An overwhelming weight lifted as God spoke to us in the book of Leviticus “in the seventh year the land is to have a rest. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.” With little effort, God unfolded our sabbatical plan – three months in Jamaica serving God’s people through the Won by One to Jamaica ministry and four months learning how to protect God’s temple, the human body, through nutrition and fitness. It was Corsica, France God said to go discover the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
In addition, His plan perfectly provided Robbie and Jessi Orth, a young couple grounded in Christ’s love. They accepted our invitation to steward Quiet Creek while we recharge mentally, physically and spiritually.
Knowing it best to gather each of our expectations before taking God’s incredible gift, the four of us shared our definition of a seven month sabbatical.
To Ashton, “a sabbatical is building relationships with people of different cultures. Also going on a once in a life time journey while spending time with family and meeting new friends.”
Walker states, “to me a sabbatical means a trip to see the world. It means influencing people and being exposed to different cultures and seeing different life styles. It means tasting different foods and going out of our comfort zones to help other people.”
Claire feels “a sabbatical is spending time with family, learning from others, and serving God. It means the time to luxurious practice the fruit of the spirit—loving your Jamaican neighbors; experiencing the joy of your husband; feeling the peacefulness of the morning while sipping Jamaican coffee; giving gentle hugs; providing the patience my children deserve; reaping the goodness of the papaya, pineapple, and orange; reaping the kindness of Ruby and Finley, the Harmony House caretakers; and maintaing self-control during family French lessons. A sabbatical means reading “When Helping Hurts” and “Understanding Poverty” then putting theory into direct application.”
Rusty sums up “this sabbatical is more about listening than slowing down. It’s about stepping back and hearing the important things in life: love for my family, and the God who blessed me with Claire, Walker and Ashton. It is about appreciating other people and true relationships that can be built with them. It is about the beautiful creation of water, earth, sky and hearing the birds sing, children laugh and wind before a storm.”
We anticipate the long term rewards will outweigh the short term challenges we face in taking this sabbatical. Specifically, Won by One to Jamaica’s mantra, changing lives by changing lives, is our focus. Come journey with us, learn from our discoveries, and consider doing the same in your life.