A group of five from Elizabeth Chapel leave for Kingston, Jamaica on Monday for their first mission trip and Pastor Randy Carnes is asking the public for prayers during their week-long visit.
According to Carnes, the church has supported a resident pastor, Pastor Owen Watson, in Kingston for many years. The purpose of the trip is to not only serve as an encouragement to Watson, but also see firsthand what Watson faces as pastor in the city known for a high crime rate.
“He pastors three different churches and we want to go to all three of them to get an idea of what he is actually experiencing on a daily basis to minister, so we can know better how to help him,” said Carnes.
In addition, the group will be taking small toys for children and extra bibles and Carnes will be taking to the pulpit in at least one of the churches during their visit in an effort to “bless” those that live there.
“The people over there are so desperately poor they can’t even get their hands on a copy of the Bible. They have the impression that all Americans are super rich and I guess, according to their standards, they probably are,” said Carnes.
Overall, Carnes said the trip is part of the “Great Commission”, detailed in the Book of Matthew 28:16-20 and Carnes hopes to see more members of the church take mission trips in the future. As for the group leaving on Monday, they are mostly in their early to mid-20s.
“I’ll be watching them pretty closely over there. Watching out for their safety more than anything,” said Carnes.
The group also hopes to supply Watson with enough funds to repair the roof of one of the churches damaged during a storm.
“They just don’t have the money to fix it and unfortunately, every time it rains, it just does more damage inside the church,” said Carnes.
Carnes said they have been holding fundraisers in Kingston, like Gospel Sings, to raise the money to fix the roof, but the amount coming in at each fundraiser may pay for only a block or two at a time.
“We’re hoping to take enough money over to at least get them the materials to fix the roof,” said Carnes.
The church has been and will continue to hold fundraisers to support the trip. Their most recent fundraiser, a softball tournament, raised over $500.
“Our church footed the bill for this, but we are raising money throughout the year to pay it back,” said Carnes. “It was important to me that these young people realize; if you go on a mission trip it should cost you something as well. You should have something invested in it.”
Carnes said the group would appreciate the prayers of “God’s people” for the safety of the group and that they are able to complete their mission of serving as an encouragement to Watson.
“If people would just pray that all that comes about, that no one gets sick, no one gets hurt and we have a safe time while we’re over there,” said Carnes. “The prayers right now are the most important thing.”
Check back after the group returns for a follow-up story on the trip.
The church raised over $500 in their most recent fundraiser. The church held an open Softball Tournament and had five teams participate.