Jamaica Mission Trip

takes a health focus

By: Kristi Spurgeon

It looked like a traditional mission trip.

The group spent time with children, teaching Bible lessons and making friends. They participated in an evangelistic series. But there was a healthy twist to this trip that focused on the whole person – mind, spirit, and especially body.

The group on the 19-day mission trip to Jamaica consisted of ten WWC nursing students, several alumni, faculty, and friends of the college.

Each day they held a “roadside clinic” at the Rollington Town Seventh-day Adventist Church, the home church of Vice President for Spiritual Life and Mission Pedrito Maynard-Reid, who led the trip. At the clinic students saw approximately 70 people each day and provided blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, treated various skin conditions and injuries, and distributed hygiene materials.

Once a week the clinic left the church to visit other areas of the city. “One Wednesday we went to the Golden Age Home, which is a poorly-equipped nursing home for the poor. The next Wednesday we made home visits mostly in shacks and hovels,” says Trudy Klein, nursing professor.

“I enjoyed watching my students as they applied their learning to new situations,” adds Klein. “Especially as they showed love and compassion to all they came in contact with.”

In the evenings, Maynard-Reid led out in the evangelistic series “Hope, Health, and Happiness.” Approximately 250 people attended the meetings each evening, which were held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Rollington Town Seventh-day Adventist Church. A nursing student presented a health talk at the start of the evening program. The students’ presentations were prepared in advance, as a requirement for an online nursing class last quarter. The online class was a first for the School of Nursing, and helped prepare students for the mission trip.

“You can’t learn the ways of a culture in a few weeks,” says Heather Hatch, a nursing student on the trip. “We had to experience it in order to understand it. But the class was helpful in teaching us about the Jamaican healthcare system and preparing us for the poverty that we saw.”

Hatch also helped provide many of the medical supplies taken on the trip. She and student Laura Jacobs collected donated medicine and equipment, and purchased what they were not able to find. Supplies that were not used during the daily clinics were donated to the Adventist hospital in Kingston, the church, and a local nursing home.

In addition to the nightly meetings, daily clinics, and Vacation Bible School, the students had opportunity to join in some tourist activities. They visited Northern Caribbean University, climbed Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, spent time at a mineral bath, and at the beach. Throughout the trip students and staff lived in the homes of church members, becoming immersed in the culture and lives of their host families.

“I liked our holistic model,” says Klein. “Combining ministries for physical, mental, and spiritual health. I would love to see the Walla Walla College School of Nursing coordinate a mission trip annually.”

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