Monday, May 20, 2013

To God be the Glory

It is hard to believe that I am writing our last blog entry for Antigua 2013. It literally seems like yesterday that we were embarking on this adventure and then we blinked and here we are at the end. I cannot tell you how proud I am of each of the team members and their heart during this trip. Each morning, the team was excited and ready to face whatever challenge lay ahead. As we awoke this morning, we were torn that this would be our last full day in Antigua before flying out tomorrow (don't worry concerned parents, I will update you with our flight information at the end). For breakfast this morning, we were able to get a "to-go" breakfast from a church fundraiser that was raising money to build a new building. This also would give the team their first real taste of Antigua food. We had a dish of saltfish and chop chop (a mixture of spinach, okra, zucchini and other spices all blended and boiled together), a small salad and a deviled egg. The meal went over great for some, and others would have preferred something more eggs and bacon-type. 

We traveled to the radio station for one last full day of work. The team went right at it and were able to finish a lot of the projects that they were assigned and we spent a good part of the morning wrapping up all the projects and getting to a good stopping point on some of the others. We took some final pictures and headed back to the house for lunch. This afternoon, we gave the team some time to relax and start packing their things to head out tomorrow. After a wonderful dinner of Chicken Alfredo (yes we feed our team members well), we headed out to Fryes Beach (one of the more beautiful beaches on the island) to watch the sunset and sit around a bonfire. We had a time of singing and testimonies and we praise the Lord that all the missionaries were able to be there tonight. It was neat to see most of the team members testify of what they had learned on the trip and the things God had done through their time on this beautiful island. The stars were absolutely beautiful and truly the heavens were "declaring God's glory" as we sang His praise.

Let me give you a quick rundown of our itinerary tomorrow. We would appreciate your prayers as we pack up and fly out tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. We should arrive in Miami around 6:00 p.m. and then are set to fly to Atlanta around 10:00 p.m. Once landing in Atlanta around midnight, we will be driving back to Greenville and should arrive around 3:00 a.m. I assume once we are back "state-side" that each team member will get in contact with their family and friends.

It is hard to think that tomorrow we will be flying out. Kathryn and I have so enjoyed leading this team and our team really has become like a family over these past few weeks (the team members have even resorted to calling us "Mom" and "Dad"). I know they haven't had the opportunity to read this blog and I know they probably will be catching up when they get home. As we close this trip I wanted to thank each one of our team members personally for what they contributed to the team. We love each of you very much and we're excited to see what God will continue to do through your lives as you serve Him.

Abby: Thank you for your sweet spirit and for being Julia's "big sister." You always knew just when to come and offer to take care of Julia and we so appreciate your heart for her and the kids you worked with on the trip. Your humor certainly kept the group lively and your compassion for all those people around you truly emulated Christ's love. BTW, sorry we buried you in the sand =)

Lana: As the "outsider" of this team, Kathryn and I were concerned with how you would fit in. I was so proud of the way you jumped right into ministry down here even though you didn't have any prior experience in working in a Communication field. From learning Adobe, to playing with the kids during VBS, we appreciated the way you contributed to the team in doing whatever was asked of you.

Kaitlyn: UNRUH!!!! As mentioned with Abby, thank you for your contribution in helping with Julia. I know at times you were her slobber and chew toy and we appreciate you allowing her to "snuggle" you even when you were already dressed for the day and prepared. Thank you for your willingness to be involved in so many facets of our team. From working in the ditches with the boys, to chopping down sugar cane like a crazy woman, we just so appreciate your work on the team. You took the "game time" of VBS and really made it your own and the kids loved it. We know it was a tough job to do and we couldn't be more proud of the way you lead games.

Andrea: My fellow-coffee enthusiast, thank you most of all for the work you did on the puppet show. Your creativity was so amazing in creating characters and developing stories that we could relay to the students in whatever capacity we presented. Even though we had to educate you on who Bob Marley was, we loved having you on the team. Your sweet spirit was very evident in the way you interacted with each of the team members. You have a natural likability, and that allows you to be so effective in whatever ministry you decide. It was truly a joy to have you on the team!

Katie Mac: First of all, we love you and we continue to pray for you everyday. I know these last two weeks were very hard on you especially being so far away from your family and friends. Kathryn and I were amazed at the way you faced these trials and still put 100% into whatever we asked you to do. You showed up, put a smile on your face even though inside we knew you were hurting deeply. Thank you for your spunk and wit on the team and for being there to help in whatever we were doing. You truly epitomized God's grace these past two weeks.

Sarah: As our European corespondent, I wanted to thank you for being the one who was the most willing to do what the rest of us were hesitant to: working with the 5 and under children. You embraced that role in VBS and you really showed God's love to those kids each time you taught them. We loved being able to see your interaction with the team members and the kids, and I think you definitely receive the award for getting the best tan of all of us on the trip.

Joshua: First of all, let me apologize for conistently introducing you as "Josh" even when you asked me to call you Joshua. =) You really were a bright spot on the team man. You worked so hard alongside Nathan and I know he appreciated your diligence to help with a variety of projects he wanted to get done. Even though you were tired and sore from working, you still put 100% into helping out in VBS and being involved in the lives of these kids. From singing, to playing soccer in the street, you always worked hard and never complained. Thank you for being a part of the team this year!

Victoria: Chicky Vicky, or Vicky Chicky whichever. Thank you for being on the team this year! Especially in the music, we knew the audience would always receive a blessing when you sang. You really cared for a lot of the team members on this trip, and we appreciate you being the "listening ear" for so many girls in your dorm. It truly was a blessing having you on the team, and your contribution was clearly seen every time we went out.

Lee: You did good. That is all. I am just kidding. To my fellow guitar master: Even though we didn't play any specials together (because the world wasn't ready for it), I wanted to thank you for the leadership you showed on the team. You worked tirelessly in whatever Nathan asked you to do and everything you did was done well. It was so neat to see God using your specific talents in so many ways throughout this trip, and we so appreciate your "LOOOOOOVE (say it with your accent)" for God and His people. Even when you were tired, you went out everyday and played soccer with those teens in the street and in speaking their "language" of football, you were able to impact them in a way that no other team member was able to. Thank you for being on the team!  

Angel: As one of our resident photographers, we wanted to thank you for always having your camera. Now our trip will be able to live on for years and years in the great pictures you took. You also were tremendous in helping with the music and helping in VBS. Thank you for being part of the team, and for bringing such a wonderful addition to our ministry at the radio station and in VBS.

Emily Lew (Helpful Puppy): As our only veteran team member, we were thrilled to have you on the team again. We wanted to say thank you for the leadership you showed on this team. We often leaned on you to help be the encouragement and leader for the girls and you were always a great example of service for our team. From washing dishes, to playing with Julia, to helping out immensely with puppet shows and scripts (by the way your Helpful Puppy voice is amazing!!). We look forward to seeing God continue to work in your life and we're happy to have you around for the next few years! We love you Lew Lew!

Emilee Nelson: My fellow "mile high-city" sister: Thank you so much for all the little things. Despite being so tired, you always made sure the kitchen was spic and span in making sure every dish was spotless. God also richly blessed us in sending us such a wonderful pianist to our team. Your service in the churches and in VBS was tremendous, and your ability to play whatever song in the world on the piano was such an asset to our team. You really were such a blessing to us Emilee in everything you did. You really put others needs in front of your own every single day and it was evident every day you ministered. We look forward to seeing God work through you in the coming years.

Kyle: You just were everything on this trip man. You jumped at whatever opportunity arose and showed great leadership throughout the trip. From working in the ditches, to serving in the chapels and at the deaf school, your desire to show Christ was very evident to us the whole trip. Even when kids at VBS tested your patience, you always responded in a very Christ-like way. Thank you for your ministry both to us as a team and to those people you came into contact with! I know you were a blessing to the missionaries we worked with, and to those kids you loved in serving them so faithfully.

We love each of you dearly and we thank God for the wonderful privilege of leading this team. To God be all the glory great things He has done!

For God's Glory,

Jonny Gamet


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Last Sunday in Antigua

We had a great Sunday here. But as usual, it was very hot! :) We were able to serve at Maranatha where the Bakers and the Kirklands attend. I had the opportunity to speak in the Ladies Sunday School. I was honored that Nancy asked me to talk to the ladies, but I felt completely inadequate for the task. I was able to share some verses that have meant a lot to me and have changed my view of my relationship with my God. The team was able to share some special music numbers in both the morning and evening services. There were two different groups who worked in Sunday School and Children's church. It was great connecting with believers and seeing how our God is the same God that they serve. Sarah Shirey was able to speak with a lady who lived in Switzerland. They were able to converse back and forth in Swiss-German. I have to say though that I am not sure when or if anyone is going to bed tonight. The entire team slept away the whole afternoon.... 3-4 hours! They were all exhausted.

Tomorrow is our last day of working at the station. We have some projects to finish up before we leave. It is hard to believe that our time is quickly coming to an end. Tomorrow is a holiday here on the island: Whit Monday. It is 50 days after Easter and is in celebration of Pentecost. We will finish up the day with a bonfire on the beach to roast some smores and fellowship with the missionaries before we leave.

Again, we are so thankful for your continued prayers. We would appreciate your prayers for Katie MacDonald. She got news from home today that her grandfather passed away. She was very close with him.

For God's Glory,
Kathryn Gamet
Nathan and Renee down at the beach

A beautiful Antiguan sunset

Emilee with Ken and Nancy Kirkland

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Fun

Today was a day we all have been look forward to. We made plans with a local company to do one of their adventure packages. We started this morning with kayaking through the mangroves. This was a fun experience for the whole team. We broke up into groups of two and started naming our kayak teams. I was relieved that Jonny chose me as his partner.... we had a kayaking experience a couple of years ago and I didn't think he would want to do that again! Once we got to the beach, we got out of our kayaks and boarded a boat that would take us out to a reef for snorkeling. Jonny and I remembered our day on the water from two years ago and we made the team apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the whole day. I have to admit that some of us still look a little "sun-kissed" but no one got badly burned. We had a great time snorkeling. It is always amazing to see God's creation and think about how He has a plan for everything. We swam with jellyfish, stingrays, and even a couple giant turtles. We then went back to the beach for an island lunch. We had fun looking at all of the conch shells on the shore while we waited for our lunch. Whoever says that they are an endangered species has never been to this beach. They were everywhere! We then enjoyed our lunch: barbecue chicken, rice, veggies, salad, and fruit punch. After our lunch we headed back to our kayaks. We went back through the mangroves. The team members were a little more confident on the way back and I noticed much more splashing and bumping into each other on the way back.

We came back to the house and got cleaned up and decided we needed some more ice cream. We took Nathan and Renee downtown for some more Australian Ice Cream. I can't even begin to describe how good this ice cream is. We really need some in Greenville!

We have enjoyed the day to relax and enjoy the island. We are ready to serve at Maranatha tomorrow. We will be doing the children's sunday school and children's church. We will also be having several special music numbers in the service. I am excited about the opportunity to speak in the ladies' Sunday School tomorrow morning.

Our trip is coming to a close and we have enjoyed every minute of it. Please continue to pray that we will finish strong and not lose sight of our task.

For God's Glory,

Kathryn Gamet

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mixed Emotions

Although we were thankful that today was Friday, we knew the day was going to be tough. We knew today was the funeral service for Todd Lurtey and we desperately wanted to be in Greenville to be part of the service. We also knew it was going to be tough because today was our last day of Bible school for the week. We'll get to that soon.

We started the day by working all morning at the radio station. We were relieved to be able to put in some solid time working on editing and producing all kinds of elements that would help the Radio Lighthouse. This afternoon, our team took a quick break to the beach and little Julia loved being in the water and finding some seashells. 

This afternoon, we had our last day of VBS. After much discussion with the Kirkland's and the team, we decided that in today's VBS we would focus more on the message and not on some of the other elements we had done in the days previous. We broke the group into three different sections. Sarah, Kathryn and  Renee went inside to work with children ages 6 and under. The teenagers came into the backyard with Joshua, Victoria, Abby and myself. The rest of the children packed into the carport. Each section spent some time singing songs and then spent a good deal of time discussing salvation and the gospel message. We praise the Lord that 83 kids came to the last day of VBS.

At the invitation we had 6 children come back and three made the decision to trust Christ. We were absolutely thrilled that we were able to see God work in such a tangible way! Our group said some emotional goodbyes as we knew we may not see some of these kids ever again. Although several of the children and teenagers didn't make decisions, we knew God was working throughout the entire VBS. We could see the Gospel seeds taking root and we are confident that God will continue to draw these dear kids to himself. 

Tomorrow we are looking forward to a fun day of kayaking on the water and doing a bit more sight seeing. After such a long week of work, I know the team is looking forward to some rest and refreshment. 

Thank you so much for your prayers! Continue to pray for the Lurtey family. We received word that the memorial service was such a blessing to the over 1,000 people who were in attendance. Also pray for the kids we ministered to this week. Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in drawing them to Himself. 

We can't believe in a matter of days we will be making the trip back. It has gone so fast and we have seen God do incredible things through this team! 

For now, we close from the land of sea and sun. See you again tomorrow in the blogosphere. 

For God's Glory, 

Jonny Gamet

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pushing On

Typically this is the time of the trip where our team members begin to get very tired. After long days of work and then evenings of ministering in Bible clubs, the team often gets exhausted. As I write this, most of our team members have already decided to go to bed. I am so proud of them though. They have had such a wonderful attitude with whatever task they have been assigned and they have done it to the best of their ability. I am confident that God is doing great things through them because of the hard work and dedication they have shown to ministering to the people of Antigua.

Today, we had several opportunities that the team took advantage of. Earlier this week, we learned of a deaf school here in town and found out that our own Kyle Cline was very fluent in sign language. Kyle was able to minister to the students and spend some time talking with them and answering their questions. How neat to see God use specific talents for His own glory.

Several of the girls traveled to Bolans Primary School again this morning to spend some time with the students. The ladies taught some of the lessons, tutored the students and interacted with the kids in their classrooms. The children always love it when our girls spend time with them.

Josh and Lee (our residential fix-it guys) spent most of the day helping Nathan Owens on a special project. The boys are helping to rebuild the lighthouse outside of the station (something that hasn't been replaced in a long time). Again, it is neat to see how God can use specific talents for his own glory. Lee has former experience in working with wood and he and Josh have really taken on this project to help with the station. The rest of the team continued work at the station today in editing programs and planting some flowers around the station.

This afternoon, we had another very full day at vacation Bible school as we had 84 kids show up for today. We were a bit overwhelmed in having so many, but we were thankful to God for bringing so many kids for us to be with. Our team put on a puppet show and played games with the kids. Several of the team members and I were able to have a time with the teens and we studied Ephesians 5. We also played a rousing game of capture the flag. Needless to say, at the end of the day we were very tired. It is so wonderful to see God working in the lives of our team members. The kids are really getting attached to our team members and I am so proud to see our team members consistently showing the love of Christ in their interactions with each person they meet.

At this time, we will close for now. Would appreciate your prayers tomorrow as we close out our week of vacation Bible school at the Kirkland's house. Tomorrow we are going to put a special emphasis on salvation and we are excited to see what God will do through the message.

Goodnight from the land of sea and sun!

P.S. We tried to upload some pictures tonight but our internet connection hasn't allowed us to attach some pictures. Sorry =(

For His Glory,
- Jonny Gamet

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Only 5 days left...

As we were working today, we realized that we only have 5 more days left in Antigua. The time has gone by so fast and we are so thrilled to see the ways God continues to work both in the lives of our team members and the people they come in contact with.

Our morning began rather early today as our team gathered in three different groups to begin our day. Group one consisted of Katie, Andrea, Kyle, Angel, Emily Lew and Sarah. This group traveled to Grace Christian Academy to help in a chapel program. The team sang several songs and put on a puppet show for the kids. I then preached about Gideon and we had a wonderful time with the kids. 

Group two consisted of the radio station team: Victoria, Lana and Lee and Joshua continued working at the station doing editing and other projects. 

Group three helped at Bolans Primary school in the reading classes (Emily Nelson and Abby). They were able to spend some time tutoring students and getting some one on one interaction. 

This afternoon, the team prepared for our third day of Bible school at the Kirland's house. Today we had over 60 kids show up and several of them were new. We took some of the teenagers inside and spent some time singing and teaching them some American choruses. They taught us as well. The team put on a puppet show for the kids, who are growing quite fond of characters like "Helpful puppy" and "Friendly Tarantula."

After playing football (soccer) with the kids during game time, we dismissed and headed home for the evening. The team is pretty tired after a long day. The kids at VBS certainly have a lot of energy, and our team has been great at matching that enthusiasm and showing the love of Christ in their interactions with them. 

We are looking forward to another jam-packed day tomorrow and would appreciate your prayers as we continue to serve the Lord here in Antigua. 

For God's Glory, 

Jonny Gamet 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


This morning we woke up early and were ready to go to the chapel service at Gospel Light Christian School. The breeze this morning made it feel almost cool.... almost. We had a great service at the school. The students always seem to enjoy the puppet show. The students continue to amaze me with all of the different "hats" they are wearing on this trip. We got to go shopping at the vendors in town after chapel. We were all ready to do a little bartering. I have to admit that this is not my skill. I have a hard time showing disinterest in something when I really want it, and I have a hard time asking for a lower price after they give me the first one. I am thankful Jonny was there to help me. I could have learned some lessons from other team members too. :) Although, some were just as bad as me! After shopping, we stopped for a little treat for the team. We ate at an Australian ice cream shop the last time we were here and I still think about it. We were able to take Nathan and Renee and the team members for some delicious ice cream. I  am trying to figure out how I can get some more before we head home, but it is very out of the way!

The team had the second night of VBS tonight and came home exhausted. We were so excited with the 42 children last night, but tonight there were over 60. They had to restructure a little bit to accommodate that many. I believe that there are some more plans for tomorrow night to make things flow a little better as well. There have been a good group of teens there each night, so Jonny and several others are going to try to do things specifically for that age range. We have babies all the way through teenagers, so it makes things a little bit difficult, but everyone is doing a great job being flexible.

Tomorrow we have another chapel in town and work at the radio station. We are trying to finish up some projects for them before we have to head home. We will have another night of VBS after a short break in the afternoon.

We really do appreciate all of your prayers! We are having a wonderful time. The sunburns are minimal and the bug bites are just starting to appear. The girls were all able to shower, so they were very happy today!

Kathryn Gamet