I spent the first week of 2016 in Harmons, Jamaica, serving with the Won By One to Jamaica project.
During the week, I got to live out what I believe is God's calling for my life. I helped build a house and lay a foundation alongside Jamaicans while investing in their lives in order to show them who Christ is - the true foundation.
Little did I know that I would be changed as much as I was and in the way I was. God changed my heart by the joy of the people. The people, who I went to with the intention of helping, showed me Christ's heart in a new light.
What amazes me is this is too often the case with mission trips. The missionary goes with the mindset of, "What can I do to make a difference in the lives of these people?" which is a great question!
But I am finding we should rather be asking "How can I reflect Christ today to bring Him glory?" in order to open our hearts to how Christ will move not just through us, but in us.
On a trip to the infirmary, where the nursing students who were there for the week also were serving, we were all encouraged to talk to, love on, read to and spend time with the patients.
I felt a little out of my element and was unsure if this visit could do anything for me or even if I could do anything for any of the patients. I came across a woman named Ina who laid still in her bed staring in my direction.
I approached her bed and introduced myself. I began to ask her about where she is from, her family and other typical questions you ask when you first meet someone.
I was heartbroken to hear that her only answer was "I don't remember." Who knows how much wisdom this woman possesses inside her because of Christ? Such wisdom that I would not be able to hear because of the horrifying truth that the evil one seeks to steal, kill and destroy and he does so in this way.
I was excited to see a Bible sitting on her bedside table. I asked if I could read to her. I began reading through Psalms. I could hear her repeating the words as I read, astounded that she knew all these Psalms by heart. When I approached a Psalm, like Psalm 22, that read
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest."
I would choke back tears and wonder if I should skip to the next Psalm without saying anything. But I would continue because I could hear Ina saying "Praise Jesus!" as I said the words "forsaken" and "no rest." Ina had found her hope in the verses following.
"Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame."
After I finished Psalm 22, I set the Bible in my lap and began singing "Forever" by Kari Jobe. I knew that Ina would not know the song, but I felt as though she needed to hear the truths of the song. But once again, God blew my mind and Ina began to sing along to the tune. Her accent made her words hard to understand, but I could hear "Praise the Lord" and "He is good" clear as day.
God is so good, y'all. I cannot put into any other words how grateful I am for the experiences I had in Jamaica. A piece of my heart has once again been left in another country and among a beautiful and joyous people. God bless Jamaica.
Kayla Bolin is a student at Amarillo College and served as a Go Now missionary in Jamaica over Christmas break.