much love, Eleah.
Ps: thanks for the great flip flop tan lines.
Solnher, Eleah, & Mirlene at the baby turtle releasing!

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