I Am Blessed: Mission trip takes team out of their comfort zone
By Pamela Driscoll
For 15 years, Old Saratoga Reformed Church and First Presbyterian Church in Oneonta have partnered to do mission work at the Pringle Home Orphanage in St. Mary's Parish, Jamaica. Currently 27 children reside at the Pringle Home, which is funded in part by the government of Jamaica and the Presbyterian Church in Jamaica.
Twelve members of Old Saratoga Reformed Church have traveled to Pringle Home, some five or six times. Before each trip, team members are commissioned during a Sunday service. Other members of our congregation look forward to hearing about the trip, so team members reflect on their experiences during a Jamaica Sunday. This can be an emotional experience for the congregation as well as for the team members. Funding for the trips has primarily been provided by deposits collected from bottles and cans which have been donated to the church.
I had the privilege to travel to the Pringle Home for the second time in July. I was accompanied by my son, Brian, and Nasa Edgar from our church, Dale Trojan from West Glenville Reformed Church, and six others who were commissioned through First Presbyterian Church of Oneonta.
Being part of this mission team means moving "outside your comfort zone." The thought of long days in a hot, humid, buggy climate with carefully rationed running water, no phone, no Internet, no daily newspaper or close medical facilities might make one apprehensive. However, travel to the Pringle Home was nothing short of rewarding—emotionally and spiritually.
After our arrival, we painted, stained, and hung doors, replaced cabinetry, stripped and stained tables, and did general carpentry work. We gave sandals and clothing to the children. We did beading, made string bracelets, went on "Easter egg hunts," colored, had talent shows, and spent countless hours with children on our laps. We experienced a true unabashed joy that these children show when they worship God. Each and every day, they raise their arms toward heaven and their voices in songs of praise. They open their hearts readily and give love willingly. Who couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by all of this? They are happy, grateful to have the little that they do have. They are content and they are truly blessed.
"I am blessed." We heard these three words many times in Jamaica, and they ring true for each and every one of us.
Pamela Driscoll is a member of Old Saratoga Reformed Church in Schuylerville, New York. She was on the Jamaica mission teams in 2001 and 2013.