Church makes impact in Jamaica (Aug. 2, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Church makes impact in Jamaica

Aug. 2, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0128}

An e-Review Feature
By Gary Tiller**

JACKSONVILLE BEACH — Twenty-six students and nine adult leaders from Beach United Methodist Church here returned late last month from a 10-day mission trip to the mountains of central Jamaica that made an impact on both the team members and the Jamaican people they visited.

CLAREMONT, Jamaica — Andrew Davis, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach and a student at Florida State University, assists two Jamaican children during Vacation Bible School here. Davis was a member of a mission team from Beach United Methodist Church, Jacksonville Beach,that spent 10 days in the mountains of central Jamaica. Photo by Chuck Kennedy, Photo #04-0052.

The missionary team led a Vacation Bible School program for more than 300 Jamaican children in the communities of Claremont and York Castle and visited patients at the St. Ann's Bay infirmary where they sang and served meals to many of the occupants, who are invalids. Several of the missionary team also visited the St. Ann's female homeless center, and most of the group participated in a sports outreach program on the soccer fields in Lime Hall, Jamaica.

"This is my fourth missionary trip to Jamaica, and by far, this is the most dedicated and committed group of students I have ever had on a trip like this," said Joby Martin, the church's director of student ministries.  "I am so proud of each one of them and the boldness of faith that they exhibited." 

Jamaican church leaders in the area said it was the most successful children's Bible school program ever undertaken at their facilities.

CLAREMONT, Jamaica — Several members of the mission team from Beach United Methodist Church, Jacksonville Beach, play with the Jamaican children during their recent journey to the mountains of central Jamaica. Church members pictured are (from left to right) Emma Knopp, a student at Fletcher High School; Lynn Northup, an adult member of the team from Atlantic Beach;  Susan Tiller, an adult member from Ponte Vedra;  and Courtney Stahlman and Ashley Sweat, both Fletcher High School students. Photo by Chuck Kennedy, Photo #04-0053.

"This trip and experience has changed my life," said Maria Dunlap, a recent graduate of Fletcher High School who will attend Flagler College in the fall. "From now on I will appreciate each day and all the blessings God has given me."

Greylyn Paluszynski, a sophomore at the Douglas Anderson School, was equally impacted by the experience. "The love and warmth of the Jamaican people and the smiles on the children's faces will forever be etched in my mind," she said. 

The church's team was sponsored by Adventures In Missions (AIM), an interdenominational short-term missions organization based in Gainesville, Ga. AIM's objective is to mobilize and equip a new breed of missionary-the short-term missionary-for minimum-term mission projects in countries throughout the world.

Leaders of the church's mission team say they will stay in touch with their newfound friends and plan to return to the Jamaican mountains next summer.

For more information about the trip contact Joby Martin or Karen Agan at 904-249-2343, or


This article relates to Missions.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Tiller is a member of Beach United Methodist Church.

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