The late Pastor Bobby Wilmot had many proverbs in his mind, and he would bring just the right one out to speak into any situation. One of his favourite was:
“Success is dealing with people, places and things as they are, not as you want them to be.”
At this time of year, back to school time, our team in Jamaica would normally find a way to bless families in the inner city as they prepare for a new school year. In past years we have helped families with book vouchers and grocery vouchers, or some school supplies, but as we have reached out to the parents this year; their one request has been for us to bring grocery packages. This is because face to face school has been closed since March 2020, and although the government still plans to reopen schools in September, there is significant uncertainty among the parents about how it will all work, so if they have groceries to feed the family, that will ease some pressure and they can use any extra money for school expenses.
One challenge with this is that most of our volunteers are working, and preparing food packages (especially enough for 300 families to receive) means that we need to pack out all the bulk goods into small quantities, and then pack these, along with tinned food and fresh items into the packages. This takes a decent sized team of people many hours of work … and we simply don’t have a decent sized team available at the moment.
Another challenge is that one side of the community has bad relationships with the other side of the community, so even our Christmas present programme saw some arguments breaking out between the two sides because they view one another with so much suspicion, so we can’t restrict the food packages to only one section of the community because that would play into the divisions and make things worse.
So we were praying last week and thinking of Pastor Bobby’s proverb … if this is things as they are, what does success look like here?
The following morning an idea suddenly dropped into my mind, so I shared it with some of the team and they were excited. The idea was to do the food packages over two weekends, and recruit a team from one side of the community help with the work and also help deliver the packages to the other side. The following weekend we will switch it around, so that both sides of the community get to serve and bless the other, and both blessed by the other, and everyone receives.
We prayed about this and then went to suggest it to some of the parents we know well from each side. The first response was an enthusiastic, “Yeah man, mi redi!!”, the second, a joyful “Dat mek a lot a sense!”, the third, “Mi lov it! Mi will ‘elp” and so on.
The following day we received an unexpected donation of bags of rice, tinned food and cup noodles that we hadn’t asked for … so that was timely confirmation that this is the right way to go. What was so encouraging was the enthusiasm and excitement on the part of the community members to be part of improving the relationships within the community, as well as to help get the job done.
We will do the deliveries on September 18th and 25th, so please pray for it to be a real blessing to everyone who is involved, and for God to bless each interaction with His presence.