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This fundraiser ended on 11/30/12

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I am seeking donations for the Jamaican Mission Project as well as to raise funds for my expenses during the trip.

I am volunteering with a mission group from Peru Community Church, Peru, NY in Jamaica to work with people less fortunate than myself. The Peru mission is supported by donations but each volunteer pays about $1,500 to go on the week long trip. Each volunteer takes an extra suitcase filled with medicines, tools, or clothing for as many as possible. Please help us to reach many more.

The following is a summary of the mission's 2012 trip authored by the group's founder, Harriet Burrell.

Each year our Mission to Jamaica grows. Each year we wind up touching more lives in big ways and in small. We return from our travels flush with stories, mostly about the big projects we achieved and leave out the little accomplishments. Here is a running list of things we were able to do in our short time in Jamaica.

Luther Atkinson, a farmer who is approaching 70 lives alone. His house is made of scraps of wood, tin and cardboard. It leans away from the prevailing winds to the point where a rope and pole positioned just right are the only things keeping if from collapsing. Luther was our main emphasis in this year’s mission. We built him a new solid house with windows, door and little porch. We bought him a new bed and bedding to sleep on. He has a very long daily walk to the nearest stand-pipe of fresh water and so we bought him a donkey to help him carry it and also to take his crops to market. He was so over-whelmed with his good fortune he wished he could go to church and thank God on a regular basis but he had no good clothes. We gave the Ridgemount Church outreach chairperson $50 to help buy clothes and arrange transportation for him to get to church. Luther’s life on the hillside above Mandeville, in the heart of rural Jamaica, will never be the same. God touched his life through our hands and we also will never be the same.

Members of our Mission group spent two days visiting the Evon Grant School for 3-6 year old children and made a huge impression on the little ones. They brought with them piles of school supplies and taught them about our part of the world through lessons on apples. The children also learned about dental hygiene and were all given new toothbrushes. The Mission team members learned that school Principal Miss Nellie started teaching some 50 years earlier under a tree in her back yard and has a wealth of wonderful stories to tell.

Two other mornings, were spent by part of our group, at the New Hope Children’s home. Started years ago by Californian Amanda Williams and her Jamaican husband Lincoln, the school has found permanent homes for 300 children who were under the age of 6 years. This year, we were very fortunate to be able to present to Amanda, a gift of $300 (US) from the Plattsburgh Sunrise Rotary. This donation is enough to pay for the care of one child for a whole year. We also brought with us suitcases of children’s clothes and shoes that are badly needed. One day when our group arrived, we brought with us grocery bags of peanut butter and powdered milk. Another day, we brought needed hardware items for them to do necessary repairs. Mission Member, Phil Madore on his visit, took time out from cuddling babies to help them move and hook up a new stove.

Our old friend Roy Jones gets a yearly visit for a catch-up chat and to fix small things around his house that he is unable to do himself. This year, Pete Lake, George and Harriet spent half a day repairing corroded plumbing and arranging to have his solar hot water repaired. We arrange and pay for a year’s supply of urinary products Roy will need. Having the full supply on hand at his house has proved to be a God-send for him, keeping urinary infections at bay. The workers compensation insurance company in the US reimburses the church for any accident-related expenses we incur. This was also the year (every other year) for bringing a wheelchair down to Roy. His only exercise is pumping up the hilly road by his house and whizzing down (at dizzying speed!) While visiting with Roy and his family, we found out that his 7 year old grandson, Nick is in need of special schooling for speech therapy. While they have tuition money for him, they do not have taxi fare to get him to school each day. Our group talked this over and before we knew it, the mission members had donated half the needed money and the mission donated the balance. Nick will have the opportunity to learn to speak and hopefully thrive.

Each year, we try to visit people who we have built for or who have touched our lives in years past. This year, we were visited by the Sterling family. They are doing extremely well. We found them at a crossroads in their lives where the strain of a family of 7 living under one small roof was unbearable. They now are thriving. While Mr. Sterling is currently unemployed, his wife, Faith, has a good job and has managed to graduate from college. We were able to give them bags and bags of new clothes for the kids. It was like Christmas for them.

We visited Ricky Ingraham whose family we built for last year. It’s been a difficult year for him as his wife, Pam died just months after we left. He is left to try to care for and provide for his 5 sons. The youngest is living with an aunt but the rest are with him. We brought him bags of groceries and returned with Nurse Barbara Wagner to treat an infection he had on his foot.

Time ran out before we were able to deliver the bags of specialized food we had for Felix Russell, a man we built a house for 5 years ago. He suffered a stroke a few years later and has been living in the “infirmary” or nursing home since. Each year we try to see him and he remembers us and is ever so thankful. From his dilapidated bed in a room with 50 other beds he tells us, “God is Good”.

We build strong bonds with all the people who touch our lives in Jamaica. They have so much to teach us. All year, when we least expect it, our thoughts will stray back to them and wonder how they are doing. We can be sure that we have been blessed by knowing each of them.

Harriet Burrell

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