Jamaica Container Information
As Pastor Rich mentioned in the Annual Meeting, and as you will see in front of the church, we are partnering with area churches to load up and ship out a container to Jamaica. Items will be gathered and purchased for 3 different organizations in Jamaica. Below you will find information on the three organizations that we are sending to, as well as a list of items that you can contribute. Please note that any donated items MUST be on the list and in VERY GOOD condition. You can bring items to Sunday Worship now through February 15th. If you have any questions please call the church office at 605-271-3456.
Items to be collected:
USED IN NEARLY NEW SHAPE:
*5'8 / 9'6 carpets (about 3)
*pre-school educational toys
*Comforters (any amount) lightweight (girls and boys twin)
*Large lightweight blankets (any amount) lightweight (girls and boys twin)
*Hoola hoop (various size & colors)
*Diapers (Pampers or Up & Up Brands, sizes 2-5)
*Cases/Boxes of individually wrapped snacks (peanuts, mixed nuts, trail mix, granola bars, fig
bars, goldfish, peanut butter or cheese cracker sandwiches, animal crackers, fruit snacks)
Robin’s Nest in Montego Bay
Mission statement: We pray that Robin's Nest will provide a nurturing, loving, safe, Christ-centered atmosphere in which all children will grow at their own speed --physically, mentally, and spiritually -- so they may develop their own individual gifts, talents and abilities and become the person who God intended.
Vision statement – Our vision is to provide a safe and secure Christian environment for the children God places in our care while providing basic needs, medical care, unconditional love, and education they need to grow. Our goal is to transform hurting children into spiritually, physically, and mentally healthy believers prepared to impact the world around them.
The story begins with an obedient servant’s heart and a love for children. Some of us are called to serve locally while others feel led to serve internationally. And that is exactly what founder, Michelle Robinette, did in 1997 when she went on a mission trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Little did she know the trip would change her life forever. She spent time visiting children at a local orphanage and soon felt led the following year not only to care for hurting children on the island, but desired to start a new place where more kids could call "home".
The Nest is licensed for 35 children and usually full. There is also approximately 35 staff. Most work 12 hour shifts and it takes many about 2 hours to get to work. We have 4 directors on site presently; a retired couple, Kevin & Janet, a social worker – Danielle Straka and Elizabeth Lowe, our financial director. The Nest is truly blessed to have so many wonderful people give of their time and talents to care for the hurting kids in Jamaica! Each director not only commits an extended time period to serve at the Nest but also raises their own support before arriving.
The Nest has teams up to the size of 16 persons onsite for the majority of the year. They are of great help plus it’s great to watch their lives change from serving in a 3rd world country. We are also blessed with interns who stay at least a month and some up to a year or more.
The phrase, “family runs deeper than blood”, couldn’t be more accurate to describe how we view each child at Robin’s Nest Children’s Home! All of the kids in our care come to us because they need a safe place to be loved unconditionally. One way we try to give each of them a home is to provide them with consistent caregivers. We have approximately 35 staff members, most working 12 hour shifts/3 days a week and it takes some around 2 hours to get to work. We have nurses, pod moms, cooks, teachers, drivers, grounds keepers, and mechanics. The kids are organized into “pods” which are small groups manageable for a pod-mom to show individualized care to each child (divided between day/night shifts). This ensures the kids receive specialized attention, interact with others around the same age (like siblings in a family), and gives them the same person to love and bond with like a mother. The older boys, ages 8-13, stay in Jake’s House complete with bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, dining room and living room. The younger kids live up the hill at the Main House.
Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf
OUR MISSION: The basic aim of the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf is to develop a well-integrated Christian person, morally upright, emotionally mature and ready for the outside world.
In order to do that we strive:
- To provide experiences, which will help students to understand who he or she is, what they are worth in society and how to maintain and live a Christian life.
- To develop the intellect, cultivate skills, create abilities to discover talents and promote a sense of value.
- To foster good attitudes that will lead to social awareness, self-discipline and willingness to serve with a view to leading a useful life.
Director: Sophie Reid
The majority of public schools in Jamaica do not offer special classes or assistance to deaf children or children with other special needs. Many Jamaican deaf children are born into families that do not have the financial resources to provide their child with a private education or teach them a trade. These social and economic problems lead to a cultural climate in which deaf people are often overlooked and/or treated as outcasts.
Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf (JCSD) actively seeks out deaf children and works with their families to make it possible for them to receive an education in a safe and positive Christian environment. Our desire is to see each student reach his or her full potential. JCSD is a residential school. Most students live on campus four nights and five days a week, returning to their families on the weekends, for holidays and during the summer. There are some students that return home only when the school is closed during holidays and the summer. In addition to teaching our students sign language, we give them a solid education in Bible, Math, History, Science, and English. We also offer computer training and work experience for older students. Our students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular programs, which range from community service to dance and science clubs. We also offer vocational training in a separate building on campus, a work in progress.
(Ms. Reid adopted 2 boys from Robin’s Nest. She has been here to speak and Augustana students majoring in deaf education have visited there.)
Green Heights Assembly of God church
Pastor – Lorane Chisholm
Located in Green Pond, an impoverished area of Montego Bay
Founded in 1983
Since Paula Merkouris first visited us in 2001, our church has grown from 35 attending on Sunday to now over 200 in attendance with 386 members. We have enjoyed the times she has brought the children from the Nest to our Friday night youth service. My husband and I were pleased to spend some time with she and her husband when he was in Jamaica. And I have been honored to meet some of you through Paula as you have visited Robin’s Nest and may have met me while here. Some of you may have also met Big Fish, one of our worship leaders, who works in Branson 9 months of the year to support his family here. Thanks for the times he has visited your community and shared his talent with you. I look forward to visiting you in person some day as well.
For the past 8 years, people have had to stand outside and listen to the service over loudspeakers as the church has grown so fast. Building has begun but is very slow as we build as money comes in. We began an expansion in 2014 in hopes of completing by end of 2017. So far we have the shell done. We are praying for a sanctuary that can hold up over 500 people plus 5 Sunday school rooms. We have an open-air area finished for children’s church but very little furniture. Our greatest need at present is to finish at least 1 bathroom and have chairs to sit on. Because the new sanctuary will be around the old one, the present one is being torn down this week. Please pray for safety as this happens and that we will be able to continue to have church in our small yard.
We are so grateful to you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, for stepping up and sending this container to us and the other 2 ministries. I am so grateful for what both Robin’s Nest and Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf are doing. In Jamaica, almost all pastors must work full-time outside of the church in order to support the church as very few churches are able to pay for a pastor. My husband and I run a travel company in Montego Bay and are so grateful for this opportunity to support our family of 2 children and our church. We hope that when any of you visit Jamaica that you will let Paula know and that somehow I can meet you and possibly you can visit our church. We want you to see how your gifts are being used to further the gospel of Jesus Christ.