Kathi and Dan Smith have been returning villa guests to Jamaica year after year…… I know Kathi and Dan are so busy when they come to Jamaica, I had to get to know more about the projects that they were working on in Jamaica. I am so amazed at their passion and their dedication. Here is Kathi’s take on what they do and how you can get involved!
“I am so glad you asked about “The Jamaica Project”. We started traveling to your beautiful Island about 10 years ago. We had been praying that God would make us influential for Him and that He would give us a ministry that we could serve him and serve people. One day in 2010, we were sitting at Sandals Ochi and the Lord knocked Dan on the head and told him to look around us. While we were relaxing at a beautiful resort, there were so many needs beyond the walls. That very week, we started making contacts and the following summer we brought our first team down to work in a community (we have booked all of our villas through Jamaican Treasures, the first two years we stayed at the two villas at Tropical Spice) . Since 2014, we have been working in the community of Rio Bueno with the Rio Bueno Baptist Church. In the mornings we have VBS for the children and then take them to the beach to play. We serve them lunch and after we have lunch we head off to the Falmouth Infirmary where we spend time with the residents. We also have a construction team that works on various projects. One of the projects is completing a “Community Centre” in the lower half of the church. In year’s past we built a fully equipped kitchen in the centre to provide meals for the community. We also work on small building projects at the infirmary. This past summer, our construction team worked with a few of the young men in Rio Bueno, to teach them how to build a few simple projects, they made a picnic table for the Community Centre and they went to the Infirmary to help work on staff lockers. Not only are these young men learning a skill, but they are being shown love from our entire team and earning a wage for the week. We bring clothing for the children of the community and small medical equipment for the Infirmary. We have night events for the community, we brought telescopes this past July so the children (and adults) could view the planets and the moon. It was amazing! Our teams are fairly small, but mighty. this past summer we had 14 people. We have had quite a few people show interest already for next summer so we are hoping to bring a few more. Obviously the more people we have the more we can do. Our vision is to have a full time couple in Rio Bueno working at the Community Centre, helping the children with homework, teaching classes, working with the community (job skills, etc.), counseling, and more.”
The Jamaica Project
The Jamaica project was established in 2010, by Dan and Kathi Smith, travel agents who had traveled to Jamaica staying at some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, when God called them to reach out to the impoverished communities in North Jamaica. They began taking teams there is 2011. In 2017 they became a 501 (c) (3) Charitable Non-Profit organization. The ministry has grown and expanded through the years.
What do we do?
First, we take teams to Rio Bueno, Jamaica for a one week stay. During that time, we perform many services in the local community as well as other places.
- We run a Vacation Bible School for the local children in Rio Bueno.
- We will have some evening events: Marriage workshops. Bible studies, game night, movie night, etc.
- We are helping to establish a community center, with the goal of having a safe place for kids to hang out, get help with homework, skills training, etc.
- We have partnered with the local Infirmary (an Infirmary is a government run home for elderly, disabled and mentally ill persons, who have nothing and no one), spending time with and showing God’s love to the residents and the staff as well. We work on projects within the Infirmary to improve their quality of life and help improve things for both staff and residents
- While the VBS and studies are going on, the handy men (and women) are working construction for the Community Center and the projects at the Infirmary.
- We also provide materials and supplies needed both in the community and the Infirmary: Clothing, Bibles, Christian books on various topics; as well as diapers and various supplies for the residents of Infirmary, who tend to be the poorest of the poor and have great need.
- Basically, we do whatever is needed to love and serve these people, who have very few available resources.
- We will take part in the church services on Sunday. Our singers will sing, and generally one of us will preach. If you have never been to a church service in Jamaica, it is quite an experience. We celebrate God and all He has done for us, with our family across the sea.
For more information, see our website: http://thejamaicaproject.org/
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If you would love to get involved or donate on our website or send a check to our address.
Our contact info: The Jamaica Project, 24881 Alicia Parkway E184, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 – Tel: (949)683-4959