Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares how a trip to the beach with some of the kids in Savanna-la-Mar, Jamaica, created a great opportunity for a lesson and experience of care for creation.

Usually our summers in Savanna-la-Mar are pretty uneventful  and most of our ministry shuts down because we work with kids and the ministries stop for the summer. So instead, we use the extra time to do things that the kids don’t usually get a chance to do during the rest of the year.

One of those things is taking a trip to the beach. The kids we work with live far from the beach, so any opportunity for a beach trip is a real treat for them. During our last trip to the beach, we added a twist – we asked them to clean up the beach first.

Sadly, in Jamaica it is normal to just throw  trash on the ground, including the public beaches. Consequently, the beaches get very dirty.

We actually went to do the beach cleanup after two Jamaican holidays. The first was Independence day which is on the 6th of August. The second was Emancipation day which is on the 1st of August. During that week, Jamaicans have lots of parties, parades, and fairs. A lot of Jamaicans go to the beach during this time too,  so there was work to do at the beach.

We didn’t have too many kids come with us, but we had the help of some volunteers from America who were staying in the resort town of Negril. They came down to volunteer at the Catholic Church soup kitchen and primary school. With the Americans’ and the kids’ help, we were able to clean up the bottles and trash on the beach pretty quickly and  then we enjoyed ourselves in the water.

Patrick, Brandon, and the kids at the beach

Patrick, his fellow missioner Brandon, and the kids at the beach

Although there were few of us, we helped clean the beach and made it better for the people who come after us.

Patrick's fellow missioner Brandon

Patrick’s fellow missioner Brandon

As Christians, that is also something we must do,  to care for the gifts that God has given us. We need to make the world better for those who come after us. So, we should take some time, even a little bit of time, to make the world a little bit better, one beach at a time.

Reflection Question: How can you be more mindful of the environment and help make the world a better place for those who come after you?