Jamaica Mission Experience 2017

Photo Courtesy of Carl Robanske

Jamaica Mission Experience 2017 Was a Success!

July of 2015 I was honored to serve just a fraction of Jamaica's orphans. The reality of how both the average Jamaican child and the average orphan lives - was shocking. Both struggle immensely, both with vital needs rarely met.  During our mission, our team built a security wall around a safe-house for sex trafficked girls as well as paid to install a security system to ensure their safety. 

See some of our photos >>
Learn more about Jamaica Mission 2015 >>

In March 2017 our team headed back to Jamaica. Our efforts went toward four big projects to serve and protect sex trafficked youth. Many projects still need finished and many basic essentials still need fulfilled. I'd love to talk more about how YOU can be part of our Jamaica Mission 2018, but first let me share our experiences from Jamaica Mission 2017!

Weekly Journal -

This week will consist of repainting a local church, constructing a new wall, tiling and painting a girls' safe-house, leading preschool, loving on young orphans, ministering to teens pulled out of sex trafficking.

Day One:
Yesterday our mission started with an incredible service at a local church. Jamaica's locals are incredibly inviting and humble. After, we drove an hour into the mountains to West Haven Home for Disabled to love on the children and adult residents there. Last night we spent time at a girls' safe-house crafting fun journals and ministering to the girls. Tattoos are commonly looked at as "unChristian" so some of us are really breaking boundaries and showing God's love has no limits. :)

Day Two:
Today I helped repaint a local church.

This evening I taught a painting class to the young ladies at the Father's House, a safe-house and transitional home for girls aged 16-21. The home is where we built the security wall in 2015 & our church paid to install a security system. We are met by 2-3 guards at the gates, so it's great knowing these young ladies are well protected.

At the Father's House most of the girls are enrolled in college with incredible goals to be teachers, social workers, admin managers, and more. One of the girls will be an educator endorsed in Spanish and another graduated with goals to be a lawyer!! These girls have big dreams. Pictured here is myself and Miss Ellis, the house "Mother", as I presented her with my painting as a gift. She is an amazing, hilarious and complete angel for the way she loves these girls, creates opportunities, and helps mold the best futures for the them.

Day Three:
I'm on my way to Blossom Gardens to cuddle toddler and infant orphans. Pray for me to help know they're so loved and that I'm able to come home without the weight of guilt I had last time. Shout our to our 2015 group and my beautiful daughter, you all are with us at heart every day and in many of our conversations. Muah!

We've really broken ground with the girls and they're excited about our visit tonight. I'm a bit thrilled about getting my hair braided, yassssss  <3

After: We spent some time with the young ladies at the Father's House. We have really connected with the girls and our night ended with lots of dancing and laughing.One of our group girls, an 11 year old, taught us all a routine she does in competition dance. Then the young ladies of the Father's House taught us their moves. We had such a blast and none of us wanted the night to end.

Day Four:
Today our team continued to work on the interior remodel and the exterior construction of the Bounty Hall Church. The guys on the site framed up a storage area around an old cage inside the church. The cage is where they locked up speakers among other things to keep safe. I did some spackling and prepped the drywall for painting. While that dried, I spent the afternoon wiping down dust and painting the inside of the area before priming the outer walls. The others dug a trench for the retaining wall we'll begin constructing tomorrow.

This evening we spent time with the girls at the Father's House. We preached the gospel and the girls had great questions - I could tell our answers left them very hopeful. We laughed and did mani-pedis and just had a blast before our goodbyes. I finally got my hair braided! It was extremely tough on all of us knowing we may never meet again as we hugged goodbye.

I'll have to write later about all the miracles and incredible stories that presented itself within each group, at each place. We have 4 huge daily projects and 3 evening stops at girls homes.

Day Five:
Today I'll finish the storage exterior walls and trim, then join in mixing concrete and stacking cinder block to construct the retaining wall. Hopefully we get our big projects finished at each site including clean up, since today is our last work day. However, we're fighting the rain. Late afternoon we'll head to Doc's Cove for our first down time since arriving Saturday night.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? - Romans 10:14

I Will Never Forget Jamaica 2017

I truly believe after hearing the incredible stories coming from Granville, the Melody House and the Preschool, that the Lord perfectly planned FORTY individuals attend the 2017 Jamaica Mission. Normally our church gets about twenty attendees, they work on two projects during the day and minister at one place in the evening. Commonly the same sites as previous years to continue building relationships and improving lives within those walls. However, this time around with 40 volunteers involved, more day projects and evening meetups were needed. I believe our entire mission, our biggest group ever - was God's perfect plan. It was His way of shaking things up by leading us to new places, by branching us out, taking us out of our comfort zones - to reach a certain few deeply hurting, frightened and misguided individuals.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.54.29 PMWhile in Jamaica, I built incredible relationships with the Jamaicans and my peers, as well as worked on some amazing projects -- but I believe the Lord sent many of us just to push a portion through certain doors. I saw unbelievable courage, love and guidance through my peers and THAT is what made our mission a complete success for me!

Here are just a few stories I'll NEVER forget. Stories I cry just thinking about, I get deeply emotional talking about. Stories I wasn't even present for
but that I am MOST thankful and grateful for. I'm incredibly grateful for my fellow servants for their leadership, their selfless love, for getting uncomfortable, and for the guidance they offered to those who needed it most. I know I'm forgetting a lot of stories, so please comment below - because I truly want to note them all as it adds to the success of our mission...

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.54.53 PMI will never forget Aimee Salter's story about how she found a way to connect with a lonely, bullied teen. How she was unsure what was wrong at first because rather than acknowledging the teen was deaf, her peers called her dumb and unresponsive. Aimee dug deep and chanced using the little sign language she learned years ago. The girl's face lit up - Aimee had a break through. She made a lonely girl feel valued and worthy of finding a deeper way to connect. What I love most about Aimee's story is that Aimee is a quiet and reserved woman who was completely out of her element, yet she persevered and because of that she made a connection. She used sign language to show she cared and to tell her she was beautiful.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.01.50 PMI will never forget Kathy Reeves's story of how she collected prayer requests from teen orphans and how she took the time while waiting on the bus to read a young girl's prayer request. Just before leaving she bolted off the bus to run to this girl, to hold her and to tell her that the horrible tragedies she endured and the violence against her were NONE of her fault. Kathy showed this girl that she was WORTH COMING BACK FOR, that she was worth knowing the truth, and how incredibly important it was to Kathy that she knew she can and should be free of guilt.

I will never forget Shannon Sears Persinger's stories of how she comforted, prayed with and offered guidance to frightened & broken teens - some who were mothers, mothers to be, who lived lives filled with abuse and continuous tragedy. They saw something in Shannon comforting enough to confide in her and share their darkest moments and worst fears. Shannon showed unconditional love & understanding and managed to tear down very guarded walls. Those girls looked at her as a protector and a mother.

I'll never forget Jourdy Persinger's story of how he reached a group of destructed & lost teens through the beautiful way he presented the gospel. How the truth of his words brought hope where hope was most needed, offering a beacon of light where very little shines. A story about him, heard from the mouths of his peers. I'll always remember my mutual feelings as he confessed his anger & frustration gazing upon countless youth who've endured terrible pain. Pain at the hands of those they should be able to trust most. That anger is what selfless leaders and protectors feel, and it's a fire every predator should fear most.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.33.18 PM[Photo courtesy of Carl Robanske]

I'll never forget Sherri Rowan-Williamson's story of a young boy struggling in preschool. As he sat frustrated, his teacher threatened to tell his father. He began to cry and the children told Sherri he was crying because his father would beat him if his school-work wasn't done. Sherri told the other teacher to go on with the others for recess as she stayed behind to help the boy - she made sure he finished his work. Sherri took that weight off his shoulders, she provided the kind of comfort and love that resulted in him hugging her and telling her he loved her.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.30.13 PM[Photo courtesy of Carl Robanske]

I'll never forget Angela Schmid Raffensberger and her children showing selfless, unconditional love toyoung girls in need of

healthy, real affection. Angela, Audrey and Thomas filled the room with laughter, they'd dance and get the girls involved and made them completely comfortable with being silly -- just as children should be.

Roger, Charnel Graber and Carl Robanske, THANK YOU for your countless hours of preparation, your hard work and continuous selfless serving. Thank you for this incredible experience that YOU placed before us!!

There are so many more stories and conversations, many I've missed due to a million thoughts running in my head. Please share your wonderful stories below and any shout outs you have. Thank you to the entire Jamaica 2017 team, for the incredible relationships we built between us and with Jamaicans, I am forever grateful for each and every one of you!!!

Psalm 82:3 - Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.


The Average child in Jamaica faces many horrors. 

Poverty is the #1 reason numerous children in Jamaica are orphaned. Mothers and Fathers have no choice but to place their children into orphanages just to assure their basic needs are met: food, shelter, medical and education.

While orphanages are able to provide those basic needs: staff is very few in comparison to orphans. Love, attention, patience & individuality is nearly impossible to provide each child. 

Among poverty, there are other reasons so many children are orphaned in Jamaica:
  • Their parents have died from HIV/AIDS
  • The child has HIV/AIDS
  • Violence

Sadly, Jamaican orphans age-out of the government system between ages 13-16 years old. If a child is not placed into foster care, they are forced to live on the streets.

Child Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse are extremely common in Jamaica. Street children are easy targets for traffickers to entice or kidnap. Exploited children range in all ages and often times are sold by an adult family member.

With no access to education and care, children feel forced into prostitution as means to provide food and shelter for themselves, and in some cases, for their families as well.  Studies show that Child Prostitutes are as young as 10 years old.

Jamaica's children face even more horrific dangers. There is a high risk of unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted diseases from unprotected sex and rape. These horribly abused children experience severe psychological trauma which can lead to violence, and repeated patterns into adulthood.

Jamaica has a devastatingly high crime and homicide rate - higher than America's. Young Jamaicans are traumatized and suffer major psychological issues very early on due to witnessed attacks, robberies and gang wars.

Find more information about Jamaica's orphans here >>

James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Brooke Shigley  - God has blessed us all with unique ways to change the world. It is our job to eradicate the atrocities of this world and be a voice for the oppressed. I ask you PLEASE fight this war with me.

Thank you. I love you. God bless you.


Together, with your help, we can make a HUGE impact.


West Haven Children's Home houses 80+ disabled adults and children. There is no hot water available and the buildings are in need of new rooves. Many of the residents are bed ridden and rarely see sunlight. My vision is to help purchase and install water heaters as well as replace rooves and add solar panels, bringing natural light into the buildings.

Jamaica's government provides only about half the budget required to meet basic needs. West Haven depends on charities such as CDFI, service clubs, schools, churches and mission teams to help bridge the gap in the funding deficit.

West Haven is in constant need for basic items as well as updated medical equipment. I would love to start a continuous fund to help purchase needed items for the residents of West Haven Children's Home.

Learn More About West Haven Children's Home

Jamaica Link Ministries »

Westhaven's List of basic Needs »

2018 Goal: $2,000

Here are two ways to make donations:
PayPal or GoFundMe (PayPal donations DO NOT require fees. GoFundMe DOES require a fee from the donation amount.)