The people of Jamaica have much to teach us about faith and joy.

Lives Changed

Rick & Nancy attended Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis after they were married in 1981, and moved to Buffalo a few years later. Nancy was employed by the Buffalo School District for 27 years, teaching parents in the Early Childhood Family Education program and retired in 2014. She also served on the school board. Rick has an architectural background and has owned Acoustics Associates, a commercial interior construction company, for 30 years.

I am pleased to meet people every day who work their trades with guidance from God. Many years ago a client from Xcel Energy taught me it was ok to have my faith mingle with my daily work. His name is Will Desanto and I think about his example every week. Rick

They first visited Zion the Sunday before Christmas in 1987. They remember being warmly greeted by Pastor Blair and inspired by the Carols, Choirs, and Celebration service, and they became members a few months later.

One of the things I love about Zion is the renewed feeling I have after Sunday worship. I feel God’s presence when I worship at Zion. Both Rick and I have made wonderful Christian friends since we moved to Buffalo. Many of them also attend Zion. We have raised our children with these friends with a common faith in God. Nancy

Their three adult children were confirmed at Zion. Rick and Nancy were very involved with coaching and booster club as the children were growing up. They now enjoy traveling to see the two who live in Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as motorcycling, boating, and finding Frank Lloyd Wright homes to tour.

Nancy’s favorite Bible verse is Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God.

This verse has guided me through times when I have needed to simply stop, listen and trust God. My favorite Bible character is King Solomon. I admire the way he asked God for wisdom. Nancy

Rick and Nancy have both been involved in many ministries at Zion over the years, including Sunday school and confirmation, several committees, and serving Wednesday suppers.

They first got involved with Mission Jamaica over five years ago after hearing Pastor Ted talk about Mission Jamaica as “a vacation with a purpose.”

Neither Rick nor I had ever done a mission trip. We had done a lot of traveling, and the idea of having a purpose for a vacation sounded more interesting than being a tourist. We expected that we would be going to help other people, and possibly change their lives. The realization that we would be the ones who would have our lives changed was unexpected. Nancy

The experience with Mission Jamaica helped Nancy to think differently about her role in serving others.

Although there are many opportunities to serve people in our community, taking yourself away from comfortable surroundings helps you to experience God’s will in a new way. The people of Jamaica have much to teach us about faith and joy. The journey of faith through Mission Jamaica was reciprocal. I went to give something of myself, but found that I gained as much. Nancy

Getting to know fellow team members is an important part of a Mission Jamaica trip.

At our first meeting we looked around at some familiar faces, but didn’t know anyone well. There is a bond that is formed during the week of service and continues after your return. Having time to share your stories each day of the trip, and having devotions together was very meaningful. It strengthened our ties, and created lasting friendships. Nancy

Nancy served with the medical team in 2011, while Rick spent his time at the J’Abode construction sites in 2011 and 2012.

We complete a house in 3 days and turn it over to the new owners who are on site helping each day. In our world, this building is something like a glorified chicken coop with bare stud walls inside and a tin roof. But the excitement and pride you see in the eyes of the new owners tells you it’s much more than that. It’s something they dream of and by hard work and the luck of the draw, it’s theirs. A dedication prayer at the end has a calmness in contrast to the flurry of the past 3 days. Rick

Rick and Nancy are ready to leave their normal lives behind for a week again this year, as they head back with the 2016 team.

If you’re looking for a new adventure in faith and fellowship, I would recommend Mission Jamaica. It is the perfect place to learn to go with the flow, and trust that God has something to teach you about yourself and the world around you. Being able to live in the here and now of each day is a wonderful gift. It is one of the many lessons of Jamaica. Nancy

You will find it a wonderful way to leave your typical environment behind and immerse in a different world outside of the way we live. Rick