The Erins

The latter portion of my Jamaica trip was characterized by an unprecedented visit to LAC by Erin Alter, LCMS Director of Short-Term Mission. She had sit in on the spring FORO, but an absence of partners put the kibosh on a traditional semi-annual partner meeting. Nonetheless, her keen, experienced eye helped me sort through some questions regarding the future of short-term teams in Jamaica. We talked all morning on Saturday while Charles led a pastoral formation module for a handful of local men. Then, it was off on an adventure through the famed Blue Mountains!

Undeterred by this sign, we drove on. 

The mist lent a certain mystique to stunning views of Kingston in the valley below. 

Some of the most famous coffee beans in the world, folks. 

Section, Jamaica: the climax of the drive, at which point we were seriously asking ourselves "Is this a road?!?" Google Maps was useless, so all we had to go on was the advice of a dreadlocked guy who sold Charles an unmarked bag of coffee while eating a banana and sent us off with a fist bump and "One love."

His directions were spot on! The scenery on the way down wasn't half bad, either. We turned west when we hit the north coast and looped back to Kingtson. Between last trip's drive to Bath Mountain, flying out of Montego Bay 2x, and this five hour trek, I feel like I've seen SO much of the neighboring island I've grown to love.  

This was my third time in Jamaica but the first time I've been there on a Sunday. I was beyond excited to worship with my Jamaican brothers and sisters in Christ. Charles preached at both Sunday morning services we attended. 

Faith Lutheran Church - an urban congregation with an abundance of children & youth, but markedly few men. 

Charles and Goodness, Rev. Obot & Abas Ite's 5 year old daughter, are besties. 

St. Andrew Lutheran Church, whose current worship space in the Ministry Centre will relocate to another portion of the building, freeing it up to become an apartment for a 2nd pastor. 

Following the service at St. Andrew, Lutheran Ministries in Jamaica (LMJ) held its annual board meeting. "The Erins" (as Rev. Ite prayed for us at St. Andrew!) sat in as guests. Erin A. brought greetings on behalf of her team and explained how her role supports LMJ's strategic plan. 

We took the Ite family out for Chinese on Sunday evening. 

Goodness was shy the first time I met her. NOT this time! We're besties now, too. 

Erin A. departed Monday morning, leaving Charles & I on our own to make our umpteenth trip to the hardware store, scout out a daunting but exciting possibility for the future of LCMS mission work in Kingston, seal the Ministry Centre's new water heater from the elements, and reflect on the past seven days over "Jamexican" for dinner. Pray that our presence would be an encouragement to the local ministry leaders, that the momentum generated would continue, and that initial conversations regarding the 2nd pastor might prove fruitful. 

Until next time, blessings!