Virginia youth build relationships with Jamaican community

Posted on November 22, 2011 by VMMissions Staff

On July 5, fourteen senior high youth and four adult leaders from Mountain View Mennonite church, in VMC’s Southern District, left the mountains of Virginia for the mountains of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. We were going to do a work project in the Top Hill community, where Rodney & Lindsey Nice were serving as missionaries with Virginia Mennonite Missions. Rodney & Lindsey built strong ties with the community, and had a vision to provide a playground for the children.

Our youth group accomplished the playground project including a slide, swings, climbing wall, gym bars, hopscotch, in four long days, along with building three thatch huts that can be used for reading camps, and a few other projects around the community.

While this project was worthy of a trip and fulfilling, it was just icing on the cake. Rodney & Lindsey, prior to serving in Jamaica, had been the youth leaders at our church. They had strong relationships with this youth group, and the youth desired to participate in their ministry in Jamaica.

What neither we as leaders and planners nor the youth anticipated was the rich fellowship with the Deaf community of Top Hill. There were many local Jamaicans who helped during the day, and some of them were deaf. Once the work day was over, they returned to the community center where we stayed, eat dinner with us, and hung around afterwards. The Mt. View youth played card games, communicated, and learned sign language from them, enjoying the fellowship.

By the end of the week, not only did most of the team know the sign alphabet and could communicate some, but they had built friendships with their Jamaican brothers and sisters. In the coming years, these experiences will be the most valuable “things” that they brought back from Jamaica.

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Youth from Mountain View Mennonite Church on the playground in Jamaica they built. Courtesy of Mark Hodge

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