Mission Jamaica (MJ) is a short-term “vacation with a purpose” mission experience that began at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. In 1989, Senior Pastor Roger Eigenfeld felt the call to develop an international mission program and through contacts in Jamaica found an opportunity. The first mission group went to Hope Valley Experimental School in Kingston, Jamaica with 19 missionaries.
Since that time, over 35 other Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations and several colleges from Minnesota as well as North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Illinois have partnered with St. Andrew’s in this mission field. Participants continue to serve at Hope Valley and new sites have been developed and nurtured on the island. MJ also works with a program similar to Habitat for Humanity at various sites throughout Jamaica.
From humble beginnings of 19 missionaries from St Andrew’s the first year, some of whom are still serving, this ministry has grown to include several churches in several states all around the country. It has grown from one mission site at Hope Valley Experimental School in Kingston (where the “experiment” was to include children with special needs in the classroom with other children) to several mission sites in Kingston and the Montego Bay area.
Mission Jamaica provides a way for us to love and serve our neighbor as Jesus taught us through His love and service to others. The trip combines a service project with time for reflection and spiritual rest. It allows a person to experience an international mission field that is close to home yet far enough away to immerse into another culture for a week.
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31