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Purpose in the Simple, Unplanned Life

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by Allison Ambler Allison is currently a member of the 6-Month Caribbean IMMERSION team that has spent time in New York City, Haiti, Jamaica, and now in Belize. This post was written during her team's time in the mountain town of Catadupa, Jamaica.

I'm loving life here in Jamaica. It's absolutely beautiful everywhere I turn, but these views can't compare to the incredible people I've gotten to know. We stayed at our first host home for 3 weeks, and I've been living in another home for a week now.

My host parents have three kids in their 20's, and two granddaughters who are 5 and 7 years old. Those girls are such joys—we have dance parties and play cards and they tickle each other non-stop. My host brothers take us to their farm to let us try all sorts of Jamaican fruits and take us down the river. My host sister takes us "up the road," on walks in the evenings. And the extended family is almost always over; I've gotten to know my host aunts and cousins too. In just a week, this group of people feels like family.

So many people ask what I'm doing here, what's the purpose? This trip is unlike most mission trips. Our main purpose here is to serve in the homes and get to know the family we're staying with.

I'm finding purpose in the simple, unplanned life. I'm serving this family and this community, just as they have served me.

Sometimes that means projects, like painting the church or helping at an after-school program or planning Sunday school every week. Sometimes it means being at home with my host mom, cooking and cleaning my room. Other times that means looking a little harder, stepping outside of my home to love the people in this community too. I've met some incredible people and had great conversations, just by walking along the streets.

I came to the Caribbean to live as the people live. I came with open hands and a free schedule to be used by God. It's hard sometimes, not living on a schedule. My life back home was so planned, with school and work and everything else I barely had a spare hour. Now I have nothing but time on my hands, and it's all about how I use it. I want it to be used for good, for His glory. Every day I pray for opportunities to serve and to spread His love. God continues to provide ways for me to give more of myself. That takes willingness on my end—I have to go out, be bold, and meet people. I find purpose each day of my life here when I ask Jesus to be that purpose.

I'm learning to measure the value of each day, not by how busy I was or how much I accomplished, but by how I loved and how I served. Galatians 5:13 says, "Use your freedom to serve one another in love." I want to do just that—using the freedom Christ has so freely given me! I want to love and serve my God, love and serve the people here with all I am. Jamaica is teaching me well!

6 Month Mission Trips

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him."
- Philippians 2:13

"God lends us a little bit of His reasoning powers and that is how we reason. He lends us a little bit of his love and that is how we love. We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it."
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Check out 6-Month Caribbean IMMERSION!


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Check Out 6-Month Caribbean IMMERSION