Image credit: Mustard Seed Communities
This is Pat Kilner, Sr. My role in the Kilner Group is to help families buy homes. I spent 30 years building and remodeling homes prior to having the opportunity, 20 months ago, to work with my sons in this amazing real estate venture.
Allow me to tell you about a very special life-changing and life-saving community called The Mustard Seed Communities that The Kilner Group is supporting. We are hoping that you may want to be of help as well.
Last February, my sons gave me a few days off to fly to Jamaica with a group of builders, contractors, business owners and others to visit the extraordinary people and projects associated with The Mustard Seed Communities. This exploratory visit was pulled together by Father Dan Leary, the pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Silver Spring, Maryland. Father Dan has been a true missionary for Mustard Seed, by going to Jamaica himself many times to work and pray, and by taking many groups from his parish to do the same.
Father Dan wanted to expose our group last year to the overall mission of Mustard Seed, but specifically, he was hoping that some of the group would see the tremendous need and get more seriously involved, long term.
All of us who went were permanently affected by the people we met and the places we visited. I know I will not be able to do Mustard Seed justice, but in a nutshell, this is what I experienced.
The Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica serve hundreds of special needs and at-risk infants, children, young mothers and young adults who have been abandoned. We were able to visit four of the many Mustard Seed Communities on the island.
Each place was unique and served a unique population: one home cared for babies with AIDS, one for young abandoned mothers and their babies, one for special needs children,and one for young adults with special needs who are released to the streets once they turn 18. In none of the places we visited did it feel as if they were just warehousing people. These were communities made into homes, by loving and resourceful local caregivers and volunteers who come to live and work for a week or more. In addition to being real homes for these neglected people, they are real homes away from home and unique work communities for the caregivers. And the volunteers, frankly, were treated like special guests in these homes.
I am a Catholic. As a Catholic I know that Jesus, in the disarming appearance of bread, is present in the tabernacle in every Catholic church. That’s why we genuflect when we enter the church. I have had the desire to genuflect outside of church on two occasions. The first time was when I was with my beautiful grandson John Paul Kilner, who was born with SMA, and died at 14 months. He suffered, and was holy and innocent like Jesus. Once, as I entered his room, I genuflected. I didn’t think about it ahead of time; it just happened.
I experienced the same almost unconscious impulse to genuflect when I was with the children at the Mustard Seed Communities. You can’t help but get a glimpse of God’s presence when you are in a place where people come together to take care of the most vulnerable. With all the day-to-day worries of the staff and caregivers that there will be enough supplies, food and money, plus the real physical suffering of many of the children, there is yet in the midst of all this the palpable presence of God. You certainly do not need to be a genuflecting Catholic to understand this. My team is being trained and mentored by a team from Atlanta Georgia, evangelical christians who have been building at Mustard Seed for several decades. We met them on the ground last year and they encouraged us to pull together a building team. The refrain we heard from The Mustard Seed volunteers and staff was, “He is here”.
The Team that I am helping to lead to Jamaica from February 18th-25th is going to a place called “Jacob’s Ladder”. This is an abandoned bauxite mining area up in the mountains that Mustard Seed is re-claiming as a home for abandoned special needs young adults. There are about 40 residents there now; eventually there will be several hundred. My team of 20 will be completing the construction of two homes. We will be installing electric, plumbing, windows and screens, siding, gutters, interior doors and tile.
Would you consider joining us this year to help the Mustard Seed Communities, and specifically, my team? We are the St. Andrew Apostle Building Group.
There are a few ways you can help.
- Familiarize yourself with the website. The more you can experience what is happening within the Mustard Seed Communities, the more you will want to get involved. http://www.mustardseed.com/
- Contribute to the St Andrew Apostle Building Group. Each member of the team is covering their own cost of flying there and back. Each team member is reaching out to their network to ask for additional funding ($950.00/per team member). This will help cover the cost of land transportation, security, food, and emergency medical insurance, and leave something extra to help with purchasing materials for next year’s homes. If you are able we would really appreciate your help. http://www.mustardseed.com/mission-trips/support-mission
Please select participant: Pat Kilner
- If you would like to participate in a future mission trip, if you or your business would like to consider sponsoring one or more homes, or if you want to consider forming your own “mission team”, please give me a call.
My contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org, (301) 252-9376
Thank you for your generous support and prayers!