JDV Internship Week One
So this year during my internship at the Jamaica Deaf Village, I thought during each of my weekly blog posts I would do a little profile on some of the people that I have the privilege of doing ministry with this summer. Naturally, I started with Ben and Krista Beukema, the missionaries here at JDV. Ben and Krista are originally from Michigan but after getting married lived in Knoxville for a little while, hence the connection with Faith Promise and the city in general. The Beukemas recently doubled their family by having TWINS in late January!
How long have you two been serving at the Jamaica Deaf Village?
Krista: Next month will be three and a half years.
How did you feel called to move here?
Krista: We both came here in high school, I came four times and Ben came those last three. Because of that I studied deaf education in college, then I came back and interned during college. And then we just kept that relationship with CCCD (Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf).
Ben: And then basically we found out there was a need, and through different small groups in church back in the states, looking back it all led up to us coming here.
What’s your favorite part about serving here?
B: I like serving here with Krista, as a family
K: Yeah, I was gonna say that too.
B: It’s one of my favorite things. I mean, CCCD’s purpose is to bring people to Christ, to love on kids, to love on adults, and to help oppressed people. We can never complain about what we do. It’s not easy and not always glamorous, but we believe in the calling and what CCCD does.
What’s the biggest challenge?
B: Honestly, the interpersonal stuff is what stresses you the most. Dealing with people in ministry is messy. You’re dealing with people and dealing with a culture that’s different from what you grew up with. Things like the illegitimacy rate, family structure, we deal with that stuff a lot. So it’s just really hard because nothing is black and white, that’s all grey area, and you have to look at each case individually to figure out what makes the most sense and how to convey truth and grace at the same time.
K: And with that, the progress is slow, whether that be spiritual development or ministry in general. It can take a long time to see the people here growing in their walks with God sometimes.
What is the biggest need at JDV right now?
B: From a practical side, we need to create more jobs. The longer I’m here, the more I see the need for employment. When you provide employment for someone, you really change their situation and their life, plus it gives you an opportunity for ministry. On the flip side, church is a large part of what we do here, and people are doing the same things, singing the same songs.. Damian (the deaf pastor at the church here) and I have been talking about how we need new stuff, new leaders. It really frustrates him, just like any pastor, when there’s no change. We’re trying to figure out how to encourage growth and getting everyone to the next level. On the spiritual side, it’s how to get people excited, how to get people here actively participating.
K: It’s kind of the same issue, the need for raising up spiritually mature leaders. It just doesn’t happen overnight.
Where do you see JDV in 10 years?
B: Honestly, I hope there are 50 deaf people working here. I’m hoping there is a Jamaican campus manager, and that all leadership positions are fulfilled by deaf Jamaicans. And that there are more people living here, and I’d love to have the church be more active and to have people involved there. I’d really love to see deaf mentoring deaf.. It’s a big dream. Spiritually, it would require other leaders to step up other than Damian. When we hire new employees, our current employs could mentor and pour into them. That’s what I’d like to see.
How has your role shifted here since becoming parents?
B: It’s weird being on campus and being busy knowing that Krista is here with the kids. I’d almost rather be in an office away from campus, because I’m constantly thinking “should I be here with the team or should I go home and be with my family?” I want to be in two places at once. And this year with how young the kids are, we’ve lost some time and some fellowship with the teams which is definitely different.
K: It was harder saying goodbye to our families than it was when we didn’t have kids. And it was harder for them to say goodbye to us, too.
B: There’s also the dynamic of we chose this life for our kids, they didn’t have a say.
K: Yeah, but I was talking to friend about it and she pointed out that because Ben and I know that we are called, and they are our children, they are also called.
What has been the biggest blessing from The Lord through CCCD and JDV?
B: For me, I feel like I have purpose. Not that I didn’t in the states, but I actually feel like there’s a purpose. There are a lot of people who know me and know the ministry who are excited about what we’re doing. I’m being used by God here, I can see that, and it’s exciting. Letting God use the ministry to encourage me and also me to encourage the ministry has been a really cool blessing.
K: God has just really used this experience to change who I am as a person. I know if we had never moved here I would be a completely different person, and it’s scary to think of who I would be. I think I’m more secure in who I am, more flexible, more willing to take a risk and look dumb. Things are always asked of you last minute, and it can be scary in a new culture, but you’re the only one there to do it. It’s just really changed who I am, and I think I like who I am better because of this experience.
What can we pray for you two specifically about?
B: Well, we’re in week two of an eight-week straight of teams. I’m tired already.. And I think we’re still trying to figure out what’s “normal” as a family and how to do ministry as a family. And time–to ourselves, to read, reflect–has really disappeared, so it’s been rough. My quiet time is rushed when I have it, so just strength to get through those times.
Ben and Krista do so much for the village and for CCCD. One of the coolest things about interning here is getting to see more of the behind the scenes and also what they do when teams aren’t here. Ben is also the campus manager, so he has a lot of responsibilities but handles them very well. Also they occasionally invite me over for a movie which is pretty cool.
So week one is over, and it was GREAT. The team that came was from Conyers, Georgia, and they’re some of my favorite people on the planet. I met them last year, and I can’t brag on them enough. The team is comprised of four families, all who come here to really build relationships with the deaf and help exemplify family morals and what it means to live as a family that follows Jesus. The week was crazy busy, but I enjoyed it immensely. We went to the children’s home two different days, went to Knockpatrick deaf school twice, went to the infirmary, and did tons of stuff around the village.
However, this was a bad week for injuries. I stepped on a nail on Sunday, then on Tuesday Marvin fell off a ladder, and one of the girls on the team dropped a bench and broke a few toes. Then on the last day, another girl got stung by a jellyfish. So hopefully we got all the injuries out of the way on the first week…
Earlier today I visited a church in Kingston and shared my testimony in sign language for the first time. I was a little bit nervous but it was a really cool experience. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being blown away by all the ways that The Lord speaks to people. As I was preparing for today, I was kind of analyzing my life to myself. Even years after I was born again, I still can’t believe how good of a God I serve. He chased me and pursued me when I was doing everything in the world to avoid pursuing Him. And since then He has blessed me beyond belief. I’m sure He used my testimony to speak to some of the deaf at Calabar church today, but He also used it to remind me how good He is.