Alternative Winter Break – Kingston, Jamaica Team, Day 6

Day 6

While many of the MOP Brothers are taking online classes to be educated on various levels of healthcare, only one is currently an RN. His name is Brother John Paul, and he devoted the first hour of our last day at Bethlehem Home and Lord’s Place to speak with us and encourage us on our paths. Later we celebrated mass with lots of smiling and energetic children, participating fully to the best of their abilities. We spent the rest of the day continuing physical assessments, playing, and eventually saying our heart-throbbing goodbyes.

Brother John Paul reinforced the theme of compassion that has been recurring all week. We must have compassion to be good nurses. As nurses, we must care for the whole person, which in Christian teaching is the union of body and soul. John Paul emphasized that when we care for the body, we also encounter their soul. I think we all learned what that really means this week. Many of the residents (children and adults) housed by MOP have severe cerebral palsy. One 17 year old girl’s neck is so hyperextended that she sees everything either sideways or upside down depending on whether she is positioned on her back or side. She cannot sit or stand or feed herself, but when you get down low to make eye contact with her and call her by name, she’ll give you the biggest smile and the happiest laugh. That’s what it’s like to encounter the soul.

It may be difficult to understand where this joy comes from in her condition, but I attribute it to God and the Missionaries who serve Him, who have housed this sweet girl for most of her life, showing her every day that she is loved and wanted. She is immobile and nonverbal, but has no pressure ulcers. She wears clean clothes every day and she smiles at anyone who takes the time to say her name. She’s one of many children at Bethlehem Home, all of whom contribute their own unique personality and laughter to this communal family. The Missionaries of the Poor provide more than a shelter. They provide a sense of love and belonging. She knows that she has dignity and value. She is not the only one. These children (and adults) face great challenges with greater love.

The missionaries have limited resources and do not take money from the government. If you’re interested and able to support them please visit https://missionariesofthepoor.org/our-missions/jamaica-kingston/. If you pray, please keep them and the people they serve in your prayers.

Walk Good and thank you for following our journey,

The Kingston Team

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