Jamaica: Day 7

Fri. (7/17): We got to sleep in until 8! Breakfast was back to the heavenly pancakes and at 9, we departed for Blossom Gardens Orphanage. BG is for children up to age 8, so there were TONS of infants, toddlers & pre-schoolers. Such a mixture of emotions - I loved playing with all the adorable children, but it broke my heart that they are without families! I seriously wanted to adopt all of them, but below I will introduce you to the two that were closest to my heart.

While the matrons were getting the children ready for the day, we were instructed to pick up rocks from the yard. There was another group at the orphanage that day, so I was picking up alongside this teenaged boy, so I decided to strike up a conversation because I felt awkward working in silence. So, as we're chatting, I find out that his name is Julien, he's going to be a senior in high school, and he's an acrobat (sweet!). I asked him about his college plans & career plans and this was the conversation...
Me: "So, what do you want to do once you're out of college?"
Julien: "Well, my parents own a pretty big corporation in Tennessee that I'd like to work for."
Me: "What's the corporation?"
Julien: "Well, it's kind of funny, but they make snack cakes..."
Me: "That's awesome."
Julien: "Yeah, have you ever heard of Little Debbie?"
Me: "Um, YES. Swiss Cake Rolls?! If you even knew my family... that is awesome!"

I then found out that "Little Debbie" is an actual person - his aunt! Mom - we like, KNOW them!

Anyway, then the little toddlers came out for their water play day - SWEET BLISS. I'll try to figure out how to post a couple videos later.

This is Omar. I want him.

Family portrait.

After playing for about an hour & a half, the kiddos were tuckered out - we changed them and laid them down for their naps...

The potty-trained toddlers sleep next to one another in beds that are lined up in rows... adorable beyond words.
Most of them fell asleep immediately, but others needing some coaxing/backrubbing...

After watching Omar just sleep for about 15 minutes, I peeled myself away and went to the infant room. Big mistake/best decision ever, because I met the love of my life...

Legionaire. The sweetest, smiliest baby in the world.

You would have fit so perfectly in my carry-on.

Look at that perfect little foot! 

Needless to say, leaving BG was very difficult. I've cried a lot of tears over my little boys. Between Legionaire, Omar, Wilbur & the little guy whose name I can NOT remember (he's holding the butterfly in the previous post)... sigh. 

We stayed at the orphanage until 1:00, then we drove to see the construction that our youth group worked on last year in Jamaica. They were really encouraged to see that a TON of progress has been made. We returned to Sandy Bay for a late lunch, then went to Mt. Pelier one last time to say goodbye to all the VBS kids... my heart was aching.

Photo by Sara VanWinkle.

That night they had a Farewell Service for us at the Crusade. Doug had told his buddy Malik that he wanted to pray for him before we left, so that night as we were all saying our goodbyes, we were sitting by Malik on the steps for a couple pictures & then he said quietly to Doug, "Pray for me." So Doug prayed for him and when I opened my eyes at the end of the prayer, Malik was quickly wiping tears from his eyes. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. 

Me, Malik, Ashley & Doug. Photo by Andrea Wilseck.


  1. oh. my. goodness. rachel. the babes are so beautiful. what sweet, sweet children.

  2. i knew you would love them. :) i thought of you a lot when i was writing this post.

  3. p.s. legionaire & neco can be best friends. ;)

  4. this is too much.
    i'll take 2.

  5. so i'm a little behind on reading about your trip, sorry.
    i want these sweet babes. my heart aches for them.
    and on a lighter note, we have the same striped crib sheet as the one in the photo above.