Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. I’m guessing you’re a bit curious. What could be so important about the years I lived in Jamaica that I would be writing about them nearly 40 years later? After all, I only lived there 7 years.
But it was 7 years of growth and stretching like I haven’t experienced since!
Setting the stage for our move to Jamaica
Let me set the stage. We moved to Jamaica shortly after our second wedding anniversary. Before our move, we had a miscarriage. Soon, I was pregnant again and went almost full term (8 months) when I suddenly started swelling. I checked in with the doctor and even though my blood pressure wasn’t shockingly high, it was up. The worst part was that the protein in my urine was 4+. With a history of seizures, they put me in the hospital! It was June of 1970! There were no monitors or routine ultrasounds like there are today.
Despite bedrest and each shift checks of her heartbeat, our little girl’s activity slowed and eventually, on a routine check of her heartbeat, no one could find it. That was it! The end. An EEG (yes, that’s what I mean) was done on my stomach to see if there was a glimmer of hope to find any life, in which case, they would have done a C-section, but it was gone!
This was my first introduction to the death of anyone close to me. It was not an introduction I wanted. We sobbed in the hospital of course. There was no one to help us with grief. Our pastor was really no help. His advice was couched in a prayer, “Please help us not to question You!”
I wanted to scream out, “Are you kidding me? Not question GOD? Who else can I question if I can’t ask Him!” But of course, I kept my questions silent realizing this man I had known for years, would not be a source of help for me. I went into labor a couple of days later and she was born June 27, 1970.His advice was couched in a prayer, Please help us not to question You. I wanted to scream out, Are you kidding me? Not question GOD? Click To Tweet
With that in the background,
we moved to Jamaica in early January 1971
A few months later, in January of 1971, we moved to Jamaica where my husband was a professor at Jamaica Bible College in Mandeville, Jamaica. The flight was a short one from Miami to Kingston, but the 2 hour drive up the mountain over winding roads was not as fast or easy as the flight.
I was early into a new pregnancy and I just wanted to sleep. Despite the fact that it was January, it was hot and humid in Kingston. We were with David Calhoun, our principal, a former professor of mine at Columbia Bible College (now Columbia international University.) It was nice to see a familiar face. We spent some time in Kingston making arrangements for our cargo that arrived earlier, to be delivered to our home in Mandeville
As my head throbbed and my body ached, we had lunch. I don’t even remember many of the details now. At some point during the next week, our cargo arrived in Mandeville.
Riding on the left side of a winding road can be a bit harrowing the first time!
We worked our way from Kingston to Mandeville (2000 ft. elevation) on the narrow, winding roads. Driving on the left side of the road didn’t make it any easier for this back seat passenger…especially when goats, chickens and people didn’t seem in a hurry to get out of the way. The curvy roads led us up to the coolness of Mandeville. But not before their effect was felt on me. I didn’t throw up, but winding on those roads definitely had me felling nauseated. Ugh! I just wanted that ride to end.We worked our way from Kingston to Mandeville on the narrow, winding roads. Driving on the left side of the road didn't make it any easier for this back seat passenger. Click To Tweet
Imagine winding roads on what feels like the wrong side of the road, going faster than feels comfortable and when you get to curves, the driver just beeps to let the people coming from the other direction know he got there first! I had to close my eyes! Maybe if I didn’t look, I wouldn’t see us get hit by whatever car or truck was coming from the opposite direction!
Dave and Ron discussed how fun it was to drive in Jamaica, in the front seat. It wasn’t long before Ron agreed. This was going to be a fun adventure for him! His love of driving was going to blend well into this culture where he would learn a new style of driving to add to his skills. I think testosterone flowing in one’s bloodstream was definitely needed for driving here and finding it fun!
My feeling was that I would never drive in this country…ever! I didn’t keep that promise, of course. Eventually, I ate those words that I never spoke aloud.
Finally in our new home
We arrived at our destination and our tiny apartment which was just right for us. We cleaned up a bit and were welcomed by the Calhoun family for supper that evening.
After dinner with the Calhouns, we went to our apartment and went to bed! We had arrived in Jamaica. We were home. This was going to be our home for the next 7 years. Tomorrow would be soon enough to explore the campus. We were tired.
Over the next 7 years, I was going to learn a lot
I had no idea how much I would learn during that time. How much GOD would use the people in this place, both Jamaicans and ex-pats to grow me in ways I wouldn’t always want to grow…but needed to. I was going to grow in grace AND truth.
Life would change me as I lost my father suddenly, birthed 3 daughters, began ministering to broken women along with other broken women and began seeing how broken I was as well! Yes, the next 7 years was going to be quite a training ground for me as I grew up and learned about life and adulthood.
Over the next 31 days, I’ll be sharing some of what I learned. It is almost 40 years ago that we left Jamaica, but the things I learned while living there have been deeply imprinted on my heart and soul! It was the beginning of living a life characterized by GOD’s gritty grace!
Challenge: As you look back at your life, can you see a time in your life when you were, maybe are right now, in a pressure cooker of change or learning a lot about yourself or life in general?
Is it possible that GOD is preparing you for your next step or building a foundation for the rest of your life?
How are you handling it? Are you becoming embittered and resentful? Are you learning to submit to His teaching and training?