Over this past winter break, I had an incredible opportunity to travel with eleven of my Grove City College peers to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where we served for ten days at the Robin’s Nest Children’s Home.
Every year, Grove City offers the Inner-City Outreach (ICO) program, which facilitates over a dozen student-led trips to both domestic and international locations. I’ve had friends travel to places such as the Dominican Republic, Rhode Island, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Guatemala to minister to the local residents and serve in a variety of capacities.
This year, I took part in the ICO Jamaica trip, which traveled for the sixth consecutive year to Robin’s Nest Children’s Home in northwestern Jamaica. Robin’s Nest is truly an incredible place – a sprawling compound situated nearly on the top of a mountain, deep in a rich tropical landscape. The home itself houses about 35 precious children, from newborns up to age 12, who are orphaned or neglected by their families.
For a little over a week, our team had the honor of joining in with every part of life at Robin’s Nest, from meal time to bath time to spending hours with the kids on the playground. We helped pull up weeds in the garden, we re-painted high chairs, and we cleaned out old classrooms that needed to be refurbished. On one of my favorite nights, we sent the guys out to have a bonfire with the older boys, while the team girls stayed behind with the younger girls for nail-painting and dress up.
Perhaps it was because of the simplicity of life at Robin’s Nest that God’s voice seemed to speak so loudly. Without the distractions of outside responsibilities and social pressures, the Lord felt incredibly present with our team, and His Word came alive in a new way for many of us. Honestly, though, the truth is probably that His voice always speaks at the same decibel, quietly but firmly into our ears, but we so willingly use those distractions as excuses to drown Him out.
In fact, perhaps the most remarkable lesson from our time in Jamaica is the fact that the God we served there, on the playground and in the dish room and in the garden, is in fact the same God who rules and reigns over our lives back home. A part of me expected God to feel different in Jamaica – like a foreigner or someone that I had never met before. But in the faces of those children, joyful and strong, and in the example of the Nest staff members, diligent and humble, I was surprised to find that my own God had, in fact, met me there.
As a senior, I’m now preparing to leave my campus home in just a few short months. I don’t know yet where I’ll be, but I do know that the same God who I met in Jamaica will meet me there too.
Feel called to serve on a mission trip? Want to find out more about our ICO program? Click here for more information about Mission & Service Trips offered at Grove City College.
Bethany Wilson is a current senior at Grove City, majoring in English. She’s grateful to say that God’s hand of guidance has been evident over her time in college, orchestrating beautiful friendships and fruitful opportunities in a way that she never could have. During her four years she’s been involved in campus organizations such as Orientation Board and Crimson & White Society, and she’s had the blessing of playing piano with the Thursday morning chapel team since her sophomore year. In her free time, she enjoys writing for pleasure, hiking the beautiful hills of Western PA, trying (and usually failing) to cook, and enjoying the company of friends.