We have been living in Jamaica for 9 months now. Hard to believe. In some ways it feels like we just got here, yet others, it seems like forever since we left all that was comfortable and familiar "back home." There have been many transitions for our family: new home, new country, culture, new workplace and coworkers, new baby, new school year, new ministry we are pioneering here with YWAM. With the newness of so many things, we find ourselves facing new struggles, and with that we find new parts or aspects of our character which aren't always pleasant to discover. God is growing us.
Even though there have been great challenges, there have been great rewards. We praise God for his faithfulness in all areas. And specifically, we give thanks that the seed he planted in us to begin a skills training center, has not only taken root, but begun to bear fruit. October 6th, the New Life Wood Work program was officially birthed. With 4 students committed to the program, 2 teachers (Paul & Michelle), God, and all of you backing us up with prayer and support, what once was a vision is now a real thing in existence. Worship time, Wood Shop, Math Class, Bible Devotions, Theology Discussions, Reading Class and Prayer Ministry. We are already seeing great progress with the students. The students completed their own birdhouses for their first shop project in October, they helped to build a Homes of Hope house in November and are now building kitchen cabinets! And one of the students was happy to announce that he can finally read all the verses printed on the wall of the prayer room! There are so many great testimonies of what God is doing in their lives, even guiding them in restoring some family relationships. It is truly amazing to watch as the things we pray about begin to be redeemed.
The year's course is divided into 3 sessions, each 11 weeks in duration, and Level 1 is quickly approaching its completion. We are excited to be able to honor these young men next week at the annual YWAM Christmas banquet, where we will celebrate their accomplishments, and give God glory for all he is doing in their lives (and ours). 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come!
We are also very thankful for the opportunity to "go home" for Christmas, to be with family, and connect with our church and friends in Minnesota. We look forward to a time of refreshing, and pray God will continue to speak to us in regard to what is in store for the next session, which begins in January.
We give thanks for all the people God has brought in our path who have supported this vision, offered encouragement, friendship and prayer along the way. We know it is a long journey, and we are pleased to know we do not go alone. Please join us as we continue to pray for more financial supporters, for the funds to complete the new Skills Training building, and for more staff to come alongside this vision as teachers, administrators and mentors.