Dad with a Mission

We have such servant-minded Home Parent Dads at Coyote Hill. One of those recently did an incredible thing for two young ladies in his home – he took them to Jamaica on a mission trip. Home Parent Dad in The Zimmer Home, Al Howell, tells us about their life-changing week:

“Mindy* and Katie* had never flown before, so they were both nervous. Katie was literally turning blue as we waited at the airport! I laughingly asked her, ‘Do you realize you are changing colors?’ She did great though, and now she’s ready to fly in a bi-plane and do barrel rolls and all that stuff…it’s no big deal to her anymore.

Besides bringing our own clothes and stuff for the week, each team member was asked to bring two checked bags – holding 50 lbs. of clothing donations. Our team LITERALLY took a ton of stuff – 2,000 lbs. of clothes and supplies. Those were then taken to Won by One’s thrift store – which employs a few of the local people and sells the items very cheaply in order to not make the locals dependent upon “hand outs” while also giving them the dignity and responsibility of purchasing clothing for their families.

*names changed for sake of confidentiality

Won by One is an amazing ministry, it was cool to see how they minister in this poor village of Harmons and be a part of it. The cost of our trip was not only for our airfare and cost of taking care of us while there. We also paid for building supplies – enough to build two houses and pour the foundation for three more – while we were there that week. Then those three foundations will be built upon next week by the next team that is coming, and so forth.

Thus, a lot of our work was construction. But also, Won by One’s main purposes is building relations with the Jamaican people. So a portion of the cost of our trip also went to hire local laborers to help with the construction. In everything we did, we were looking to interact with local people. Mindy and Katie did a fantastic job just playing with any children that showed up throughout the day at the job site. One young 11 year old girl showed up every evening just so she could hang out with Katie. You would have thought they were sisters or something, the way they danced, talked and laughed together every evening.

On our first night there we participated in “Meals on Heals.” Won by One purchased food for local underprivileged people, and then those people prepared the food and invited team members into their homes. It was really neat to sit down and share a meal with this extremely poor woman who was so happy to be serving us.

Our team also went to visit a local infirmary one evening. Both girls were nervous about it. The infirmary is very understaffed – 137 residents and only a handful of staff. It was a little scary for the girls – kind of like a nursing home, but much more sad…people with mental disabilities and physical deformities, etc. Many of the people in the home have just been abandoned there by family members who don’t want to take care of them. But Won by One teams go there regularly just to read to patients, give them a back rub or sit and visit with them. One of the staff told us that he once asked a blind, bedridden patient what he liked to do. The patient replied that he liked to listen for planes flying overhead, because that meant that maybe another Won by One team was coming, and maybe someone would soon be coming to spend time with him.

That evening’s visit made such an impression on the girls that they opted to go spend all of the following day at the infirmary. It was so neat, for me as their dad, to see them sitting and reading scripture to the patients. And it was amazing – some of those patients were mouthing the words right along with the girls, even though they couldn’t see or read the words! Before it was over, both of my girls had given away their Bibles to someone, and Katie had become so attached to one very elderly lady, Beatrice, that she said she HAS to go back next year, even if she’s no longer at Coyote Hill, because she just has to see Beatrice again.

The last day on the job site, Friday, we held a house dedication ceremony for the two homes that we’d constructed. The lady who was receiving the home that we’d worked on was so very, very grateful – even for just this little tiny house.

Thankfulness was a common theme that we saw everywhere, even amongst the poorest of people. A person may not have food to eat on any given day, yet they still found some reason to give thanks to God. I overheard one man in the infirmary say that he was thankful God had taken away his eyesight, so that he would be less distracted with the things of this life and could focus on what was important. That kind of attitude was eye-opening and inspiring to not only the girls, but also to me.”

Thanks so much for your support that makes amazing opportunities like this a possibility for our kids!

The team, in Harmons, Jamaica