The ministries Initiatives of Won By One To Jamaica seek to participate in what God is already doing in the Harmons Valley, and we feel blessed to take part in His work.
The ministry has had a consistent presence for over two decades in this community, but the structure of short-term mission trips does come with limitations. We strive to provide opportunities that encourage all participants, Jamaicans and Americans, to recognize their worth and value in Christ and their ability to have a hand in restoring the world. This ministry is about building relationships. We aspire to focus on the gifts and talents possessed by those in the community. That is why we believe that it is always better to work alongside the locals, instead of simply doing things for them, as they have a vast amount of knowledge and talent to share.
House Construction & Repair
A major component of our ministry is working to alleviate the basic need for safe and affordable housing. By submitting an application, hopeful homeowners are identified and qualified through a vetting process. Each week a team is present in Harmons, two to three homes are completed. While nearly 50 homes are built each year, we are still faced with a waiting list that can reach up to 200 qualified families. Our construction method allows Jamaican masons and American volunteers to work together to create a 12’ x 15’ hurricane-resistant home in five days. At the end of the week, we have a presentation to celebrate the new home owner. In addition, throughout the week, we have various opportunities to help with home repairs and additions.
Grace Community Fellowship
Clinton O'Connor serves as a Community Pastor and Spiritual Adviser. He also pastors a newly planted church in Harmons. Although there are a number of opportunities for residents to attend church in the Harmons Valley, the hope is that GCF will serve as a safe place for the community to explore the claims of Christ and the freedom to find their place in His story. The congregation is small but steadily growing with a wide range of individuals. It currently meets weekly as a congregation in Harmony House.
Pastor O'Connor also helps guide small groups in the community who intentionally meet with the desire to do life together. Groups regularly meet to study Scripture and discuss how to live a life with Christ and build deeper relationships with each other.
During the school year, team members are given the opportunity to visit local schools in the community and teach lessons in special subject areas. Each lesson intentionally incorporates a Gospel message that is presented in relation to their activity.
At least once a year, a medical trip occurs where medical professionals come to serve in clinics inside and outside of Harmons. The clinic is available throughout the year for individual medical professionals who are serving with a group to help in their area of expertise (Dentistry, Optometry, General Practice, Education, etc).
Clarendon Infirmary Outreach
Each Parish in Jamaica maintains a public facility that cares for those with physical & mental disabilities and have no one else to provide care. Due to both under-funding and the inherent challenges found in caring for the
residents, the conditions of these facilities appear harsh. Won By One To Jamaica has partnered with the Infirmary that serves the parish of Clarendon in MayPen. Needed supplies and equipment are provided when available and each team spends time with the residents. A full-time nurse who concentrates on physical therapy and engaging in creative activities is employed by Won By One To Jamaica
Much of the ministry in Harmons occurs through building relationships with the people who live in the community. It may be through talking to someone on the work site or enjoying an evening in the courtyard with them. It may be a personal story told while being hosted for dinner in their homes or a conversation while shooting hoops at the Harmony House. A new venture of partnering in prayer with the community has been implemented which allows team members to go into the community to meet and pray with people they otherwise might not have come into contact with. The balance of scheduled activities and built in free time allows relationships to form and grow throughout the week.
Despite having a healthy and highly motivated workforce, the Harmons Valley finds itself with an approximate unemployment rate of 75%. When jobs are available, they are often temporary, lower paying, and require costly transportation outside the community. Although Won By One To Jamaica hires around 50 people each week, those positions only occur when there are team present within the community. Won By One To Jamaica is actively involved in creating full-time employment that both benefits the community as well as being self-sustaining.