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by Shauna Falconer Shauna is a member of the 6-Month Caribbean IMMERSION team that is just now finishing their missions journey from New York to Haiti, Jamaica, and Belize.

Our time in Jamaica was wonderful, so saying goodbye and climbing on that plane invited tears. I miss that place and our new friends immensely. We climbed Richmond Hill millions of times and came close to death each time. But we met our neighbours who were always so kind to us as we walked up. They invited us, sweat and all, into their homes. Offered us food and asked for prayer. We kicked our shoes off and played soccer in the muddy field (or at least cheered everyone on while pretending to play). I fell in love with pineapple and cutting down sugar cane while exploring with Jayda. I drank endless amounts of Auntie Annette’s juice (that’s secretly just a bunch of juice packs mixed together) and watched a ridiculous amount of daytime dramas with Ms. Dawn. I miss talking about Jesus and getting advice from both of those wonderful host moms.

Journal entry from May 3, 2017: “Just when I thought I had reached my max—I couldn’t love more than I do right now—God proves me wrong. God = love. There is infinitely more love to feel and give than I could ever imagine. So when I think this is it, my heart is full, I am wrong. God will keep loving so much more. Therefore, I must keep excepting and giving love freely, just as He does.”

I wrote that in my journal the day after arriving in Belize. I wish I could explain the feeling I experienced when I stepped off the plane. Immediately, I felt welcomed, I felt incredibly safe, and I fell in love. Again.

I know I say every time I move somewhere that I'm in love with that place, but it’s true every time I say it.

When I didn’t think I could love a place like I loved Haiti, I moved to Jamaica and fell in love. And then, when I thought there was no way I would love another country like I do Haiti and Jamaica, I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac of a small airport in Belize and hopped in a large, colourful school bus. Right then and there I knew this was a beautiful place.

We were immediately welcomed into our now friends and families homes. We’re always cooking, always eating tortillas, and always being made fun of in Spanish. There’s always a rush of Spanish and English mixed in with loud laughter and tortillas.

6 Month Mission Trips

Amidst all of this I still struggle though. The joy and peace I feel is unexplainable. God has been working on this heart of mine, teaching me about him, the peace He offers, and the plans only He needs to know. I don’t know how many times I tell my roommate “I love this life!” even when I’m limping and sweat is dripping into my eyes. I still see Jesus in it all.

However, I still get tired. I still call my sister crying in the middle of the night, I still bruise my knees while yelling at God, and I still fight to get out of bed in the mornings. I get discouraged and burnt out, all while screaming that I love this life. I get frustrated and cranky. So I have to crawl out of bed at 1am to read my Bible because sleep doesn’t want to come. God never promised that there wouldn’t be hard times. He never said everything will be fine, you’ll never be sad, or all your plans will work out for you. But He does tell us in Isaiah that He’ll never leave us, He holds on to us and will help us, He will renew our strength. We have this hope in Him, so He has given us His joy. He tells us to rejoice in trials and He will be with us through them.

So, as difficult as it is sometimes, I’m going to keep yelling at the top of my lungs that I love this life. I’m going to keep praising Jesus, even when I don’t feel like it. And I’m going to keep sharing Jesus’ love, even when it doesn’t feel like I have the strength to do so.

6 Month Mission Trips

Check out upcoming 6-Month Caribbean IMMERSION terms!


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