May 11th, 1991 11:55 AM Saturday
I am now sitting in the Daniel Iverson center for Christian Learning. We are now supposed to be writing our personal testimony. I really need to talk to Jim before I try to put together my testimony. On May 8th I drove from St. Louis to Nashville to have dinner at Grace Presbyterian Church where I have the privilege of working this summer. On the 9th Mr. & Mrs. Snider, Ben, Cheri, Andy, Stacey, Travis and myself left Nashville and headed toward Covenant College on top of Lookout Mountain. Besides us picking up April & Shawna, I got the joy of seeing William Hudson Brock. We then drove to PEF headquarters in Atlanta. Our plane trip to Miami left at 9:00 PM & included a brief stop in Jacksonville. We arrived in Miami around 11:35 PM & were picked up & taken to the house where I am presently. If I were to step out of the front door I would be able to see the Orange Bowl which is two blocks away. I am the leader of my friends Ben, Travis, & Andy. We are staying at an apartment that is about ten minutes away. As we go from here to the apartment we pass the building which is the headquarters of “Miami Vice.” We ate at Cuban restaurants last night & this morning. We spent a few hours at Miami Beach yesterday and are planning on going to Key Biscayne later today. As we prepare for our Jamaican trip, my desire & prayers to serve God in all that I do are becoming reality instead of dreams.
May 15, 1991 2:52 PM Wednesday
As I write today I have a ton of things to get caught up on. On May 11th, the last time I had an opportunity to write, I did something that has been difficult for me to do in the past. We went door to door in an apartment complex in one of the rough neighborhoods of Miami and handed out the “Wonderful Words of Life.” After my initial hesitation I found myself enjoying it more & more each second. I was even feeling comfortable as we began to go to the second door. I met a man from Honduras there & had a short but interesting conversation. Later that night we went to Key Biscayne & enjoyed a nice run on the beach. We ate dinner in Coconut Grove along with about five thousand other people. On Sunday May 12th, we went to a park where many homeless people live. I was chosen to give my testimony in between singing & Greg’s preaching. God, please bless those people & soften their hearts. Lord, I also need you to continue to fill me with joy as I attempt to serve you above everything & others next. We went to church at one of Mr. Snider’s former churches. After lunch we watched “First Fruits” a movie about the beginning of the Moravian missionary movement. Sunday evening we had a service at the center. I met Eddie, who is from Nicaragua, & was blessed to spend close to an hour chatting with him. I also, finally, had a fun talk with Leonora who lives at the center & is also from Nicaragua. She had a beautiful girl of five years whose name was Javiara. I am now more excited than ever for reaching & serving people FROM or IN Latin America. Bill Iverson returned from Jamaica on Sunday & I asked him if there would be a chance to chat. He asked me to help him make breakfast on Monday morning. As he & I made breakfast, I shared my testimony & the reasons why I do not want to continue in the normal method of learning. I expressed to him my desire to learn one on one in a situation where I will be able to use what I learn on a day to day basis. My prayers of Sunday night were answered as Bill gave me an invitation to come to Miami & study. There are sections of Miami that are literally mini-versions of countries. In fact, the apartment we stayed at was in the middle of Little Havana. The plane trip from Miami to Montego Bay took about an hour & twenty minutes. Cuba looks very boring from the air. A bus took as from Montego Bay to Runaway Bay where we stayed the night at Sunflower Villas. Ken Snider arrived & took us to Ocho Rios to eat dinner at Shakey’s. Cheri & I had a sharing & fellowship time Oceanside with lightning in the distance and the waves crashing against the rocks by our feet. As I headed towards my villa, I saw one of the security guards & I was going to go talk with him until I saw another one. After brushing my teeth, I went back out to share the Good News. Out of a conversation between me & Clive, there were soon six other guys who were hearing what Jesus means to us. I say us because eventually Andy & Ben joined in. About an hour after the initial contact, I went to get the girls. Fifteen minutes later I got Travis. Travis & I woke up Ken to get some tracts & he looked delighted to see us. All told, I spent around three hours with my new friends. On Tuesday we went to Dunn River Falls & had a great time in the water. Ben & I left the tour guide & the chain of people & went straight up the most difficult gorges we could find. Even the guide said we were crazy to climb up the spots that we chose. Of course we were barefooted. We had fifteen minutes to spend at the market in Ocho Rios but it took me over thirty minutes to do all that I had to do. We stuffed all our things into Ken’s vehicle & began our trip to Bethany Manse. The countryside is similar to El Salvador but has its own very unique characteristics. A lot of the people call us whities. The view from Bethany Manse is simply awesome. When we left to go to the houses we are staying at we left Andy or forgot him because he had ants in his pants. Hasta luego. Yeh Man. Irie.
May 17th, 1991 8:08 AM Friday
On Wednesday May 15th, Mr. Hyman drove Andy & me from his house to Bethany Manse. We worked on crafts in the morning & finally had some free time to relax & let everything we have done & experienced soak in. That night we had a service at Devon Missionary Church. Andy gave his testimony(which is not really about him.) I was filled with joy at hearing praises from the Jamaicans . Yesterday was filled with plenty of exercise. We walked from the Hyman’s to Bethany Manse. Made wristbands in the morning followed by planning Bible studies for next week. We then took a long walk to Devon school to invite the children to the service at 6:30 PM. Ben & Shawnea tried to play cricket but instead got a lot of laughs out of the children & myself. We handed out the “Wonderful Words of Life” there & on the way back to Bethany Manse. We then ate lunch which included Red Snapper. After lunch, we went to visit Bethany school & teacher Smith rounded up the children for an assembly. The kids sang some songs, one being the Jamaican National Anthem. All of us but Andy sat overlooking the valley & sang songs. We decided to sing “Open Our Eyes Lord” at the service. Ben, Shawnea & I wrote two more verses. Many children from Devon school came to the service. Dancy & I walked back to Bethany Manse.
May 20th, 1991 7:47 AM Monday
On Friday, we went to visit the New Vision Children’s Home. Before we helped them make leather name tags, I gave my testimony in story form. During our short stay there, God rekindled my desire to someday be a house parent. Brother Benson invited me to come down & spend some time working with him. There are doors being opened to me now like I have never experienced before. This has happened because I have finally given up all my wants in order to do whatever God’s will for me is. The service at Devon on Friday night was very good. The youth choir from Bethany sang five songs & sounded beautiful. On Saturday, we went to Discovery Bay with about forty of the youth from Ken’s three churches Bethany, Mile Gully, & Top Hill. It was a wonderful day with scattered clouds, a cool breeze, refreshing clear water, white sandy beaches & young people filled with joy & enthusiasm. I swam for about an hour & played keep away for about three. Sunday’s church service lasted almost four hours. We quickly ate lunch & had a youth meeting & service that lasted until 9:00 PM. Mr. Benson brought a movie & some of the children from the home. Everything is irie. Yeh man.
May 20th, 1991 8:58 PM Monday
The walk up to Bethany Manse this morning was much cooler than yesterday. We gave a devotion at Bethany school before breakfast & will do the same tomorrow & Wednesday. It rained off & on all day long. At times it rained so hard I thought we might wash away. After breakfast, we bagged up beans, flour, & rice for the poor people of this area. We had eight one hundred pound bags that Ken got on a trip to Kingston last week. We returned to the school after lunch to lead a Bible study & make crafts. It was quite an experience to keep a few hundred kids calm. The service tonight was very small but quite effective. Pastor Gary from Assembly of God in Christiana was the preacher & gave a well needed sermon on giving all to Jesus & trusting Him even when it does not look like He is working. I had a chance to talk to a couple of girls who say they are working at becoming Christians. I asked them to come to tomorrow’s service & told them to arrive early so we could talk. They want to sit with me. Lord, please give me the right words & fill me with a spirit like that of Jesus.
May 21st, 1991 8:48 PM Tuesday
Tonight my joy & happiness has momentarily been turned into sadness because of my apparent unsuccessful attempt at being able to share with Shawna & Donna. They arrived late, so the pew I was sitting in was already full. They still showed some interest after the service but Shawna’s grandmother had to leave only three minutes into my conversation with them. I need to focus more on God & His plan instead of my own. I get so excited when things happen but fail to keep my spirits high when events move slower than I would like. God, please grant me peace & happiness no matter what the circumstances. This morning, Andy & I walked up to the school during a light rain. We played cricket for a few minutes before we continued on to the Manse. It has rained for two days straight with several downpours. Paul, Cheri & Travis went down to the school to work on crafts. I had time before dinner to work on some crafts for Ricky & Tena from the New Vision Children’s Home. On Sunday, I had my picture taken with Tena. I hope & pray that I get a chance to visit the Home again. May God bless our last week here in Jamaica.
May 23rd, 1991 8:00 AM Thursday
Praise God! Yesterday was one of the most exciting days of the trip. The rain continued until sunrise. This caused teacher Smith to cancel school due to low attendance. Andy, Dancy, Shawnea, Stacy, & I went to Greenville to pass out food & tell about the good news of Jesus Christ. I talked to Ricky even though he had told Dancy that he did not want to see anyone. I chatted with him for at least forty-five minutes. He can not read so I told him I would try to send him the Bible on cassette. I enjoyed the walk back as I took pictures of flowers & the kids playing in the mud. The service last night was the best yet, as many of my prayers were answered. I had a nice conversation with Elsa before the service. Then to my surprise, she told me brother Benson had just arrived. I hurried outside & have hugs to all my little friends. I was especially happy to see Tena so I could give her a bracelet I had made for her. I also showed her the name tag which is almost finished. We sat together & enjoyed watching God’s Holy Spirit work in many lives. Of the many people who came forward to pray were Shawna & Donna. May I never again judge how the Spirit will move. Prayer does change lives. (Jillian, Kevon, Omar, Chris, Ricardo)
May 24th, 1991 7:47 AM Friday
Yesterday was a glorious day here in Jamaica. Scattered clouds and a cool breeze made being outside very enjoyable. After breakfast, Cheri, Shawnea, Travis, & I took food & New Testaments to some children who are interested in joining the church. I had the pleasure of meeting with Kerian. On the way back to Bethany Manse, some girls who go to the Church of God asked me to take their picture. I obliged & then told them about myself & the love God has for them. They told me they would try to make tonight’s service. In the afternoon, we attended a funeral which was very uplifting. The service last night was very powerful. The Bethany Youth Choir sang some songs & I again gave my testimony. I read some verses from the book of Isaiah & the two preachers who followed me made mention of the same passages. I seem to be feeling more comfortable with the people & have told many of them what a glorious day it will be when we are all together in heaven. Ricky was at the service & I pray that God will touch his heart. I finally got a picture wit Jillian & Violet.
May 25th, 1991 8:08 AM Saturday
The days here in Jamaica get better & better each & every day. Katherine, Millie, Shawnea, Stacey, & I went to Christiana, Mandeville, & Mile Gully. The market was packed & included the meat section with every part imaginable in plain view. It was a very long day as we returned to Bethany Manse at 3:30 PM. Laverne fixed us our lunch & I ate until I could eat no more. I went over to the church early to spend time with my many new friends. My ability to be accepted by so many people is due to the Holy Spirit living & acting in my body the same way Jesus would. I took a walk before the service with some of the youth choir. We strolled down the road to the Shoppe running into Gary on the way. After returning to the Manse, I had a long chat with Gary & I hope & pray that he will hear God’s voice speak to him. I again sat with the choir during the service. The girls I had met on Thursday did make it to the service & I had a very emotional conversation with one of them. I am to visit her & her family after breakfast. May God continue to use such an unworthy soul as I to proclaim His Holy Word!
May 26th, 1991 Sunday
It is now Sunday which means we have only three more days here at Bethany Manse. Time does fly when you are having fun. My visit with Narda Palmer & her family was very interesting. I went with her to the Church of God to meet her father. On the way back, I had an opportunity to share with Eugent who is an older man with a drinking problem. May the Lord open his heart to the love & peace that Jesus has to offer. Saturday afternoon was spent with the Bethany & Top Hill youth. We started the day with a Love Feast. Other events included crafts, Bible study, & recreation which were led by Andy, Shawnea, & me. I was more of the photographer early than I was game leader. There were about eighty-five children who participated. Life here in Jamaica seems relatively simple but in fact is very complicated in the family. Out of all the youth here yesterday, Ken told me that only one family all attend church. May God work in the lives of the youth to show their families the need of being in the much larger & more important family of God. As I write, I look out the dining room window, across the valley I see another church on top of a hill. May God use these churches to spread the saving grace of Jesus to the people.
May 27th, 1991 9:26 AM Monday
We have just returned from leading a devotional at Bethany school. Yesterday was a long & productive day. Stacey, Travis, & I were the teachers for ages eight thru twelve. At the morning service, I read the Scripture reading which was 1 Corinthians 13. After the service, many of the members came forward to rededicate themselves to Jesus Christ. For lunch we went to Elaine Shields’ house in Mile Gully. There were at least fifty people with plenty of food to spare. Tonight we are to eat dinner at Rocky Shields’ house in Mandeville. We returned to the Manse around 6:00 PM. This gave me some time to spend with the children. At the service last night, the movie “A Cry from the Mountain” was shown. It stressed the importance of having Jesus Christ in your life in order to have a successful family. Several people came forward to admit to God how much they need Him in control. In fact, I had the joy of talking to Ricky’s wife Beryil. She apologized to me for not speaking to me the day I met Ricky. We prayed together & God sent me His peace for my part in proclaiming His Word. God, please continue to grant me the peace & joy I receive from You by following Your will & not my own selfish motives.
May 28th, 1991 10:30 AM Tuesday
Devotions at Bethany school were very emotional this morning. Tears came to my eyes as I said farewell to all the children. Lord, keep those who believe strong & those who don’t, send Your Spirit to enter into each & every one of them. Yesterday, we cleared some rocks off the road which had fallen down the hill. Andy, Ben, Travis, & I played baseball before lunch with lots of blood shed on my part. We returned to the school to finish the leather wrist bands after lunch. It was quite an experience to stain a few hundred bands. I asked Jello to sing a duet with me. We practiced for a few minutes & will sing “Father I Adore You” in both English & Spanish at tonight’s service. We had dinner at Rocky Shield’s house. He has one of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen. On the way there & back, Shawnea sat on one knee & Cheri on the other. Sadness & happiness are intertwined in my whole being. My sadness includes this being our last day here in the mountains of Jamaica. An even deeper sorrow is for those who still do not believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins so they might have eternal life. My joy is from God who has blessed me with an inner peace that is as calm as this majestic countryside.
May 29th, 1991 7:57 AM Wednesday
Mr. Hyman just drove Andy & me up to Bethany Manse. Yesterday was our last full day here in the mountains. After lunch, a few of us walked to the crossroads to catch a taxi. We went to visit the Children’s Home & I had the opportunity to play soccer with the children as well as talk to Brother Benson. Several of the children rode with us back to the Manse. I am really going to miss all of my many new friends. The service last night was filled with many great songs. Even some of the Jamaicans have caught on to my style of dancing. I wish we would have kept going all night long. My tears were all shed at school in the morning which enabled me to be happy on our last night. Shelly, who goes to Bethany school, accepted Christ last night. May God continue to work in the lives of those we have had contact with. I pray that His Spirit will fill those who believe with a desire to tell others about the “Wonderful Words of Life.” My lack of sustained sadness might be due to the fact that I will return very soon to Jamaica. May God prepare me for what lies ahead & continue to reveal to me His will. I have deep feelings for the people of this Island & know that God will use the experiences I have had here to further the expansion of His glorious Kingdom.
Tuesday July 16th, 1991 7:17 AM
It has been quite a long time since I last wrote. I have been working at Grace Presbyterian church for a month & a half. Besides going to Peg’s wedding last weekend, I had an opportunity to spend time with both Peg & Paul a couple of weeks before their wedding. I am presently sitting at a picnic table in Henry Horton State Park. We are here with nine girls & eight boys. In the past, I have been unhappy about where I am because of my longing to be a missionary overseas. I have been trying very hard to be joyful wherever I may be. Instead of feeling depressed about not being where I would like to be, I have been trying to make the most of the time that I have for learning more about God & His plan for my life. I have been spending a large portion of my money to acquire books that are helping me to become a better servant of God. I am hopeful that by the end of August I will have an extensive library with a wide variety of topics & issues. I have followed up on the opportunity to work at the New Vision Children’s Home in Jamaica. I really hope to return to Jamaica but I have faith that whatever is God’s will for me, I will accept it & do my best to glorify His name.
Wednesday July 17th, 1991 7:15 AM
Surrendering all to Jesus is definitely more than a one time thing. It is even more than a once a day thing. It seems like I am in a continuous battle between the Spirit of Jesus which is inside me & the flesh. Until I release hold of my desires & anxieties, I will not enjoy the joy & peace of God that is available to all of us. Lord, I want to love You & trust You more & more each day. The words of Daniel J. Iverson should be dwelled on.
“Spirit of the Living God”
Spirit of the living God; fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God; fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God; fall afresh on me.
We are in a constant process of surrendering our wills to that of a higher calling, the expansion & betterment of God’s glorious Kingdom. Every minute of every day, we have to make a choice as to who we are gong to serve. Are we going to serve the world & try to satisfy our sensual desires? Are we going to serve God & put Him in front of all else? I choose to serve God & deny myself of the temporary satisfaction that is readily available in this country. My life, when I am living with the Holy Spirit as my guide, is one of excitement, adventure, & challenges. Praise the Lord!
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